Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Book Review: Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams


As a criminal profiler, Tara used science and her intuitive skill at Tarot card divination to track down the dangerous and depraved, including the serial killer who left her scarred from head to toe. Since that savage attack, Tara has been a recluse. But now an ancient secret society known as Delphi’s Daughters has asked for her help in locating missing scientist Lowell Magnusson. And Tara, armed with her Tarot deck, her .38, and a stack of misgivings, agrees to try. 

Tara immediately senses there is far more at stake than one man’s life. At his government lab in the New Mexico desert, Magnusson had developed groundbreaking technology with terrifying potential. Working alongside the brusque but charismatic agent Harry Li, Tara discovers that Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, has knowledge that makes her a target too. The more Tara sees into the future, the more there is to fear. She knows she has to protect Cassie. But there may be no way to protect herself—from the enemies circling around her, or from the long-buried powers stirring to life within. . . .

My Review:
This book is written by Laura Bickle, using the alias of Alayna Williams and I bought it because it was marketed as urban fantasy. Personally, I felt that it was more like a slightly paranormal crime novel than heart pumping urban fantasy so I was a bit disappointed. That is not to say it's a bad read-it is a decent story but the book was just a little too slow for me to be marking it any higher.

I liked Tara as a character. She had been through terrible trauma in her life, scarred by a deadly serial killer and left for dead. Now she no longer works for the government, instead she is a criminal profiler who also uses Tarot cards to help her in her cases. I liked this, as it added something a bit new to the story but sometimes the full description of the cards, their spread, their meaning got a bit too much like an info dump. I felt that a more basic and shorter description was needed. However, it didn't bother me that much and it didn't affect my rating of the book.

The other characters were decent enough. I liked Sylvia and Cassie best, probably because there was decent development in them through their relationship to Tara. I liked this modern sort of Coven and it has potential for good stories in the future. Tara's partner is government agent Harry, who does everything by the book, hates when things are not done correctly and is a bit skeptical of Tara and her cards. He is a decent character with nothing offensive about him but I felt no chemistry between him and Tara. I just didn't really believe their relationship or find them to be a good match. It was more like the author thought she needed to inject the romance because she thought it was what her readers wanted. Personally, I'd be happy to see little or no romance in urban fantasy as too often, it takes over the story and spoils good books. In this case the romance does not really overpower the story, it just adds nothing to it.

The plot itself was decent. Tara is trying to avoid her past by staying well away from Delphi's Daughters, wanting to distance herself from what happened to her mother. She is not interested in being groomed as the new leader, and a rival for the position is determined to do anything to get her out of the picture. She is still recovering from the attack that changed her life, and finds it hard to trust Harry. Tara also tries to look after Cassie and protect her from the Coven members. There was nothing wrong with the way it was written either and there were a few nice action based scenes.

It was not a fast paced novel. I found it a bit slow and over descriptive in places, when I just wanted it to get to the point. There was a lot of focus on the relationship between the two MCs, Tara's history with the Coven, her emotions and traumatic past, and technical information about dark matter and tarot cards. I just feeled it lacked the kickass action that I like in my books and it did drift along a bit in the middle.

I just felt that this book lacked that something to make me really enjoy it. It just wasn't the kind of book that I was looking for. I won't be continuing on with the series personally but if you like witches and tarot cards, you might well enjoy this.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. Great review, Chuckles! I agree with you in that I don't think that every book needs to have a romance. If it doesn't add anything to the story, I would rather it be left out.

    1. Yeah I just never felt any chemistry in this one at all. I'm not a fan of ANY romance in books TBH but writers like Jeaniene Frost, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs etc make it part of the natural story and I don't mind it in that form.

  2. Well, that sucks, but when your not feeling it, nothing you can do.

    1. Yep, just grab the next book on the reading list! I've got through lots of UF this week so it has still been productive!