Oracle's Moon—Thea Harrison
Screw pretty. I'd rather be strong. Pretty fades over time. Strength gets you through the bad shit. And that matters, because sometimes there's a lot of bad shit. (3)
Part of Vaginal Fantasy Rewind
Oracle's Moon was the alt alt during its VagFan month. (The alt was Master of None, and the main, Ill Wind, I'll be talking about next Tuesday.) The theme for the month was djinn. Oracle's Moon is actually the fourth in the Elder Races series, but even though the completionist in me was screaming out to start from the beginning, the stories are not continuous and I haven't had as much of a glut of time lately.
Grace Andreas's life was on track. Until she was in a car accident with her sister and brother-in-law, an accident that left Grace critically injured and killed her sister and brother-in-law. Now, she's inherited her sister's power as Oracle, and she's also inherited her 4-year-old niece and 9-month-old nephew. Bogged down with student loan bills, medical bills, household bills, with a bum knee, and no real method of income, Grace is struggling. Things get a bit better when a djinn, Khalil, takes an interest in her. At first Grace is frustrated with his almost constant presence, but she gets more and more used to him, especially when he serves as protector for her and the kids against the other supernatural creatures that are approaching her to get information from the Oracle. Then, of course, they get it on. Because reasons.
Towards the beginning, it felt like a BIG info dump. Now, maybe that's because it's the fourth in the series, and the first three cover the info so it's really meant to be a review. Either way, it almost made me want to just skip that whole set of pages. The biggest problem I have with it is a bunch of names in one paragraph; an abundance of information I'm usually okay with, but tons of new names at once I find too much to keep track of.
I appreciated at the beginning how Grace corrected Khalil's possessiveness and commands. He did a lot of telling, which made sense for his character because djinn don't entirely understand human customs and acceptable behavior. But about halfway through, she stopped doing that. Ugh.
Completely unrelated to anything in the plot or character, every time Grace's sister's friend Katherine mentioned her kids, Joey and Rachel, all I could think about was Friends. Seriously, this book came out well after Friends, and nobody made the connection? Or maybe Katherine just really loves Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston? To be fair, though, who doesn't?
Obviously they're going to fall in love. The relationship, though, is based on more than just lusty feelings (which is sometimes all it takes in books like this) but is also based on mutual admiration for their respective feelings of adoration and protectiveness towards the kids. I found that attractive as well. There are few things sexier to me than men who dote on children. But I don't necessarily think that's the basis for a great, long-lasting relationship. I realized during this book what my problem is with a lot of romance books: I don't love romance-y romance. Perhaps it's the pragmatist in me, or a leftover from my stoic, outwardly unemotional father, but demonstrable, syrupy, gushing displays of love just make me want to roll my eyes. There's a point where Grace has already admitted to herself that she loves Khalil, and then across the span of something like five pages she "falls in love with again" for four different reasons. Just ugh. Shoot me in the face.
The ending was so anticlimactic. I even wrote a note: "What an abrupt, shitty ending." After the reveal that it was Brandon Miller and the anti-Elder Races faction who were trying to get rid of the Oracle, it was just like, "And then they collected twelve people and they went to trial." No battle? Nobody fought back when they were captured? Nothing interesting happened there? A bit disappointing. That was only one of several throwaway moments that could have been extraordinary.
Oh boy. This book was pretty graphic, both with respect to sexy times and even down to definitions of sexual organs. Harrison loves the word "distended" to describe all sorts of body parts. And because Khalil is a djinn, he doesn't actually have a human, tangible body unless he chooses to, so there's a point where he and Grace are being...intimate, but he's basically just a cloudy haze. And parts of him are all over her at the same time.
Ultimately, though, it was just okay. I'm not really going to remember it. Except for maybe the tentacle handsy thing...I'll probably remember that...quite a visual.
The ladies didn't talk about Oracle's Moon during the Hangout because it ended up being the alt alt, but it's hilarious as always nonetheless.