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The Archon Paperback – 5 Oct 2013
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Once, again, briliiantly imagined (Planet Magazine)
Beautifully written and a compelling tale (The Times)
High suspense and drama -- next volume please (The School Librarian)
This beautifully set, canny story of politics and religion ends in a resounding success, but will keep readers hungry for the third installment in the projected trilogy (The Horn Book)
Sophisticated yet unobtrusive prose, creating a world and a tale that invite totaly reader immersion (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)
Fisher has created an incredible, detailed and believable setting...this compelling novel makes a satisfying sequel but can also stand on its own (School Library Journal)
Assassination attempts, double-crosses and plots within plots enliven this breathlessly paced follow-up ... will have readers queuing up for the concluding volume. (Kirkus Reviews)
Gripping plots and haunting landscapes...the toughness and realism underlying all Fisher's fantasies is what makes them believable as well as wholly absorbing and aesthetically pleasing (The Times)
rattles along at a dizzying pace ... closes on a scene of high suspense and drama ... next volume please. (The School Librarian)
THE ORACLE: In the first part of a two-book fantasy, Catherine Fisher has conjured up an intoxicating world reminiscent of the Arabian Nights. Highly recommended (The Bookseller)
Breathtaking sequel to THE ORACLE, the Archon must face a journey of treachery and adventure across the pitiless desert in a bid to save his people ...See all Product description
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The Archon, a peasant boy named Alexos, has been found, but things haven't improved. The drought continues, General Argelin is still plotting to seize power, and Mirany is still enmeshed in the lies and schemes of the Nine priestesses. So Alexos tells the people that he will bring back prosperity by making a journey to the mystical Well of Songs, to atone for stealing three stars. But he doesn't know that Argelin is blackmailing his pal Seth to kill him.
Meanwhile Mirany is trying to deal with the Oracle's corruption, and the fact that one priestess is secretly in league with Argelin's enemies. Plots are exposed and Mirany finds herself made into a puppet Speaker. Her only hope is that Alexos survives the journey to the Well of Songs...
In concept, there's very little wrong with a story like this. Fisher piles on the wonder and beautiful prose, including everything from a ragged bird-worshiping civilization to a mountain made of diamond. At the same time, she also exposes the frightening results when a religion tries to use lies for its own benefit.
But despite some tense moments, the schemes and plots never come to life, even when the god makes a convenient cameo to save a little girl. Fisher seems more comfortable in Alexos' desert quest, in which the god-boy has to deal with drunks, savages, fallen stars, and a master thief who thinks he's just a crazy little kid. Pretty wild.
The biggest flaw is the heroine Mirany. While Seth is struggling to protect his family, we're never really told why Mirany cares about any of this. She also seems a trifle wimpy and naive beside the mysterious desert thieves and the enigmatic Alexos, who can be a cheerful boy one minute and an overpowering god the next.
Though the scheming priestesses get tiresome after awhile, the desert quest for the three fallen stars is reason enough to read "The Archon." Not Catherine Fisher's best, but an intriguing read.
In the first novel, the Archon died, and his replacement - a mad little boy, Alexos - had to be found and brought back to thwart to potting of General Argelin and his lover, the priestess Hermia who is the god's Speaker. Mirany, the lowest priestess, doesn't believe in the god either but is made to and with the help of a drunken poet Oblek, a corrupted scribe, Seth, and a criminal lord known only as Jackal, brought him back.
All should therefore be well, but it isn't. The General is still plotting, and in the second novel, Hermia is poisoning anyone who gets in her way, and the land is still parched despite brief rainfall. Long ago, the Archon offended the Rain Goddess, and now Alexos is determined to make his peace with her by finding three lost stars. He leaves Mirany behind in a city under seige, and journeys with Oblek, Seth and Jackal across a desert haunted by strange beasts and powerful dreams. Corruption, betrayal and evil stalk them, and the boy-god's powers may not be sufficient to protect anyone - least of all himself.
The plot has a long fuse, and it's not until page 50 that it really gets going, but the tension and beauty of Fisher's writing is what makes it really remarkable. She conjures up both her desert world and the possibility of the supernatural with such conviction, you can almost taste the dust. A more complex series than The Snow Walker's Son, it's also about the loneliness of power and the need for friendship. She's one of those rare fantasy writers who can really write (she's also a good poet). Not all her novels are equally good, but this series is.
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However, Hermia and Argelin's relationship changes, to the point where Hermia informs him towards the end of the novel "This alliance is dissolved."
This plotline is set against the backdrop of the main plotline, of the Archon making a pilgrimage to the Well of Songs to save his people from a terrible drought. But perhaps he shouldn't have gone, because things start to fall apart back in the city where Argelin holds power.
I didn't think this was as good as the first book of the series, THE ORACLE, mainly because the writing was uneven. It didn't help that Hodder Children's Books, the publisher of this novel, didn't do a good job of translating the manuscript into Mobi files to be read on the Kindle. Too many times, the spaces that indicate a scene change were not there, and occasionally lines ran together. And I really dislike those cliff-hanger endings. I find them cheap and contrived, almost as if they are shouting for you to buy the next volume. Four stars.
Alexos, the Archon, goes on a pilgrimage to the mountain of the moon brimg Seth, who was ordered to kill him by Argelin, Oblek, who wishes that his songs woul come back, The Jackal and the Fox, who are in search of gold.
Meanwhile, Mirany is trying very hard to all her plots secret and persuading Rhetia from starting a war.
I shall not tell you what happens throughout the story nor shall I tell you if the book is suspenful or a mystery or ecetera. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the book but the last book in the sequal, The Scarab, was not quite as goo but I enjoyed the series.