Title: The Oracle, Book 2: The Oracle’s Hatchling
Author: Mell Eight
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Characters: Ling and Pince Damarion
POV: Third Person (limited)
Ling is hated because his birth killed his mother. He hopes that testing will ease his troubles—either his rank will be so low that everyone forgets about him, or it will be so high they’ll be forced to respect him. What he doesn’t expect is to walk out of the testing chamber with an egg emblazoned on his back. Laughed out of the Monastery, Ling hides himself in Altnoia, where he becomes embroiled in a plot to overthrow King Edan and the Oracle who supports him.
The ringleader behind the plot is Prince Damarion, son of the evil despot who forced King Edan to flee in the first place—but his motives are not anything that Ling could have anticipated. Neither could he anticipate a friendship, or what that friendship could become, and the choices it would force him to make.
The Oracle’s Hatchling is the second story in a fantasy series. The books can be read as standalones, but characters from the first do appear in, and have influence on, the second.
Ling is an orphan, raised in the monastery, and used to being ignored at best. Determined to better his standing, he grabs at what he sees as his first and best chance. The Choosing doesn’t guarantee anything, often hopefuls have to return several times before they are accepted for testing. Ling is hell-bent on at least making the attempt, sure he won’t get another chance due to those who hate him for his mother’s death, and is successful. But his testing reveals unusual results. So he takes the chance to leave the monastery before laughter turns to something more lethal.
As with all Mell Eight’s books (that I’ve read, anyway), things go relatively smoothly. Having been the subject of gossip and rumour his entire life, he chooses to ignore what he hears about the prince. This means that when Ling actually meets Prince Damarion, his opinion is not negatively biased. In fact, the similarities he can see in how they’ve been treated causes him to be a bit more forgiving of the prince’s rough edges.
I really loved the “crab” dinner. It made me chuckle.
I have found that Mell Eight tends to write enjoyable romances with interesting worlds. This one is no different. If you enjoy reading formulaic romance, I suggest you take a look at this one.