The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas

Lukas says it took him seven years to write this book, and I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why. That's not to say it's a bad book; far from it, it's interesting and enjoyable. But it isn't terribly complex. It's written from the (third person) perspective of an eight-year-old girl, but such a narrator does not necessarily preclude complexity. It is especially odd given that the narrator is supposed to be a savant of extraordinary mental capabilities. There is also, oddly enough, too much going on in the novel. We follow three main characters: Eleonora (the little girl), the rector of a local school, and the Sultan. The rector is integral to the plot, but isn't really a main character at all, and having several chapters of his perspective adds nothing to the novel as a whole. If the book were, say, twice as long, it might have made more sense. Overall, I'd call this a promising first book, but I do hope the author can add a little more depth to his next novel.


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