15 August 2014

Review: The New Adventures: Tears of the Oracle by Justin Richards

Mass market paperback, 277 pages
Published 1999

Acquired and read July 2014
The New Adventures: Tears of the Oracle
by Justin Richards

Finally, we get a novel that really follows up on what the events of Where Angels Fear mean to Bernice herself. It's a little weird at first-- Bernice meets up with Braxiatel again, and they go on a mission to Dellah to rescue Commander Skutloid, a nonentity of a recurring character from Justin Richards's previous New Adventures. Given how much work Benny went through to sneak on and off Dellah two books prior to rescue Wolsey, it feels repetitive and easy and pointless. In fact, the whole beginning is surprisingly energy-less: instead of doing anything about the Gods, Benny, Braxiatel, and company decide to go off on a jolly archeological expedition to find the Oracle on asteroid KS-159 (which readers of Big Finish's Bernice stories will know later becomes home to the Braxiatel Collection and Bernice herself, though I don't remember the giant ringed planet ever being mentioned). Eventually this does turn out to intersect with the Gods arc, by way of the People, but that doesn't become clear to the reader for some time. In any case, it turns out to be a decent novel, definitely Richards's best Bernice New Adventure, with more character insight and narrative flair than I usually associate with him. Benny, Braxiatel, Jason, Chris, and Clarence are all here, and all put to good use in a clever plot. The framing device is excellent. Not the best New Adventure, but definitely the continuation of a pretty solid run since the big shakeup in Where Angels Fear.

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