The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan description
Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve.
Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.
Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to prevent it.
In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.
This is only the second book I’ve read by Corrigan, but if there’s one thing I’ve realized it’s that her stories are endlessly surprising. I expected a huge battle between good an evil, with her probably falling for the lost soul she’s fighting to save. Nope. As much as I love a good romance, it’s not a crutch Corrigan relies on. There are moments dealing with Carrie’s wanting someone to be with, and even dealing with the relationships within the angels and demons. The story itself, though, was about Carrie finally finding something worth risking everything for, and dealing with the weight her past has put upon her. Corrigan does a great job of telling the tale of someone who is several thousands of years old, giving flashbacks of moments that tie into what is happening right now, and develops the characters thoroughly. My favorite of them is Bedlam. He’s a demon, but one who questions whether that means he truly is evil or if he has the ability to choose to be good, and adds a bit of humor to a rather serious tale. However, that there was what made this story so wonderful, because the lines aren’t clear cut. The angels have their struggles and the demons aren’t the one deminsional bad guy. They’re beings who have a real past and real pain that has distorted their original purpose. The angel who was meant to spread the nature of abundance and giving has been twisted into the demon of gluttony. The angel of mercy now is a demon that whispers to the world that there is no hope. It gave them each something more to discover, and helped set up what will surely be a very interesting series. The fact that this is dealing with Heaven and Hell and events in the Bible, made me a little worried. Too often such stories either make it a joke or try to completely undo the foundation of the Christian faith, and this book did neither. It was interesting the events that Carrie actually lived through, and the way they supposedly actually happened. It was a realistic depiction of that time, and if that was what did happen it would in no way alter what Christians believe, and remained very respectful to such. But if you’re not Christian, this book would still be very enjoyable. It’s not preachy, it’s not trying to convert someone to Christianity, if anything it’s showing how everyone, even those who know for a fact that there is a Heaven and Hell, have the right to question those beliefs and faith and what is the real meaning of good and evil.