For nineteen years, La'tiera has been groomed for one purpose: to die at the appointed time to save the world.
Her life has been carefully sheltered in the royal house by the viscount, whom she calls uncle. As the day of
sacrifice draws near, La'tiera's cloistered life is shattered when she discovers the tiny face of a little girl
named Aya hiding in her secret garden. When Aya and her friends, traveling entertainers, kidnap her, everything
La'tiera has come to know and trust begins to unravel.
This is the dilemma Gloria Oliver creates in her book, Willing Sacrifice. It is an interesting read
for those interested in the fantasy that Oliver presents. However, action and adventure are limited because the
emphasis is on characters and themes. It is more a novel of manners set in another world with different morals
and ethics and a cast of colorful and memorable characters.
I found the book had a depth beyond the simple telling of a good story. It is a well-written exploration of
religious belief, self-discovery, and love. The book presents a simple rendering of the power of doubt and hope,
revealed through narrative and symbolism, whether intentional or not. It is an allegory.
For example, what the reader sees of Laítiera at the beginning of the story could be painted in drab tones,
with dark interiors and dark scowls. When Aya comes into her garden, almost like the snake in Eden, offering
knowledge, the world takes on light and color. Aya brings life and joy and the concept of fun as she plays the
games of childhood La'tiera has never known and offers her a world she has never seen.
I haven't read a novel in a great while that offered so much literary fodder in such a simple story. If I
were an English literature teacher, I'd want to put Willing Sacrifice on my list of books to read and
analyze in detail. It is destined to have lasting value.