Oil and Dust by Jami Fairleigh - Book Review
by Anca Antoci
Author: Jami Fairleigh
Amazon: 4.80 (buy)
Our review: 4.50 (read)
I am pleased to be reviewing Oil and Dust by Jami Farleigh as part of The Write Reads book tour for BBNYA finalists. BBNYA is an annual competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.
If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or Twitter. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
About the book
Publisher: Kitsune Publishing
Length: 510 Pages
Age Category: Adult
Date Published: 1 September 2021
Oil and Dust by Jami Farleigh is a coming-of-age fantasy novel set in a post-apocalyptic world where the main character, a trained artist, can change the world by drawing it. The magic system is presented mostly as science, and the characters are all genuine and have a voice. The novel stays firm in a single point of view, and the dialogue is crisp, with inner thought and body language present.
Jami Fairleigh's use of art as a magic system, along with the well-crafted rules and constructs, captivated me. The found family trope was executed perfectly, and I fell in love with every character. The novel's slice of life moments helped flesh out the world and characters. Moreover, the discussion about how money, politics, greed, religion, and power can corrupt people was enlightening and thought-provoking.
My only issue with the protagonist is that he occasionally appears overly aware of his own emotions, analyzing his mental state and motivations to a degree that surpasses most therapists. Personally, I prefer leaving a bit more of that to the reader's interpretation.
The post-apocalyptic world depicted in the book was intriguing. However, the level of violence portrayed was unexpected, particularly towards the end. The graphic depictions of people dying in extremely brutal ways were quite vivid.
The book's tonal shift towards the end was a bit of a letdown for me. The sudden introduction of dead bodies and the outbreak of a battle, coupled with the resurgence of religious threats, felt jarring, considering the first ¾ of the book was relatively uneventful.
Overall, Oil and Dust by Jami Farleigh is a well-crafted coming-of-age fantasy novel with a unique and captivating magic system. The author's use of art as a source of magic, along with the found family trope and the thought-provoking discussions on societal issues, made for an engaging read. While the protagonist's introspection may have been excessive at times, the characters were genuine and well-developed, with crisp dialogue and realistic inner thoughts and body language. However, the unexpected level of violence towards the end, coupled with the sudden tonal shift, may not be to everyone's taste. Despite this, Oil and Dust is an enjoyable read that will appeal to fans of the fantasy genre.