Out of the ashes of destruction, a new world has arisen. The plagues of the past—the worship of greed and pursuit of power—are gone. Now, the communities that remain in this post-apocalyptic world focus on creating connections, on forging futures filled with family and love. And all with the help of hard work, hope… and a little bit of magic.
Artist Matthew Sugiyama knows this well. Traveling the countryside in search of the family he lost as a child, he trades his art for supplies—and uses his honed magic to re-draw the boundaries of reality, to fashion a world that is better for those he meets.
Following glimpses of visions half-seen, Matthew—and the friends he encounters along the way—will travel a path from light to darkness and back again. A road where things lost in the past can only be found in the love of the present, and the hope for the future.
And he will travel this path wherever it leads. From joy to sorrow, from tears to laughter. Because Matthew is the Elemental Artist, and he knows that though dangers arise, humanity will always triumph… in a world he has painted in shades of Oil and Dust.
Author Jami Farleigh invites you to meet a rich tapestry of characters, and to travel through a world that blends fantasy, laughter, coming of age, and evocative literary stylings to create a perfect escape. Fans of The Goblin Emperor, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, The Language of Flowers, and Quarter Share will delight in this tale of humor, humanity, and the power of hope.
I’ve had Oil & Dust on my radar for awhile after I heard someone pitch it as a book with art-based magic system. I loved the idea so much. And then I started reading. It wasn’t just the magic system that was intriguing, but also the world building. It wasn’t anything like what you’d normally see in a post-apocalyptic world. This seemed more like an 18th or 19th century setting. Maybe earlier. There’s some modern technology but a lot has been lost throughout the years.
It’s a slow book. It takes it time to explore the world. The main character Matthew is an artist so you’ll see a lot of vivid descriptions of the areas he visits. He travels the world in an attempt to find his family. Along the way, he makes friends, and even finds a place he could call home. But there’s still the question of his family. He finds clues, chases them, but stubles on something for more sinister.
The mystery is build up slow, as is the rest of the novel. But it never reads like a slow book. There’s so much happening even when there’s no big conflict happening. It’s a beautiful exploration of the characters, their lives, and how society has changed. You get small fragments of how the world used to be (our current world) and the characters’ reactions to how we do things. It’s all due to the author’s great writing that it comes alive.
I highly recommend this book for people who want a slower fantasy book with an interesting magic system, people who love exploration type books, and people want something cozier but aren’t afraid of a chonk. I’m really looking forward to the next book.
About the Author
Jami Fairleigh is a Japanese-American writer, urban planner, and hobby collector from Washington. She is currently working on her third novel and shares her life with a husband, a trio of well-mannered horses, a pair of dubiously behaved parrots, and one neurotic dog. You can find and follow her at https://jamifairleigh.com/ or https://twitter.com/jamifairleigh
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