Book Review | Oil and Dust, Jami Fairleigh

Goodreads Blurb:

‘Politics, Money, Power, Religion, and Greed. These are the things we never again need.’

Artist Matthew Sugiyama can alter the physical world with his art. As the top student graduating from the prestigious Popham Abbey, Matthew Sugiyama’s future is secure… until he bucks convention and begins a journey to find answers about his birth family. The trouble is, he doesn’t know who or where they are.

Determined to find answers, but without a clear destination, Matthew sets out on horseback across a post-technology world, guided only by random flashes of a vision or long-buried memory. Using his skills as an artist to barter for hospitality and supplies, Matthew soon learns his sheltered upbringing has left him wholly unprepared to face the obstacles on the road or his unexpected yearning to join the communities he encounters. When he uncovers a mysterious adversary’s plan to harm the people he’s come to care for, Matthew must decide what’s more important; the adopted family he has created, or his need for answers about his past.

My Thoughts:

This was such an epic read! It has been such a long while since I’ve read a 500+ page book, and this was worth the read! Sometimes I read a 500 page book and it feels like only 400ish were needed, here, every word on every page was needed.

This started of as a wonderfully slow and solitary, ambling journey, and then with each chapter the main character’s world expanded as he met more people on his travels. So then little by little the story itself blossomed.

The post-technology world Fairleigh has created for ‘Oil and Dust’ is almost idyllic with its focus on community, love, family, and working together to make life better for everyone. You can see the care and detail which has been put into the world building to make it feel real. Especially as a pathway for the world after it had warred itself almost to extinction.

Through the eyes of the main character, Matthew, we get to see his sheltered view of the world change as he travels and meets new people. This is what makes his reaction to the the growing tension and turmoil that lies beneath the surface of his community focused world so interesting. I loved reading this story from his perspective and seeing the growth he goes through during his journey. Both in the sense of his physical journey from A to B and his emotional journey as well.

Speaking of emotional journeys, I went through one just reading this novel. I wasn’t expecting this to get as intense as it did, but I loved the direction it went in. When I say I was on the edge of my seat at one point, I mean it! I got so attached to the characters that I ended up in tears nearing the end of the novel.

This was such a wonderful read! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fantasy adventure, and for an epic tale of travel, discovery, and found family.


Thank you to BookSirens and the author who sent me this free eARC (eAdvanced Reader Copy), I am leaving this review voluntarily. This title was published 1st September 2021.

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