Full disclosure: I was given a free PDF copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
There are some books that I finish pretty quickly and others that take me longer to read. This is not to insinuate that I enjoyed the former more because it held my interest longer than the latter. Sometimes, it is worth taking more time to read a book in order to appreciate it better. I realized this after reading Oasis by Bharat Krishnan.
In Oasis, there once was two kingdoms: one named Desperaux, which controlled the west with magic, and other named Desire, which maintained power in the east with steel and science. However, the magic disappeared, which made the world change, and Desire wanted to maintain the new order. On Juno’s wedding day, their Mengery soldiers stormed through the Nine desert and ripped his world apart. Now, Juno journeys to the east with his adopted brother, Trey, for revenge after the murder of his family. They encounter bandits and magical creatures that live in the Nine, but once they get to Desire, they will face their biggest obstacles – their own fears and ambitions.
There are some reasons why it took me longer. The first being that I don’t usually read a lot of fantasy. In fact, the last two fantasy books that I have reviewed on this site were ones that were either based on fairy tales (The Vampire of Maple Town), or a parody of the said genre (Kill the Farm Boy). I have absolutely nothing against the category. I simply take a little longer to read it. The second is that the novel contains a lot of details. It has plenty of characters and specifics related to world building. Many were pretty interesting, yet I sometimes wondered if it was too much (who was Tsoul again?). Nonetheless, every time I came back to the book, I immediately remembered where I was at. Krishnan knows how to end chapters with a bang, especially if it’s reminiscent of the red wedding from Game of Thrones.
The novel is from Juno’s perspective, but it alternates with that of Trey. It’s divided into four parts. The first part is devoted to Juno, and the second one is about Trey. The third and fourth sections swap between the two, even during a single chapter. I didn’t mind this because these characters are written with clear and distinct voices. Juno is a kind, but passive guy, who, throughout the novel, evolves into the leader of the rebel camp as their savior. Trey is a more assertive and anger-filled person with abandonment issues, who works his way up from a chief’s assistant to the king of Desire.
I really like how the novel focuses on brotherhood and the consequences of not taking any action. Usually, a lot of books in the fantasy genre have a lot of romance between the main and supporting characters. While Oasis has some of that, the focus is on the relationship between Juno and Trey as brothers. They had been together since Juno’s family adopted Trey and his sister Drea when they were kids. As the book progresses, the two become separated both physically and mentally even though both of them thought they knew one another.
In addition, I like how it acknowledges that even not doing anything can lead to some dangerous results. In the beginning of the novel, Trey gets consumed by some demons and is later separated from Juno. Those fiends grow inside Trey throughout the novel, and they even convince him that Juno is not the friend that he thought he was. Juno spends a good chunk of the novel wanting to know if his brother does not have the demons anymore. At the climax, Trey accuses Juno of not helping him fight them, but the latter asserts that it was not that he didn’t care, it was that he didn’t know what to do. Readers might see this with political implications as some might conclude that the lack of action is equivalent to contributing to something evil.
Oasis by Bharat Krishnan is a good read. For me, it took a long time because there was so much to absorb. However, what I got out of it really stuck with me. The characters are well-thought out, and some emphasized aspects like brotherhood and the consequences of not doing anything help make it stand out among other fantasy books. I recommend this book to those who like this genre, especially if they want something a little bit different.
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