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Review: The Oracle Year

Review: The Oracle Year

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The Oracle Year, Charles Soule
April 2018 Book of the Month Selection
Published April 3, 2018 by Harper Perennial

4.5 Stars
Have you ever zipped along through a book, turning page of page with consistent interest without really being able to put a finger on what exactly makes it so compelling?
This is one of those books for me.

Maybe it's because the writing is fairly concise and so easy to read, maybe it's because nothing felt particularly superfluous, meaning I was reading eery sentence, instead of doing the occasional skim the way I'm so guilty of doing for other books, even if I'm enjoying them.

Maybe it's that I enjoyed that there was so little in terms of physical descriptions of people, including the main characters, allowing me to not get bogged down in the associations that can come with "physical types." (I can't read anymore books where descriptions of fat people are used to enhance themes of slovenliness or stupidity and where thinness expresses superiority or celebrates neurosis)

But mostly I think it's that I like a mystery and I like the strangeness of the one at the center of this story.

99% of the time my reviews are spoiler free but in this case I'm going to throw up a warning and then proceed into spoiler territory in case anyone else wants to discuss the ending in particular.
So: SPOILERS BELOW


I actually liked that we don't find out who provided Will with the information or how they got that information into his mind specifically. Knowing how it happened might have actually ruined some of the fun of the book. I like that Leigh imagines that Will's work as a musician made him a good candidate for figuring out how the premonitions all worked together, and I enjoyed the idea that even free will is not always so free when there are dire enough consequences attached. 
I wondered how the reverend would end up peppering his steak, and to avoid physical pain is such a human motivator.

What I didn't love is the way that Leigh got tethered to Will beyond the final drama. I get that she wanted to write the story, to see it all the way through and make it her own, but beyond that she'll have to abandon that drive if she stays in seclusion with Will, which made me a little sad. Feels like instal-love to some degree which always makes me bristle a bit.

I also find myself puzzling over how this particular series of events was orchestrated in order to create a greater unity and sense of peace across the world and between factions. On one hand it makes sense and I appreciate a happy ending (especially after exploring the fractious human nature in Only Human last week) but it felt like a neater ending than I was expecting. 

I would also like a prequel book about Coach. Out of all the characters she was the most compelling, not just because of how she defied expectations in looking like a happy grandma while wielding immense power, but because she presumably wasn't born with all of those tools. How did she become the coach? How did she live her day to day life as she grew through adulthood, marrying and having children while building a vast network of team members? I want to read that book!

If you've read The Oracle Year do you agree or disagree with any of the above? Anyone else want The Coach Years as the next book? 

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