The Black Oracle, by Michael Cristiano
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: May 25, 2015
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson
On a post-apocalyptic Earth, humans are not alone.
Joachim is a hunter. Though generations have passed since the Great Death, something has evolved in the trees beyond the giant glowing mushrooms, mutants that want to see human entrails spread along the jungle floor.
And now they’ve taken Joachim’s wife.
To get her back, Joachim must give the leader of these demons something in return: immortality. A creature knows when he is going to die, after all. In the realm of Zalm, Joachim must navigate a world of magic and darkness to find the ingredients to a potion. Only the Black Oracle knows where these ingredients are, but she’s a little busy at the moment. She leads an army of rebels, revolutionaries fighting for liberation against the High Council.
In a story of betrayal, prophecy, and bloodshed, Joachim must find a way to save his wife while evading a ruthless Empress, one that wants to see the Black Oracle and her associates killed – Joachim included.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
The blurb of this book was one that caught my attention when I originally read it. I liked the fact that it seemed to be a mix of apocalyptic and fantasy… and it definitely did live up to those expectations when I started reading it.
I could really empathise with the villagers and the awful situation they were in. I wasn’t sure exactly where and how the mutant creatures had sprung up and I would have liked a bit more detail about how everything had reached the point it had. There were references made to an apocalyptic event that weren’t really expanded upon.
I found the two different storylines running alongside each other to both hold my attention and I kept wanting to follow their progress. I really liked both Joachim and Rae as characters and I did feel a lot of sympathy towards the elders of their village, who had been faced with such an awful decision to make before the book had even started.
It was really good to see how resourceful the characters were, in particular Tabitha, Rae and Trent. I’d assumed that Trent wouldn’t really amount to much… but despite his obvious fear to start with, I felt he really came through as a fighter and leader.
I didn’t think much of the High Empress of Zalm, I have to say. I much preferred the character of the Black Oracle. It was good to see the way she interacted with Joachim and I found it interesting to read about how her abilities worked and differed in comparison to the ‘magic’ used by the rest of the citizens.
I thought it was good to see bonds of friendship formed throughout. There were very few instances of people working on their own through this book and there were a lot of really intense scenes.
The creatures are quite obviously awful, but it was good that even the gory parts weren’t overly graphic… though that can sometimes be worse, given it leaves so much room for the imagination to work. I also found myself intrigued by Joachim’s dreams. I’d like to know if he has any abilities he doesn’t yet know about.
The book did end on something of a cliffhanger and I’d like to see what will happen next. I cared about the characters and the struggle they were enduring and it seems that it’s not over for them yet.
About The Author
Michael Cristiano is a Canadian writer. His relentless obsession with fiction began long before he could even spell the words ‘relentless obsession’. Growing up in endless suburban sprawl, he spent most of his childhood getting lost in fantastical masterpieces and attempting to be published by the age of thirteen.
When he isn’t writing or reading, he can be found planning his next backpacking trip around the world. He is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with studies in Foreign Language and Linguistics. Previously, he attended a Regional Arts high school where he majored in drama. He is fond of all things dramatic.
Michael currently resides in the Greater Toronto Area.
Find Michael Cristiano Online:
About Curiosity Quills Press
Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.
Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!