Publisher: Harper Periennal
Author: Charles Soule
Released: April 3rd 2018
Received: Own (BOTM)
The Oracle Year is Charles Soule’s first foray into the novel world. He’s been a very well known graphic novel author for years, not to mention one of my favorites (he’s written for She-Hulk, Lando, Poe Dameron,Obi-Wan & Anakin and so much more). Since I’m pretty used to his writing style, I had no fear for the quality of this novel, though I was still very curious about what it was going to entail.
The Oracle Year is a twist on the typical stories one hears about oracles (duh) and seers. Unlike many/most that I’ve read, this one is actually very much a science fiction novel, which is pretty interesting. Throw away any assumptions you have about oracle stories out the window; this one will find a way to surprise you no matter what.
I was immediately drawn into this novel. Will’s character, while a bit awkward, is pretty endearing, especially considering the situation he’s in. Obviously the situation he’s in is the other reason why I immediately got wrapped up in things here.
You see, the predictions this ‘oracle’ has gotten are wildly different from other stories. Sure, they’re about the future, and yes, they’re incredibly accurate. The catch? There’s only one hundred and eight of them. Also, Will has no idea why they came to him in a dream.
I love that the predictions are limited – they all appear to be within a year of each other, and of course there’s the numeric limitation as well. Soule didn’t stop there though – he added even more to the complexity of what was going on, revealing that all of these events connect and react to one another, setting off chains of events. At first the events don’t seem connected, but throughout the novel it becomes more and more clear that something bigger is going on here…
While I loved Will’s character and the mystery that he was wrapped up in, I found myself loving to hate the Coach and all of the methods she used. She made herself pretty easy to hate, while also being very difficult to not respect. It’s an interesting conundrum, to say the least.
There were plenty of other characters that were easy to hate as well. Anybody that’s read the novel already probably knows exactly who I am talking about. The sad thing is, while these characters may have seemed extreme, I actually think they were painfully believable. Can you honestly tell me that society at large, not to mention religious organizations, would have reacted well to somebody like Will? I mean, historically speaking things have not gone well for previous prophets…so…yeah. I’m with Soule on this one, as pessimistic as it may seem.
There were plenty of characters that worked to redeem our opinion of mankind too, and I’d like to think that would be accurate as well. In truth I really enjoyed the conversations Soule opened up by writing this novel. It’s easy to look back at our history and see what was done to people who supposedly could see the future. It’s an entirely different story to try and picture something like that happening in the present time and climate.
I’ll confess that I liked the introduction of this novel much more than I enjoyed the conclusion. The final couple of chapters (after the climactic moment, that is) actually felt like they dragged on quite a bit. I’m not really sure they were necessary – after everything Will knew and didn’t know, I actually wonder if it would have been better to leave us not know what happened to Will in the end. Maybe that’s just me.
All things considered this was a pretty fantastic first run for a novel. I hope Soule continues writing (both novels and graphic novels! I don’t want to see him leave his primary media anytime soon). I’d be potentially interested in a sequel to this one – but perhaps with a new set of characters (moving forward with the core concept of what actually happened, but to and by different people maybe?).