From Blood Reborn is the third part of the Oasis of Filth series by Keith Soares, following the unlikely hero of the nameless doctor in his continuing journey across the formerly United States of America. Years after the human race’s fall from grace with the outbreak of “RL2013” – a mysterious disease that causes a slow and maddening death to anyone who is infected, with no known cure – governments move their people more and more into sterile, utilitarian walled settlements where anything but absolute cleanliness and obedience is enforced with strict justice and regular “disappearances” of accused plague victims.
Growing old and accepting in one such city, the doctor hears tales of an Oasis of Filth, left free of plague with all other freedoms in tact, and is soon spurred to follow the disappearance of one of his few remaining friends there. Two books, the hope of a cure and the loss of all else along the way, the doctor prepares the end of his autobiography in chronicling the new hope in creating an immunity to the plague, and faces opposition not just from those who enjoy their power, but those who want power of their own and the savage reality of life between the walled cities.
After the long introspective dark tea-time of the soul of the second part, Hopeless Pastures, From Blood Reborn comes back strong, its cast hardened by their losses, and firm in their resolve to fix the world that rots around them. As most good trilogies, the book is a strong finale and pushes its characters to their limit without hesitation. Each chapter is tense yet bleak, but the small victories that come with each crossed bridge and hurdle are drunk in by the weary narrator, and the small glimmer of hope he becomes charged with shines on through each terrifying step.
The world built by Soares is one filled with death as an every day occurrence, and the background of constant mourning while never giving up is expressed well in his minimal, practical descriptions tinged with honest emotion from the narrator. The writing keeps in character well while remaining in good novel prose. A now-old man with nothing to live for besides his renewed faith that those around him can be saved, is well shown in action and writing, something which is best demonstrated as the story comes to its last pages. A long, winding journey is kept sparse with attention to the interesting details, maintaining a fast pace that carefully takes in the conceptual beauty of every scenario without falling into the whimsical or overcooked.
As always, Soares shows his competence in writing and as the final part of his series I can’t suggest anything other than buying the entire trilogy to see the story from start to finish. Each book so far has felt definitely leading into the next, and even if you were otherwise somewhat aware of the story of the previous two I would strongly suggest getting a feel of the previous installments first-hand before moving into the finale.
While the book sometimes feels more fitting of a screenplay at times, this can’t be considered a particular flaw, even if some characters can feel a bit too ill-explored due to the quicker pacing the book adopts. Regardless, the series as a whole is very easy to dip in and out of in my experience – this is one of the few “zombie apocalypse” stories that has done something interesting with the premise. As a fast-delivering and effective writer, I hope Soares continues creating such great reads in the future and his series finds more readers as pleased as I am.