Monday, April 10, 2006

My latest Oz readings

Two new ones — okay, not-so-new, they've been in my to-read pile a while, and they've finally bubbled up to the top. (I have got to figure out a way to speed up my reading):

First was The Living House of Oz by Edward Einhorn, his follow-up to Paradox in Oz. Oh, wow, this is a terrific Oz book! To be sure, a few characters and incidents from Paradox come up, but for the most part, this is all totally new stuff. The living house itself is a terrific creation. Imagine all of the living household items from the Disney film version of Beauty and the Beast, all living Howl's Moving Castle, and you've got a pretty good idea. But the house is not the protagonist, it's Buddy and his mother, the people who live in it. They have some secrets they need to hide from Ozma and Glinda — with good reason, as it turns out — and then it turns out that Buddy's mother is hiding some secrets from him on top of that. It's so well told and put together that I tore through this book as quick as I could, and that hasn't happened for a long time. Lots of old Oz characters, created by Baum, appear (and illustrator Eric Shanower slips a few more into the always gorgeous pictures), but Einhorn gives them great new personalities and motivations that work very well. If you're one of those Oz fans who is picky about which Oz books outside of Baum or the Famous Forty you should read, this is definitely one you should take a look at.

The other book is A Million Miles from Here Is Oz by Chris Dulabone, the latest book he's published through his own imprint, Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends. This is a big, cosmic epic that had to do with the nature of magic in Oz and the surrounding countries, and how it almost all comes to an end. In other words, some pretty heady stuff. Lots of references to events and characters in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and Queen Zixi of Ix (Zixi ends up having a major role, in fact). It could have used a good editor to come in and smooth out some of the rough spots, but for the most part this was a satisfying read.

And next? A review copy of a new non-fiction book, so take a look for the review on my site's reviews page soon.

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