Books Based off of other Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Paige-Danielle, Social Commentary, Young Adult

#671 Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Amy is from Kansas and she lives in a trailer. Her mom shops at Salvation Army. Her dad is gone. Her mom has also become an alcoholic. At school she is bullied. One day the weather is ominous and Amy’s mother goes out to the bar leaving Amy at home in the trailer park alone with the pet rat, Star. As tornadoes are prone to happen in Kansas, one does, and sweeps Amy’s trailer up off of the ground.

Amy does not die, but is helped out of her trailer by a nice boy with emerald-green eyes, what she sees astounds her. She’s definitely not in Kansas anymore. She’s in Oz.

She soon meets up with a couple of companions who tell her that Oz isn’t the place that it once had been. Dorothy is evil, or good rather, and so is Glinda. Dorothy has gone mad with power. All the characters she heard about, who were good, are still good, but they’re not good, they’re evil. The Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow are all awful people. Dorothy soon finds herself imprisoned in the palace, but she is soon whisked away by a group who needs some help. They’re the wicked, or rather, the good people of Oz.

The group is composed of witches and various revolutionaries against Oz. They want to kill Dorothy. They want to get rid of her awful regime. Amy is trained by witches and warlocks. She’s trained to be lethal. She’s trained to use magic. She’s trained to be a witch. This is all in preparation for the time in which she will be planted in the palace itself in order to make an assassination attempt on Dorothy. Amy finds out that Dorothy is good, or rather not good, and she must go down.

What I liked

This is a rather interesting look at the world of Oz. What happens after the story is over? Does everyone stay good? Do their allegiances change? How does a person of Earth manage to survive in Oz? We’ve seen, after all, that it made the wizard become a humbug who pretended to be a magician and also the ruler of Oz.

We always think of Dorothy as this sweet little thing, which she was in the stories, rather one-sided, rather flat, father a child. In the movie, she’s definitely more grown up.

Danielle knew her Oz stuff. She knows the correct characters’ names. She mentions characters you’ll only find in reading the Oz series by L. Frank Baum, the Shaggy Man for example, he was never in any of the movies or shows, that I know of.

I liked this question of good being evil and evil being good. It can certainly change. It can certainly flip. Someone who is good, can be evil. A hero can become the villain. Under what circumstances do these things happen? It also reminds me of a scripture that says something along the lines of–good will be called evil and evil will be called good. This is speaking of the day when our society has changed so much that our moral compasses have skewed and we don’t know which way is up. I feel as if this is what has happened in Oz. Moral compasses have been frizzed out and yes, the wicked are actually the good people, maybe, but according to the story, you should never trust anyone but yourself–so who knows?

What I didn’t like

The book ended on rather a cliff-hanger note, just be warned. I feel as the first book in a series, it can sort of stand on its own. It’s still interesting and still a good read, but there is more to the story, a lot more, that you don’t get with this one book.

It’s a bit sad to think of these characters that you’ve always seen as good, be bad, but none of us are entirely good or bad, we’re a mixture of both, and that mixture can change.

Overall

Interesting concept, and, yes, Dorothy does sound as if she needs to die.

Weigh In

Would your opinion of one of your favorite good guys change if they were evil in a story?

Does the quote, “You either die a hero or live long enough to be the villain,” apply here?

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Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Maguire-Gregory, Mystery, Social Commentary, what if

#312 Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire

Out of Oz by Gregory MaguireSummary

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire is the last installment in his Oz series. All the events you’ve been reading about in the previous three books have their conclusion in this installment. This book is by far the largest installment in Maguire’s Oz series. This book will take you through over six-hundred pages of a war-torn Oz while dragging its inhabitants along.

Contrary to what I said in the book haul post in which I bought this book, the events in this book actually take place only a few months after the events in A Lion Among Men. All of the previous books have overlapped in some way, but this one has not. It does not overlap any of the previous books at all.

The first place we go in this book is to the house of Glinda. You know Glinda, Glinda the good witch. Glinda’s home is being taken over by soldiers. They plan to take the lake called Restwater from free Munchkinland. They commandeer Glinda’s house and leave her with only a few servants. By the end only one servant remains, and that is a little girl. One General Cherrystone, yes, you’ve heard his name before if you’ve read the series, takes an interest in this young girl and teaches her to read. This girl’s name is Rain. Glinda appears to be oblivious about how Rain came into her house, but she actually knows.

Rain stays with Glinda throughout her entire imprisonment. They find out Cherrystone’s forces have raised dragons and plan to use them for an attack. Suddenly, a familiar troupe of people show up. These familiar people are the traveling company of the time dragon. That includes Mr. Boss, Brrr the lion, Illinora and various servants of the Time Dragon. They put on a show for the soldiers, which General Cherrystone doesn’t like. They leave, but before they go, they leave Glinda with something familiar, the Grimmerie. The Grimmerie confuses Glinda for a while, but when it comes time for the dragons to attack innocent people and places, Glinda and Rain conjure up a frozen lake to keep them at bay.

Glinda then sends Rain on with the company of the Time Dragon. Rain travels with the Time Dragon company for over a year. At one point, it appears the Time Dragon has died. Rain learns that she can control some creatures. Mr. Boss marries a former maunt, who played a large part in one of the former installments of the series. In an escape effort, Rain is able to make the Time Dragon fly with everyone on board to safety. Not long after this they meet up with Liir and Candle who are alive and well.

Liir and Candle are Rain’s parents, but Rain doesn’t take very kindly to them. She has seemingly never had parents her entire life, it’s hard to imagine having them so suddenly. They live for a while out to themselves, even Brr and Illinora, who is actually Rain’s aunt. At one point a messenger brings word that people are after Liir. People know he can use the Grimmery.

Tensions in the Emerald City and the Emminence of Munchkinland heat up. Mombey has taken control of Munchkinland through some claimed relation to the Thropps. Shell Thropp, has crowned himself the Emperor Apostle of Oz and calls himself  “The Sacredness.” Both parties want to win a war against the other. They both know they need or want the Grimmerie to do so.

The party in the wild goes their separate ways. It is rumored that Dorothy is back, so that is where Brr, Mr. Boss and his new wife go. They go to rescue Dorothy who is to be put on a mock trial and convicted guilty for killing both Elphaba and Nessaroe.

Nor takes Rain to the city of Shiz and enrolls her in boarding school. It’s as good a place to hide her as any. There in boarding school, is where Rain meets someone named Tip. Tip you will remember does make an appearance in the Oz series by Baum, and if you remember, what happens, you will know also what happens to Tip in this book.

It soon becomes apparent that Rain must be compelled into action to fight for her country and her family. Rain is the one everyone has been waiting for.

What I liked

I know that I do not give this book justice with my summary. The book is so large and so epic that I cannot possibly relay the entire story here in a summary. Just be satisfied in knowing that many questions you had in the other three books are answered in this book. It’s a closing chapter to the Oz series, but it doesn’t entirely close it.

I like that Gregory incorporated elements from other Oz books into this book. The Oz series by Baum is either fourteen or fifteen books, depending on whom you ask. Some people say the fifteenth book is not actually his and was written by an imposter. I can’t speak with any validity on my part, because I am not an Oz scholar or fanatic. The other three books in this series have generally configured themselves as something of a prolouge to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and followed events within that book. This book seems to include events from the second installment of the Oz series by Baum, in which we meet Mombey. Mombey who can change her face at will, just like the Mombey in Return to Oz, which was actually based on two of Baum’s Oz novels. I really liked that Gregory not only included increasingly more elements from Baum’s series, but also elements from the 1980s movie Return to Oz.

Moving on, Gregory actually also mentions elements from other books in the series, although he does not actually mention events in those books. One of the key things I noticed mentioned in this book that comes later in Baum’s series are the Wogglebugs.

There is a lot in this book that you could pick apart. Gregory was obviously expressing his love for L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz, but he was also expressing some social commentary. The war that happens in Oz and the power structures that vie with one another are very detailed and could be related to things we know in real life. Honestly, I would really have to study up on some history and current events to be able to speak about this aspect of the book in an educated manner. I would probably also have to read the book again, because, let’s face it, one time around in a book like this, you’re not going to pick up everything.

You do have to remember that Baum himself was a social commentator. All that jazz about silver slippers and so forth were arguments Baum wanted to make about the real world. He did so through a children’s story. Obviously, Baum and his fellows did not win their argument because U.S. currency is not backed by gold or even silver these days. U.S. currency is backed by nothing but your faith. If you have faith a piece of paper is money, then that piece of paper is money; if you do not have faith that a piece of green paper is money, then your currency is worthless and your economy collapses.

I think I would really like to get more into what Gregory was trying to say about our society.

What I didn’t like

I do feel like some elements of the story are unresolved. Elphaba’s final story can be interpreted in at least several ways. I wish I would have had a more concrete clue one way or the other as to what in the world happened to Elphaba.

Tip’s final situation never made sense to me in Baum’s series. If you know what happens to Tip, continue reading, but if you don’t know, I’m going to try to not give anything away. Knowing what I know about Gregory, I can see why he left this event in the story. Obviously, it’s something that is important to Gregory. I don’t like how Baum created this event and I don’t think he ever intended it to end up the way it has. I don’t like this whole event for reasons of confusion rather than anything else. I think that would be a very unfair thing to do to a person in real life, so I also think it’s an unfair thing to do to a character in a book. This is in my “what I didn’t like” section, because I don’t like the fact that Gregory had the power as the creator of this story to change the way Tip ends up, but he didn’t. He chose to have Tip continue to suffer endless bounds of confusion. We can’t all have happy endings though.

Overall

If you love Gregory’s other Oz books, you definitely have to read this one. If you love Baum’s wizard of Oz books, then you have to read this one. Be prepared though, because this book will take you a good bit of time to read.
brr, candle, dragon warfare, dragons, elphaba, Gregory Maguire, l. frank baum, liir, mombey, munchkinland, nessaroe, out of oz, out of oz by gregory maguire, rain, the cowardly lion, the grimmerie. oz series, the time dragon, tip, wizard of oz
Books Based on Books, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Maguire-Gregory, Mystery, Social Commentary, what if
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Thoughts and Ponders

Background Stories

I’m reading Wicked for the third time or so. I’m not a huge fan of the Oz series. I did try to read the entire series last year, but never could really get through it. I’ll have to try to tackle it again some day. I read the first seven books. I think Baum had a lot of views that I don’t agree with. Gregory Maguire on the other hand is an interesting guy. He takes traditional stories and creates different backgrounds for them. It’s not about what the characters do after the story it’s what makes them what they are. As in, we get the background of how the characters became what they become. It’s probably not the sanctioned by the author background story, but it’s an interesting view.

Sometimes you want to know what has happened to a character to make them take the actions they take. I like the idea of Maguire’s books. It’s a refreshing look at familiar stories. I don’t completely agree with everything that Maguire creates, but I do like the way he thinks. I like the whole background story of Elphaba. She has no name in the Wizard of Oz series, but Maguire gives her one. He turns her from an anonymous witch into a person. He turns her into a person who has had a life. She has loved and she has lost. She had parents. She had a sibling. She actually has a history. I like that someone created a background to go with such a notorious character.

In the original book the wicked witch of the west doesn’t have much of a story. She’s evil and that’s it. We don’t see any compassion or anything else on her part. In Maguire’s story she is so much more dimensional. I actually kind of like Elphaba. She’s not perfect, but she is definitely interesting.

Maguire has done this very same thing with a few other famous characters. He has also tackled Cinderella and Snow White. Cinderella isn’t really as wholesome in Maguire’s version. Her ugly step sisters aren’t really that terrible. In Snow White things aren’t always as they seem. Maguire also manages to include some nice historical references in his story.

I can’t help but wonder what other characters would have some awesome back stories. The author of a character will never have enough time to fill out the entire life of a character. It would take years and years to created the small instances that make up every significant thing in a person’s life.

I honestly wish there were more books that created these elaborate background stories for beloved and maybe not so beloved characters.


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Baum-L. Frank, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Social Commentary, Young Adult

# 22 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Summary:
If you have never read this book you should. It’s one of the classics. I recently got the kindle collection of the Oz series and I am reading through it since I have never read the entire series before.

This is of course the famed story of Dorothy Gale of Kansas. The book is different from the movie with Judy Garland. If you have never seen that movie you are unsophisticated. It’s pretty much a requirement as far as movies go.

In the past two years or so I have read the entire Wicked series, but I have never read the entire Oz series.

The book starts out describing how gray Kansas is. It’s actually kind of boring at the beginning because everything is gray. I love how the Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz makes everything gray until she gets to Munchkinland.

Dorothy’s uncle determines that is a twister coming and tells Aunt Em and Dorothy to get to the cellar. Before Dorothy can get there the house is lifted right off the ground by the twister. It’s in the air so long that Dorothy actually falls asleep. When she awakes she sees bright colors like she has never seen before and finds herself in Munchkinland. Dorothy’s house has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. She is dead and the Munchkins rejoice.

Dorothy is not as old as she is portrayed in the Judy Garland version of the story. She is young, young enough to be very naive and very childlike. So 8-10 years old. The slippers of the witch are not ruby, but silver. This is because Baum was involved in some movement to get the currency of the US tied to Silver. This was a political statement for Baum, it wasn’t just a story.

Dorothy takes the slippers. The good witch of the north does come, but it’s not Glinda, it’s the other good witch. In the Judy Garland version only one good witch is introduced into the story. So in the true story you meet all four witches.

Dorothy soon goes along her way on the yellow brick road. She meets the scarecrow. The scarecrow joins her so he can get some brains.

She meets the tin man, or Nick Chopper. The story related in Wicked as to how he got to be the Tin Man is actually the story relayed in the original story. So Maguire isn’t messing with everybody, that is really how Baum wrote it. It does sound a bit gruesome, but whatever.

They eventually meet the cowardly lion. Who actually isn’t that cowardly. His cowardliness is really emphasized in the movie, but in the story he’s just not that much of a scardy kat.

They come to the field of poppies meet the field mice and their queen. This was omitted from the movie. Dorothy was not saved from the poppies by Glinda, but by mice.

They eventually reach the emerald city. They where green goggles. The Wizard appears to each member of the party in a different form. Not just one form.

He basically uses the party as his private bounty hunters, because he wants to wicked witch of the west dead. No, the winged monkeys are not solely under he command.

They meet up with the witch, the story is a bit different than the movie, I won’t go into details. Dorothy assassinates the witch with a pail of water. They go back to Oz. Oz doesn’t know if he can give them their promises or not.

Oz tells the party he will keep his promises to them. He stuffs a bunch of junk in the scarecrow’s head. It’s not really brains. He just tells the scarecrow they are and the scarecrow believes him. He puts a sewn lacy heart in the tin man, he tells the tin man it’s the kindest heart he has and the tine man believes him. He gives the lion something weird to drink and tells him it’s courage, the lion believes him. Oz still plays the charlatan here. The people of Oz are so gullible that they believe everything he says.

Dorothy’s journey is not through. The traditional movie that everyone has seen leaves on the final leg of her journey. When she misses the hot air balloon because of Toto, she has to go and see Glinda in the south. The trees that try to attack them are in the story but in a different place than the movie puts them. There is also a village made completely of china people. No, not Chinese people, but ceramic people. Ceramic ware was generally called china back in those days. They finally make it, and this is where Dorothy clicks her silver slippers together to go home. She does not say, “There’s no place like home,” but says, “Take me to Aunt Em.”

What I liked: This story is a classic. I don’t think anybody can tire of these stories. It’s such a fascinating tale. Get sucked up by a tornado and you end up in a magical land. It’s a nice thought. The characters that Baum creates are of course great. Some of the names are indeed strange though. It’s not exactly like the movie, but the book came first, and as we know the book is always better.

What I didn’t like: I really find some of the names very odd. The “hammerheads” for instance. The only things that come to mind when I hear that word are sharks and building tools. I don’t know if the hammerhead shark had been discovered or rather named before Baum wrote this book. I just find the name weird. It’s not enough to put me off of the book though.