This book was a fine read, but did not move me so strongly as Wicked or even Son of a Witch did. It does cover a nice backstory for the Cowardly LionThis book was a fine read, but did not move me so strongly as Wicked or even Son of a Witch did. It does cover a nice backstory for the Cowardly Lion though and sheds a bit of light on some intriguing loose ends.
My foremost complaint is that it felt like most of the action was happening in the background of the story itself (which is a compelling prospect inside of itself - a story where the characters are only a part of what happens, but may not be a clear protagonist in it or even understand what happens or why - like being a footnote in the real story). This had the unfortunate side effect of being just stimulating enough to keep me reading, while never actively engaging my interest or love for the characters (as Wicked does). Son of a Witch posed a similar problem, but managed to right itself (mostly) by the end to where I still want to know what’s going to happen next. The strongest impression I get from these works is that they are a bit too much like real life for me to get truly lost in them. I don’t find myself wanting to be whisked away to Oz or to be a part of the story, as I would in say, Peter Pan or The Never-ending Story. I am absolutely content to be nothing more than a silent observer of the plot and then go on to my own boring/compelling life.
Having said that, the writing really does hold my interest as I always seem to finish these books quickly and rarely want to put them down as I am reading them. I am fascinated by the histories and mythologies being disclosed to me, both for the original OZ characters and those of Maguire's own creation. And while I never could bring myself to actually like the Cowardly Lion, I do think it is intriguing to read about his life, frustrating as it is and despite feeling more like filler than the author’s passion to tell the story.
One thing that I find really interesting, which I have not read in any of the reviews, is how similar Maguire's themes are to the original author’s. Perhaps I feel this way because I read Baum's famous opus only last year and so my feelings and impressions of it are still very fresh, but to me Baum is a very dark, very cynical writer who gave me a similar feeling of this "going nowhere" frustration that is embodied throughout Mr. Maguire's work. I just like Maguire's more. And I admit it is refreshing to come across an author who loves vocabulary, parlor trick or no.
My favourite aspect of these novels, whatever faults I find in them, is the realism Maguire brings to the world from the OZ books. There are real problems; these are real people who are vain and greedy and selfish, but also sometimes kind or vulnerable. I find it fascinating to see what becomes of these characters and I look forward to the author's nods to the original text as seen in real time by the denizens of Oz (Mombi, Tipp, the glass cat, etc). I appreciate the depth that Mr. Maguire is attempting (and usually succeeding) to cover with his works. They are showing us who these characters might really be, even if we as readers are not comfortable with the result.
Personally, I find it very rewarding and refreshing that I don't like all of the characters, or in this case, most of them. It does not stop them from being provocative or entertaining to me, most of the time, just from being appealing. I do not want to be friends with these people - in all likelihood I want to stay very far away from them. And as someone who grew up with having books and/or characters as friends, this is unfamiliar territory and I do so enjoy a good adventure!...more
I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or movingMy favourite poem in this book:
“I Go Down To The Shore
I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall— what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.”
I found this book last week at the library and could not put it down. It was an incredible and enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more of LaI found this book last week at the library and could not put it down. It was an incredible and enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more of Lady Trent. I love reading about her life a great deal and adventure memoirs are already of a vast interest to me (in a funny coincidence, I met a real life hero of mine today, Helen Thayer, so apparently my life is telling me to seek adventure), however I must agree with the other reviewers when I say that the ending seemed more than a bit rushed and was not given the attention so fully enriching the rest of the novel.
It really was too bad, because I want a bit more from my favourite novels and this one would have easily been given a five-star rating if the end had been given a modicum of the love shown to the rest of the novel.
Overall, however I would not only highly recommend it, but would recommend the other memoirs in the series, even though I have not read them yet as I enjoyed the voice of Lady Trent and her stories and adventures so very dearly. Yes, more of this please....more