Marsha's Reviews > Out of Oz

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
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's review
Apr 27, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, literature-fiction, supernatural, series-entry, action-adventure, owned-books
Read from April 23 to 27, 2012

While I would have preferred to review the other books in the Oz series before this one, I’d like to get my impressions down before they fade entirely.

“Wicked” was phenomenal because it gave a three-dimensional feel to characters like the Wicked Witch of the West and an explanation of some of the fanciful touches Baum brought to his stories. He pointed out that the Wizard was a fraud and a humbug (already know in the original tale) but made it clear how a man could be given the title of ruler even if he didn’t want it and the atrocious steps he would take to keep himself on top.

But Mr. Maguire takes the conceit too far. In fleshing out Mr. Baum’s original series, Mr. Maguire has crowded his version of Oz with endless stretches of philosophizing, politics, battle tactics, child rearing, etc. In so doing, there is little of humor and even less of magic. Even Dorothy, now 16 years old, becomes a squint-eyed, singing stumbling block, considered a dangerous criminal by some and an unnerving irritant by others.

There are descriptions of magic here and there in “Out of Oz”, but, like an Oz itself being slowly stripped of magical implements by an Emperor who has declared himself divine, they are scant indeed and mostly come off as minor talents practiced by wandering low-level itinerants. In spite of the magic running through the veins of Elphaba Thropp’s family, magic for them is a kind of nuisance. The Grimmerie itself, a source of contention, gets passed around like a football between so many various players, I found myself wishing that it had never been brought into the story at all.

Mr. Maguire has striven to make the Oz tales fit for adults rather than the children for whom they were originally intended. But adulthood isn’t necessarily synonymous with boredom or strait-laced sobriety, both of which this series has in spades.

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Reading Progress

04/23/2012 page 15
3.0% "Glinda continued to dally at her dressing table in order to buy time to think. Strategy had never been her strong suit. So far the time spent over her toilet had bought her precious little except for a manicure. Well, she could admire her cuticles after the chains were slapped on, if that was where this was heading."

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