OUT OF OZ by Gregory Maguire
Kirkus Star

OUT OF OZ

KIRKUS REVIEW

Maguire, reimaginer of Oz, completes his series The Wicked Years, which bowed in with the exuberantly zeitgeisty Wicked (1995), with this pensive but action-filled capstone.

The truest gauge of whether a fantasy series is any good, apart from the ordinary tests of writing and storytelling, is whether the world the writer imagines is complete—and whether it’s interesting enough for a reader to be bothered to go there. In the made-up–world department, Maguire is a signal success, and a captivating storyteller to boot. This concluding volume finds Dorothy Gale back in Kansas—for a time, anyway, for 16-year-old Dorothy isn’t so keen on following Aunt Em’s dictum, “We aren’t going to live forever, and you must learn to manage in the real world.” Better flying monkeys than Topeka, one supposes. Up in Oz (or down, or sideways; the directions to the place are provisional, depending on which path the twister takes), the lines of genealogy and elective affinity alike are beginning to tauten as it’s revealed just whose blood the Emperor shares. Some of his kin, however, are hanging out with Glinda and her kind. Even after fate has made done with the unpleasant witchy-poos of east and west, things aren’t all skittles and beer up in the Emerald City. Indeed, as one short fellow remarks, “The Munchkinlanders discovered that liberation from sniffy Nessarose didn’t provoke them into wanting a return to domination by the EC. Can you blame them?” Can you indeed? While the Lollipop Guild is busy transforming itself into a cadre of freedom fighters, the rest of the Emerald City girds up for war within and war without, for there’s nothing that the Emperor likes more than a good dust-up. All is chaos, swerve and swirl: the once cowardly lion now has moments where he sounds like Sean Connery, people fire up cigarettes and mount grim battles of resistance and Maguire pays subtle homage to Tolkien and Rowling and even Frank Baum while having a grand old time in the fantastically complicated world he has crafted. 

Is a neat ending possible? Not likely. There’s even room in this deliciously fun novel for a trap-door sequel. Stay tuned.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-054894-0
Page count: 576pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2011




NEW AND NOTABLE FICTION: NOVEMBER 2011:

Fiction 11/22/63 by Stephen King
by Stephen King
Fiction OUT OF OZ by Gregory Maguire
by Gregory Maguire
Fiction PARALLEL STORIES by Péter Nádas
by Péter Nádas
Fiction THE PRAGUE CEMETERY by Umberto Eco
by Umberto Eco

MORE BY GREGORY MAGUIRE

FictionTHE NEXT QUEEN OF HEAVEN by Gregory Maguire
by Gregory Maguire
FictionA LION AMONG MEN by Gregory Maguire
by Gregory Maguire
FictionSON OF A WITCH by Gregory Maguire
by Gregory Maguire

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionVISITORS FROM OZ by Martin Gardner
by Martin Gardner
ChildrenA WIZARD OF MARS by Diane Duane
by Diane Duane
FictionTHE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
by Erin Morgenstern