An assertive, endearingly deranged take on the well-known tale from a writer-artist duo readers will want to keep their eyes...

THE EVIL OF OZ

A HORROR SEQUEL TO THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ

In Fuller and Baijnath’s debut graphic-novel reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s classic, Dorothy returns to an Oz corrupted by evil in a tale of bloody retribution.

Dorothy Gale returns home to find Uncle Henry and Aunt Em dead, their hearts cut from their chests. She clicks her silver shoes together, grabs an ax, and rides a tornado back to the land of Oz for vengeance. But something’s terribly wrong in Oz: the Munchkins have turned into vicious creatures with sharp teeth, and Dorothy’s friends, including the Tin Man, aren’t quite as genial as they once were. It seems that Glinda the Good Witch, who’s taken over the Emerald Throne, is no longer good and has allowed Oz to fall into ruin. Dorothy, the self-proclaimed “Witchkiller,” follows the yellow brick road to stop Glinda’s reign and find her loved ones’ murderer. Writer Fuller and artist Baijnath’s collaboration is unquestionably adult, opening with cops at a bloody crime scene. The bare-bones story focuses mostly on Dorothy’s revenge, leading to pages of nothing but action; Dorothy’s fighting off aggressive Munchkins (who literally munch) is essentially a massacre. Fuller, however, does ensure that readers see recognizable faces, including the Wizard, as well as unexpected consequences of Dorothy’s first visit, like the Cowardly Lion’s no longer having fear and becoming a beast. Baijnath’s bold artwork is impressive: images are full of atmospheric swirls, including the incessantly curving yellow brick road, as if characters are caught inside a cyclone. There are also plenty of flying body parts and loads of blood, so much that Dorothy’s silver shoes resemble the more popular shade of ruby. But Baijnath’s best visuals are the story’s calmer moments, as in the unmistakable elegance of Dorothy’s wordlessly trekking through the rain in a desolate Oz and approaching the blinding light of the Bright City. The writer and author take the story seriously, none of it tongue-in-cheek. Still, it’s hard not to smile when Dorothy declares, “I will not leave until the yellow brick road runs red with the blood of my enemies.”

An assertive, endearingly deranged take on the well-known tale from a writer-artist duo readers will want to keep their eyes on.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4935-1704-6

Page Count: 108

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Coelho's placebo has racked up impressive sales in Brazil and Europe. Americans should flock to it like gulls.

THE ALCHEMIST

Coelho is a Brazilian writer with four books to his credit. Following Diary of a Magus (1992—not reviewed) came this book, published in Brazil in 1988: it's an interdenominational, transcendental, inspirational fable—in other words, a bag of wind. 

 The story is about a youth empowered to follow his dream. Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd boy who learns through a dream of a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. An old man, the king of Salem, the first of various spiritual guides, tells the boy that he has discovered his destiny: "to realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation." So Santiago sells his sheep, sails to Tangier, is tricked out of his money, regains it through hard work, crosses the desert with a caravan, stops at an oasis long enough to fall in love, escapes from warring tribesmen by performing a miracle, reaches the pyramids, and eventually gets both the gold and the girl. Along the way he meets an Englishman who describes the Soul of the World; the desert woman Fatima, who teaches him the Language of the World; and an alchemist who says, "Listen to your heart" A message clings like ivy to every encounter; everyone, but everyone, has to put in their two cents' worth, from the crystal merchant to the camel driver ("concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man"). The absence of characterization and overall blandness suggest authorship by a committee of self-improvement pundits—a far cry from Saint- Exupery's The Little Prince: that flagship of the genre was a genuine charmer because it clearly derived from a quirky, individual sensibility. 

 Coelho's placebo has racked up impressive sales in Brazil and Europe. Americans should flock to it like gulls.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-06-250217-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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