Saturday, October 16, 2010

RATS! And Other Frustrations

Good Oz authors also prove to be prolific authors. L. Frank Baum also wrote mysteries and adventure thrillers, Jack Snow wrote horror stories, Eloise Jarvis McGraw wrote a variety of books, three of them winning Newbery Honors. Even more recent Oz authors get outside of Oz, like Eric Shanower's comic series Age of Bronze. No exception is Marcus Mebes, who recently released a collection entitled RATS! And Other Frustrations, containing revised and rewritten stories and poems he came up with in high school and college.

The book contains three short stories and two poems. The poems are written very well, but you can't really review poetry in depth.

The first story "RATS!" peeks in at the life of four people living in their mundane existences. However, when each of their lives seem to be taking a fatal turn, they find themselves in a gigantic maze with no idea who each other are or what they are doing there.

The next (and shortest) story in the book is "Luna Moths" must really be read, so all I'll say is it is about a woman who climbs a mountain to see something no one else can.

Finally, there is "Be A Wolf." And if you think that sounds like Beowulf, it is based on that story, but now presented as historical fiction, applied to the colonization of what becomes Shreveport, Louisiana, where the author lives. The analogy works brilliantly as told by a Civil War soldier and a Caddo Indian.

I found these stories to be well-written and very enjoyable, and I am trying to not be biased as Marcus is a friend of mine. Each scene in the stories is vividly described and very easy to imagine, aided by amazing illustrations by Alejandro Garcia.

I always seem to enjoy non-Oz work by Oz authors, and this is no exception. I recommend it, but be warned that these are not stories for children, and Marcus briefly uses some language that would be inappropriate for them.

You can get the book here in paperback or a download.


Eric said...

A slight correction: It's the Newbery Medal, for best children's book of the year, not Newberry. And Eloise Jarvis McGraw did not win it. She did, however, win three Newbery Honors, which is the consolation prize, and there are usually multiple recipients each year. It's still an impressive achievement.

Jared said...

Corrected. That's what I get for looking at Wikipedia for a quick reference...