Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Oz Odyssey by Roger Baum

This is Angelo blogging. This is my first blog on The Royal Blog of Oz, so if you don't know me well, I'm an Oz author and the youngest blogger here.

I downloaded Roger Baum's The Oz Odyssey on my Amazon Kindle last weekend. Besides Dorothy of Oz, this was my first time reading a book written by Roger. The story really starts on the first page. In fact, we don't even see Dorothy in Kansas at all. The book just starts off with her and Toto on their way to meet with the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion. They end up getting lost in the forest and throughout the entire book try to find their way out.

For starters, this book was much more MGM-inspired than I had anticipated. There is a mention that there are red bricks that form at the beginning of the Yellow Brick Road. Dorothy and Toto later discover the Red Brick Road, which is apparently a continuation of those bricks. They also meet a character that is basically a copy of the Signpost from Filmation's Journey Back to Oz. A short princess that is only a few inches tall, Bekama, to me is a poor follow-up to the China Doll Princess in Roger's Dorothy of Oz. The author doesn't even use any of the characters from L. Frank Baum's Oz books except for the famous four.

The book is well-written, but the storyline didn't flow smoothly for me. When Dorothy and Toto enter a land full of tiny people, they must turn small as well. In some parts of the book, it seems like the author just forgot that Dorothy and Toto are still six inches tall, and is sometimes unclear to the reader if they are still the same size. I had to look back and see if there was a mention of them growing back to their normal size or not several times while reading.

Does it get on your nerves when someone makes an MGM-inspired book or movie and ressurects The Wicked Witch of the West? Well, that's the case here. Turns out, the Wicked Witch of the West never died and that she thought it would be nice to go hide in a cave underground for awhile. To me, when a writer ressurects a character from a previous book, I feel like 'Really? The author couldn't even come up with their own villain?' The illustrations were gorgeous, but in my opinion, if you've seen the MGM movie, you've read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and you've read Dorothy of Oz, you've already read this book. There's even a character called Tugg Jr. which is assumingly related to Tugg from Dorothy of Oz.

The writing style in this book reminded me much of L. Frank Baum's writing style, but the storyline was very repetitive of Roger's previous books and didn't really add anything new to the Oz legacy. It just didn't feel like an original Oz story because of the aspects that were heavily inspired by other works. You can purchase the book from the publisher's website. The book is available for Kindle & Nook as well.

1 comment:

Chris Dulabone said...

I don't object to characters being resurrected, but it sounds as if he has not done it in a reasonable manner. I'm reminded of a scene in "Misery" where an author tried to simply ignore the story that said a character was dead, and the fan became furious (and rightfully so--even though it was the author's own character in that example).

RB's books have always been MGM-based and riddled with errors. He once explained to me that he had never actually read any of the Oz books himself, but merely had them read TO him as a child.

I am sorry to hear that this book is below par even for RB, though. I had not intended to waste any $ on it myself, of course, but the big "Dorothy of Oz" movie will likely cause legions of fans to be mislead and buy his books thinking he knows of what he writes. A crying shame.