Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Law of Oz and Other Stories

I had heard Paul Dana's first print Oz book would be available at this year's Winkie Convention, so I made a point to pick up a copy in person. Paul mentioned that the copies he had weren't exactly perfect and that the print on demand versions would be corrected. A few odd formatting errors aside, there wasn't anything really wrong enough to prevent an enjoyable reading experience.

The first two stories in Paul's book were available in a slightly different form online on Joe Bongiorno's Royal Timeline of Oz website. People suggested I check them out, but I have low patience for reading long fiction from a computer screen. As such, I was glad to hear they'd be coming to a print version.

I read Paul's book on the way home from Winkies, and really enjoyed it. The first story, "Time Travelers of Oz," finds Ojo and Button-Bright meeting Ugu the gray dove and discovering the ring of time which sends them back to when Lurline enchanted Oz.  However, they get split up, Ojo and Ugu traveling with Lurline and her band, Button-Bright winding up in the middle of a Yookoohoo wedding, specifically that of Mr. and Mrs. Yoop. There's some strange developments and an exciting standoff in the city of Herku before Button-Bright, Ojo and Ugu return to the present.

The second story, "The Lost Boy of Oz," finds Button-Bright revisiting his past and discovering that it's far more complicated than he originally thought. From Philadelphia back to the Land of Oz, Button-Bright searches for his long-lost mother and discovers things about himself that he never knew before.

Story three, "The Mothers of Oz," is the shortest, flashing back to a long time ago in the Land of Oz.

The fourth and final is the titular tale "The Law of Oz," which takes all the loose ends from the previous three stories and wraps them up at last as Ozma attempts a serious measure to rid Oz of Yookoohoo magic, and as Tititi Hoochoo realizes that some wrongs have been committed.

Paul takes some unexpected twists with the Oz characters, mainly the more obscure ones, but he does it in such a way that it doesn't feel unfaithful to Baum's text. The writing style is quite enjoyable as well.

The book is illustrated by three illustrators: the first by Patricio Carbahal, the second by Gabhor Utomo, and the last two by Teresa Jenellen. There's also some samples of John R. Neill's art and a table of contents picture by Howard Pyle. The artwork is great, though Gabhor Utomo's style reminded me a bit of Stephen Gammel's illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (Just, not as dark and creepy.)

Overall, I would find this a recommendable book, but I must warn that's it's only available in hardcover from Lulu. Paul happened to be able to offer a discount on the copies he had for sale at Winkies, but online, the price is $32.78.

Get The Law of Oz on Lulu.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, Jared! This is the first review of the print version and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! As for the errors I was worried about, they concern the attribution of illustrators on the title page. Teresa Jenellen did the beautiful b & w watercolors in Lost Boy and Mothers of Oz, while Gabhor Utomo did the line drawings for Law. Current online versions get it right.