Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review: Magician Of Oz

James C. Wallace II recently sent me a copy of his book to review, Magician Of Oz, which is supposed to be the first of at least a 3-part series.

The story takes place in modern day where Jamie Diggs is the great-grandson of Oscar Diggs, the original Wizard of Oz. Jamie and his family lives in Indiana, and aside from knowing his great-grandpa was a famous magician, he had now idea of his life in the fairy realm. His family opens up an old trunk of Oscar's, which contains several old magician items. This sparks Jamie's want to become a magician himself, but the illusionist-type and not the actual wizard-type. He joins up with the Brotherhood of Magicians, and learns some of the tricks of the trade. Two of his prizes which belonged to his grandfather are a mystical coin and a somewhat enchanted pocket watch. Later on, while exploring the woods near his home, Jamie ends up being transported to Oz. He is then taken by Polychrome to the castle of Glinda, where he mmets the good witch along with Ozma and Dorothy. Ozma reveals that she had Jamie brought to Oz so that he could be Dorothy's friend, and while he's there he realizes that he can use actual magic if the right choice of words are used in a spell. However, like all Oz stories, there has to be a main antagonist, and this time around its the trees! Apparently they're still p.o.'ed about from when Tin Woodman used to chop them down. It's unknown if he was the only woodchopper in Oz, otherwise they'd be campaigning against every ax-men there. Headed up by the disgruntled Leader of the Sycamore and his Council of Trees, the collected flora of Oz head out to the Nick Chopper's castle, but Jamie is able to use a magic spell to make them forget their hatred. Granted, the idea of just taking away someone's anger with magic is a little too easy. It's like if someone killed your brother, but your anger would cause some kind of major political upheaval or inconvenience for someone in authority, that using magic to give the victim amnesia about it somehow justifies it. This is one of the few flaws I always had with the Oz stories is that Ozma was shown as being a just ruler who cared for her people, but if someone was try to bring up something like women's liberation or the use of free magic which might shake up the system, the "monarchy" only wanted to set things to a state of stability without really wondering why an underappreciated party(in this case, talking trees)might have a legitimate reason for their grievance. But anyway, Jamie eventually goes back home to Indiana despite how much he and Dorothy seemed to have clicked.

The book follows a good narrative, mainly more for younger readers, although I'd recommend adding some illustrations to it in future editions. Copies of this are available in paperback at Amazon and Lulu, and the second volume is due out this spring.

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