Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: Shadow Demon Of Oz

After Magician Of Oz, James Wallace II continues his trilogy of self-published Oz novels with Shadow Demon Of Oz. This once again deals with Jamie Diggs, Oscar Diggs' great-grandson, as he returns to Oz for a brand new adventure.

The story splits at first between Jamie's life in America, while at the same time in Oz as Dorothy encounters a strange new menace which has taken the soul away from a living boat she rides on to visit Scarecrow. The creature is called the Shadow Demon which just dropped in from a passing comet. It's really the disembodied spirit of the Wicked Witch of the East which had attached itself to this comet right after Dorothy's house smooshed her over a century ago. Jamie ends up coming to Oz via a transdimensional balloon ship piloted by Cap'n Bill, along with his friend Buddy who is in his magicians' club back in Indiana. Once in Oz, Jamie is made the official Royal Magician for Ozma, and proclaimed as Oz the Magnificent. He in turn presents Buddy to Ozma as a "gift of friendship", as Buddy has taken a serious shine to the Princess. Jamie is given control of the balloon as it used to belong to his predecessor, and head out on a trip to the Winkie River to investigate what happened to Dorothy's boat friend. After figuring out that some evil entity is loose in Oz, they head back to the Emerald City. The Shadow Demon reaches Mt. Munch, and begins to terrorize the Hyups who live there. James gets wind of this, and flies there with Buddy to confront it. After recieving a little help by Ozma teleporting Toto and Bungle to assist them, Jamie is able to defeat the Shadow Demon, mainly due to Bungle giving up one of his disposable nine lives. The spirits that the demon had consumed are set free, and the boat gets its life back. Jamie and Buddy are then sent from Mt. Munch back to Indiana by the magic balloon instead of to the Emerald City, but Jamie knows he'll return someday.

This book was in my opinion a better story than the original. The first one seemed to lack a some direction as far as what to do with the characters, as here they're given more motivation. Jamie wants to live up to his title, Buddy is glad to be along for the adventure but is trying to be worthy of being Ozma's friend, and Dorothy is given a lot more depth than normal with her concern for people(or boats)that she's just met. The story does take a little time to actually get the main characters all together, and it maybe puts more emphasis on Jamie's life in Indiana than was needed. But's a good follow-up, and the story continues in Family Of Oz.

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