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Out of Oz

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Maguire, Gregory
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Dorothy is back in Oz. Elphaba's granddaughter Rain comes of age in this conclusion to The Wicked Years.
Gregory Maguire introduced his spin on the land of Oz in Wicked, which became a Broadway musical. The prequel ends with a variation on the adventures of Dorothy that are more familiar to everyone. I thought Son of a Witch was a better book as Liir became the protagonist. A Lion Among Men was a bit weaker as it strayed further from the original Oz and got deep into Maguire's darker version of the socio-political environment of Oz. This fourth book in the series is the best. Maguire's books are very much his own creation. The middle two books cover some twenty years in Oz and have very little to do with L. Frank Baum's original stories. I think this is the best simply because it makes the most references to characters and concepts from Baum's series, but even more so to the MGM movie musical and the 80's sequel Return to Oz, as well as self-referencing lyrics from the Broadway hit. Fans of everything Oz, like me, will likely appreciate these things. I really enjoyed the prologue, which takes place outside of Oz with Dorothy. I was hoping more of it would focus on Dorothy, but by the time Dorothy re-enters the tale, Rain, Elphaba's granddaughter had grown on me. There were some dull passages, but Maguire can also very cleverly twist our expectations for a thoroughly amusing narrative.
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Reviewer's Initials: BB

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