But what if having a book meant life or death? What if it could change the outcome of an entire nation? Or what if, as in “Out of Oz” by Gregory Maguire, words in an ancient book could influence the future?
Lady Glinda was tired of war.
Word of Munchkinland’s invasion by Emerald City forces was bad enough, but when Loyal Oz troupes invaded her home and forced her to cut staff, well, that was the final insult. How could she ever run a proper house with a maid, a butler and a ragamuffin scullery girl?
Sir Brr supposed that it was safer to travel with the dwarf than alone, even though the dwarf was encumbered by the tumbledown wagon holding the Clock of the Time Dragon and that ratty book he called the Grimmerie. Nor, Brr’s human wife, also thought that staying together was prudent, especially since Brr had lived up to his Cowardly name and was now a fugitive Lion - and yet, Brr was brave enough to keep his vow to protect the grandchild of the Witch of the West, Elphaba Thropp.
Little Rain was a strange girl. Perhaps it was because she spent her childhood working, without parents to raise her right. Maybe it was because few paid her heed until the EC commander taught her to read. Down deep, Rain was a smart child and she learned fast – which was good, because there was much she needed to know.
Long ago, Munchkinland was rocked by that whole Dorothy thing, and though Dorothy had nothing to do with the clash between Loyal Oz and the Munchkins, people still talked about what happened. Surely, that girl knew her house was going to fall on Elphaba Thropp. Surely, Dorothy Gale was guilty of murder.
Surely, Dorothy would have a big surprise waiting when she accidentally, unhappily landed in Oz again.
If you’re a fan of this series, stop right here and go get the book. Go on. You won’t be sorry.
Sweeping, grand, fantastical, and a little long-winded, “Out of Oz” snatches readers from their comfortable chairs and plants them in a world where dragons pull boats, green otters swim through rivers of rice, and “a little bird told me” could be correct. This is a world at war, but author Gregory Maguire lends it a certain beauty with his words, as well as a bit of humor and definite wit. I enjoyed this satisfying end to the Wicked Years, though it will leave fans groaning for more.
If you’ve somehow missed the first three novels in this series, go back and get them because “Out of Oz” isn’t the place to start. For devotees of these books, though, this is a valuable one.
Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with two dogs and more than 9,500 books.