The Oz books played a big part in my early childhood reading adventures. My sister would read them to me... and I have great memories from that because eventually we had many of the books memorised and we'd role play a lot. I hadn't read this particular book in a long time (I wouldn't be able to recite many lines today, perhaps only the famous ones) which was why I was so happy to discover that Gurglings of a Putrid Stream was starting a group read for it. This is my first group read, I hope that I am doing this right by just writing a review. I'm not sure if it should be more in-depth with spoilers and all or not. I guess I'll learn once everyone else has posted theirs! :P
I'm going to start off with why I gave it 4 1/2 instead of 5 stars. The writing is not the greatest in the world. There was much repetition and the last few chapters felt like the story was being dragged on a little too long just so that the Lion could have a place in the end. Yes, many events took place just to move the plot forward. I would have written in those last few chapters somewhere in the middle, had Dorothy's second command of the Winged Monkeys not fall flat for no reason (was there a reason besides having her wishing well dry up in time to meet Glinda?) and get carried to the ending faster.
Even with these faults, I only took off half a star because this book inspires and sets my imagination on fire. The descriptions are simple but effective. The colours, the creatures, the distinct personalities of every character... simply magnificent!
Now, I don't remember there being such violence in this book. It hasn't been that long since my last read either. I don't know if this means I really am getting old or what? I do remember some gory bits, like the Tin Woodman getting chopped to pieces but that's not really what I mean. There were just moments in which I shouted out to my husband my shock at what was going down. Spoilers ahead!
First there was this beauty...
"So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast's head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces."
What did I say to this? "He really DOESN'T have a heart!!" and my husband just raised his brows like I was mad. At this point I was going along believing that they each think they don't have what they want when they really do and then this curve ball comes out and knocks me over. I don't remember the story being so jumpy in its meaning.
ETA: The above quote also had a larger impact because I was thinking the cat might be the Lion. So I was already thinking friend and not foe... and then the slaughter! Poor kitty. :(
Then the Tin Woodman slaughters 40 wolves... beheading them and all sorts of violence until there is just a heap of dead bodies all around him! Then the slaughter of 40 crows by the Scarecrow, neck snapping chaos! When Dorothy wakes up she sees the carnage, is told of what happened, and then she sits down to breakfast! WHAT?!
Dorothy doesn't have respect for the dead. Yeah, yeah... the Wicked Witch is evil, but by the point of her death I was feeling sad for her (fear of the dark and fear of water) and Dorothy doesn't give a shit... she splashes water on the melted remains and then sweeps it out the door like that's the sensible thing to do.
There is also this:
"This gave the Lion a hint of the best way to attack the creature, and as he knew it was easier to fight it asleep than awake, he gave a great spring and landed directly upon the monster's back. Then, with one blow of his heavy paw, all armed with sharp claws, he knocked the spider's head from its body."
My notes simply say, "Mr. Lion, I am disappoint!!" lol
Which leads me to the funniest dialogue of all and where I will end this review. This made me laugh so hard that my sides ached. ^_^
"He is my dog, Toto," answered Dorothy.
"Is he made of tin, or stuffed?" asked the Lion.
"Neither. He's a--a--a meat dog," said the girl.
***Editing in some things at 4AM because I was trying to get to sleep but my mind kept screaming, "You ninny, you didn't even mention the title character!" Now that I'm at my keyboard I can't think of what to write about the good old Wizard of Oz besides without him, Dorothy wouldn't have had any of her journeys/quests.
I do feel bad for missing other key things. The green goggles. I kept thinking what an airhead Dorothy was not to realise what they were doing and then remembering that she's a small child. I also didn't cover the technology bits that gave this a steampunk feel (for instance, the Wicked Witch with her telescope eye) nor all the enchantments.
I didn't touch on theme either or the meaning I got out of the story. Team work/importance of friendship, overcoming self doubt and enduring during hard times (I felt this most when she's captured by the Wicked Witch). No place like home, duh! Even worse when you remember she's only a child.
I didn't cover the comparison I had planned with Harry Potter! Figment/dream, was any of it real? Of course it was!~
K.. no more excuses, I seem to be brimming with those lately. I hope this review at least made a few laugh. Revising a review that's already been published, I am ashamed!
*dramatic exit* ;)