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Month in review

Reviews
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions by Chloe Rhodes
Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase
Classified as Murder by Miranda James
The Clue at Black Creek Farm by Carolyn Keene
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
Giant Days: Extra Credit by John Allison
The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Ice Witch by Joel Ross
It All Comes Down to This by Karen English
Kraken by Wendy Williams
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh
Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames
Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City by Will Mabbitt and Ross Collins
Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
The Million by Karl Schroeder
Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
Paradox in Oz by Edward Einhorn and Eric Shanower
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Restart by Gordon Korman
Running With Lions by Julian Winters
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Weather or Not by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Miscellaneous
Cybils Update (October 16)
Cybils Update (October 23)
Cybils Update (October 30)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 15)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 22)
September 2018 Sources
September 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FFCC99: Orphan Uhoria Labyrinth
FFCC33: Orphan Uhoria Blue Highway: A comparison of The Sentinel and Three-Quarters Dead
FFCC00: Orphan Uhoria Interstate: The Polar Express, Waiting for Augusta, and Winterhouse
FF99FF: Orphan wildlands cornfield
Road Narrative Update for September 2018

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish



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The Wicked Will Rise: 10/12/18

The Wicked Will Rise

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige is the second of the Dorothy Must Die series. Having failed to kill Dorothy on her own, Amy Gumm is now recruited into the Revolutionary Order of Witches. Their goal is to take charge of Oz again.

Now this whole series hinges on the idea that the Oz before Dorothy is the best Oz. Utopia in the sense of an extremely good place, rather than utopia in the original use of the word — a no place. The Oz under Dorothy's rules is a dystopia — or a bad place.

At the start of the Oz series, the rulers of Oz were missing, leaving the balance of power shared between two "wicked" and two "good" witches and one "humbug" wizard in the centrally located city state, the "City of Emeralds" (which later was just referred to as the Emerald City).

By the end of the second book, Oz was under the rule of the reinstated royal family, in the form of a daughter, Ozma. The "wicked" witches were both dead and now under the watch of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman.

By the end of the sixth book, Dorothy and her aunt and uncle had immigrated to Oz at Ozma's invitation. Dorothy was made a Princess of Oz — implying a very close relationship with Ozma indeed. Through book eleven, The Lost Princess of Oz there was no sign of a rift between Dorothy and Ozma, nor any sign of Dorothy vying for more power or using magic beyond the few magical items she used with Ozma's permission and supervision. Finally, if anything, Oz is shown to have risen to a utopia through Ozma's rule.

The other thing Paige's series hinges on is the return of Ozma's male self. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, most of the novel takes place from the point of view of a pre-pubescent boy named Tip who manages to escape from his captor, Mombi. It's later revealed that he is really Ozma, having been transformed into a boy to hide his existence.

But... later in the series, Ozma related that her father and her grandfather were also kept prisoners of Mombi and didn't manage to escape. As Mombi is never maternal towards Tip nor is the word mother ever uttered as part of her character, I suggest that Ozma and her father are transgender. It could even be (to explain the presence of the father the Wizard spoke to in the Emerald City, and the father captured by Mombi) that Ozma has two father — one of whom was capable of having children.

Instead of addressing any of these inconsistencies, Paige decides to just make all the "good" characters bad and make the "wicked" characters the heroes. She also decides that Ozma's male past is a separate entity who wants to live his life and is therefore breaking out whenever Ozma's concentration is down. To keep this fact a secret from fans who might have read the original series, he's going by a new name, Pete.

All these inconsistencies aside, the thing that bothers me most about Paige's Oz is how magic works. She describes it as something that's derived from the land (a rather Arthurian approach) and something that is controlled through mental acuity. Oz magic in Baum and Thompson's books doesn't work that way. Witches are witches because they own magical items and know how to use them. They also know how to brew magical recipes but even these recipes require magical words to work. Since it's the items that are magical that work with magical words, anyone in possession of the magical item can make it work if they know the correct words. Even then, some magical items have limits — for instance the crown that the Wicked Witch of the West used to control the Winged Monkeys; it only had three uses before being useless for a person.

So Paige's Oz isn't Baum and Thompson's Oz. It may be populated with people who share names and traits of their Oz but it is at best, a parallel Oz.

In terms of the road narrative project, this second book is a FF6666, or an orphan returning home via an off-road route. The book ends on a whopper of a cliffhanger that unites Oz with Kansas. More on that in my discussion of book three, Yellow Brick War.

Three stars

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