Ok, I finally had a chance to read The Battle for Oz: Exitium. It begins with an unnamed queen voted into banishment by the people of her land. With her loyal guards beside her (or more likely behind her as she sees them as a means to an end, as a weapon, as protection but not as equals), she makes her home in an animal burrow and beings breeding her minions, the muttbits. With her army behind her and a magical artifact stolen from the archives, the queen summons a tornado that drops her into the magical land of Oz. Once there, she soon takes control of this land through imprisonment and fear prompting forces to search for the once-hero of Oz. But even she is no match alone for this evil presence and escapes to find the one person who has faced this evil before and succeeded.
This is only the first part of the novel and therefore doesn’t have a face-off between the good and the Big Bad, but it sets up a conflict and introduces a lot of the main players. The plot is an interesting take on these two stories and how they merge, but the style of writing is more of a tell than a show (and it has been pounded in my head through all my classes that you should show, not tell). However, the style is slightly reminiscent of old fairy tales in its simplicity of bringing out just the basics of what you need to know instead of including a lot of flowery details to round it out so if you like that style, you may enjoy this as well.
There are some places that could use a little more clarity on who is speaking or who is truly doing an action or being described since the Queen isn’t named until page 21 as the New Queen and page 89 (her former incarnation’s name). For example, on page 15: “There was still a protest from Glinda, but she stopped the moment Queen Ozma took the lead to the royal garden. She had a little smile as it thrilled her to know the old witch found her threatening.” The second sentence is supposed to be about the New Queen, but it’s hard to tell until you read it a couple times. Perhaps if she were named sooner or something similar it would be easier to follow when point of view or speaker changes.
The dialog was the best part since it felt real and natural. I could picture these characters that I’ve known all my life speaking like this so it was good to have some of the familiar in with a new twist on the old stories. And the illustrations were well-drawn and added to the reading experience. I was able to picture the muttbits in my head after reading their description, but the illustration added to it and also helped me better see the other characters to be able to picture them as well.
I do believe that this could be a great book with a little help from the publisher that goes with the crowdfunding, this could be the beginning of a good novel. In fact, go here and you could be a part of helping to fund this book. Hurry, there are only 8 days left 🙂