I finally finished Out of Oz, man it took a long time. For no good reason
necessarily, but well, there we are. These are my thoughts.
This is the last book in the Wicked Years tetralogy. It concludes the
story of the Oz that Gregory Maguire has written. The books are obviously based
on the story of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and they feature some of the characters
from Baum’s books. In this book Rain, the daughter of Liir, granddaughter of
Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West), is sort of the focus. A lot of other
stuff is going on, but Rain is the main thing. The country of Oz is in the
verge of war with Munchkinland, Dorothy Gale is back, and Glinda is under house
arrest. Liir and Candle are looking for their daughter and Rain is just trying
to cope with being Rain.
I’ve always loved how dark and honest Maguire’s Wicked books are.
Because they are based on children’s books, and while I haven’t read them I
assume there’s less violence and sex in them. His world building is pretty
strong, the intrigue and the war and the creepiness. In Oz there are Animals
that can talk and the books deal with how they interact with humans, and
there’s a sort of class war where Animals are seen as inferior and they’re used
and they don’t really have any agency to fight back. I found it really
interesting, to see how they interacted, and how humans insist on subjugating
anything they can think of.
Something else I found interesting is how he depicts power, because wow.
So in this book Shell Thropp is Throne Minister of Oz. Shell is the brother of
the Wicked Witches of East and West, and the uncle of Liir. And Throne Minister
is basically a King/Prime Minister. He’s gone sort of loopy with power, and is
referred to as His Sacredness. So that’s not weird at all. He just starts this
weird war for no good reason. He is completely corrupted by power, and it has
sort of pushed him into madness, and it’s a bit sad that a whole generation of
Thropps meet such sad fates, apparently, because there is a plot twist, that,
wow. No spoilers, be good.
I like how Rain grows without becoming completely different. She starts
off as this very closed off, lonely kid. She has been sort of abandoned. She
doesn’t really connect very well with other people, people she is related to,
or other people for that matter. And when she meets her parents she seems to,
rightfully, resent them, and she doesn’t know if she can forgive them. And
while she grows and she learns to cope with how she grew up, she learns to
connect and love, and I loved that. And when her heartbreak comes along it
hurts so much more. It feels like she’s lost a lot, and gained a lot, and then
someone punches her in the stomach and laughs at her. Metaphorically.
I loved the ending, and hated it. It’s open ended, and there’s a lot of
stuff that doesn’t wrap up, which I sort of like, I like that there are things
you don’t know. On the other hand I always want to know exactly what happened.
Because you know, where do they end up? So while I like that I can imagine
things, I also want to know what Gregory Maguire thought happened to his
characters, or Baum’s characters. I really want to know what happened to
Dorothy. Because oh my GOD! I want to know what the plot twist means, the plot
twist that I desperately want to talk about, but I need to know! Also I can’t
find Gregory Maguire on the Internets so I can’t hound him. Probably for the
best, let’s be honest.
I like how honest the book feels and how they all have flaws and
humanity, and it makes them more complex and interesting, and… real, I guess.
For instance Liir, he was completely neglected by Elphaba, she just seemed to
see him as an afterthought. And he then went through a lot of crappiness, and
he is injured and alone, and basically raped by Candle. And he feels like he
can’t properly protect his child unless he changes her and gives her away, and
it breaks his heart. And the fact that he wants to give up, because suddenly it
is just too much. I don’t know, it just felt really human and believable and I
love Maguire for making sort of “real” characters even though it’s set in a
fairy tale world. Because he has been through so much, so why would he keep
fighting? How would he have the strength? It seems like he would crumble at
some point. And it feels like Candle was too hard on him, but I also completely
get her position. Although she also runs away so what right has she to judge?
Yes, I am judge-y. I want to discuss this with someone. Someone I can talk
about the plot twist with, please. It is driving me crazy.
I love Dorothy. She is just amazing. She is so ditzy and weird and
sweet, and she tries so hard to be helpful. She’s also trying very hard to
become “normal.” Like the kids in the Narnia books she has become a bit
obsessed with this world she was in and she can’t let it go and she can’t see
the world she has been sent back to, as the world it is. She can’t make herself
sort of appreciate it I guess, because how could it compare to Oz? She becomes
a bit disillusioned with Oz when she comes back and is on trial for murder, and
she actually wants to go home to find her aunt and uncle and be home. It’s a
bit like she’s grown up essentially, like she’s Susan in the Narnia books. I
have a gripe about Susan, but let’s not get into that. Anyway, Dorothy is so
sweet, and weird and I love her.
I don’t know that this is a review, so much as my own descent into
madness. This is how I am.
I really liked it. I thought it was an amazing conclusion to the story.
I thought it was beautiful, there’s so much I love, that I haven’t mentioned,
but this would go on forever. I loved it.