Picture an Oz straight out of pulp detective fiction, one featuring a trio of hilariously overcompensating heroes: the No Longer Cowardly Lion, the Too Much Heart Tin Man and the Brainy If Still Not Wise Scarecrow. Put them on the trail of a mystery so twisted and deep that they're in way over their heads before they've even set foot outside the Wizard's palace. Do this because that's what the Great and Powerful Oz, in his gloriously inscrutable wisdom, has done. He's sent gruff, foulmouthed Rory Mayne and his pals Stan Plumb and Haywood Fields out into the woods, wilds and cities of Oz in hopes his team of bored post-Dorothy sidekicks can unravel the truth behind hordes of giant carnivorous birds, secret factories building fake humans, hybridization experiments and much, much more. Oz as conceived by L. Frank Baum was probably always a strange place that wasn't as it seemed, but things have gotten much, much stranger in the wake of the demise of the villainous Wicked Witch of the West. Scary, funny, filled with surprises, this mystery will keep you fascinated...that is, if you're not too busy laughing. With affectionate nods to both Baum's immortal works and the timeless Steve Martin detective parody Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, this rollicking adventure is way, WAY over the rainbow.
Ding dang dong! Who comes up with this stuff? I am finding a great many brilliant stories out there that play off of something else, but amp up the story so that you get more fun out of the characters. I knew I was in for a treat as soon as the comparison to Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was made. I just need someone running through the book screaming, "I have your pa-yamas!" and I'd have lost my mind.
The brilliance here is in keeping the changes made at the end of Oz, but amplifying them just a touch. The scarecrow is like Sherlock Holmes who just had a stroke. He has information he can access, he just can't apply it properly. He might be able to confer with the flowers or consult with the rain, but figuring out what they told him would be asking a lot. The lion finally has some, as they say, Ca-jones, and that gets him into more trouble than before. I won't even go into the Tin man. Let's just say that he really FEELS things now. Alot.
This book reminds me of another great novel that took an old movie, fantasied it up, and reimagined a far better world. No, Not Pride, Predjudice, and Zombies. I'm talking the Malaise Falchion by Barret. We get a reworking of the Maltese Falcon in a fantasy setting. Same characters, but done so brilliantly you don't even recognize that it was spawned elsewhere. That's the same thing here. You know the characters, you recognize them, but then you really DON'T know them at all.
It doesn't hurt that the story takes you to new places, introduces some new characters, and is masterfully plotted. The story is fresh and even if you are a little too grown up for another trip to Oz you might find that things have changed enough to allow for a little ozzy styled goofiness into your life. The writing is rich and funny, you will undoubtedly laugh. I know I found myself grinning so hard that my cheeks hurt. My butt cheeks, because I clenched them when I laughed, and I laughed a lot. This is one of those books that could stand alone or continue on, and I for one would love to see some more of these ozmatic maniacs in action.
Mayne plays it cool as the narrator, he takes each character and makes them his own. He has great comedic timing, and knows how to crack off a joke while seeming to just be telling the listener what is going on. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
This series is shaping up quite nicely, and lots of room for growth. I can't wait to see what comes next!
If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I love this take on the Wizard of Oz story! The characters are edgy. No dull moments here!
If you could sum up The Oz Files in three words, what would they be?
zany, unexpected, and fun
What did you like best about this story?
The combination of the Oz characters with the rough and tumble detective genre. Too funny!
Which character – as performed by Rory Mayne – was your favorite?
The one he's named after, Rory Mayne
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes. I just about did, too
Any additional comments?
This book really rocked. Completely different than most books I've read, yet familiar because we all know the Oz characters. This book was a brilliant idea.