cover image Out of Oz

Out of Oz

Gregory Maguire. Morrow, $26.99 (576p) ISBN 978-0-06-054894-0

The final volume of Maguire’s Wicked Years series finds Oz torn by war, and Shell Thropp, Elphaba’s brother, as emperor. Munchkinland has seceded, and the Emerald City invades with the Ozian army to get it back. Glinda, former Throne Minister, is held under house arrest by General Cherrystone, who takes an interest in Rain, Glinda’s broom girl, teaching her to read. He doesn’t know that Rain is actually Liir’s daughter and Elphaba’s granddaughter, and the only one who can understand the infamous Grimmerie, supposedly a volume of magical lore, coveted by Oz. A troupe of traveling players arrive and secretly give the Grimmerie to Glinda, who distracts the soldiers long enough to send Rain off with Brrr (aka the Cowardly Lion). So begins a quest for Rain to discover her true identity and unravel the layers of political and personal secrets that have caused strife and division in Oz. Maguire’s take on the trouble-prone Dorothy Gale is refreshing, and his Oz far darker, sadder, harsher, more complex, and convoluted than Baum’s (which will make this hard to follow for readers unfamiliar with the series). The language and imagery are rich, and the sense of love, loss, and regret palpable. For fans, this will be a revealing and satisfying end to the layered tale begun in Wicked. (Nov.)