Challenge 40 ~ “A novella from your favourite genre.”
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I haven’t really read a novella before, so I was looking forward to this challenge. It turns out there were quite a few novellas already on my to-be-read list. My challenge? Finding one in the catalogue of any local library. I’ve never really been able to pinpoint a favourite genre, which should’ve made it easier, but I went through a whole heap of potential titles before finding one that was stocked by a library nearby – No Place Like Oz. I can’t say it was strictly on my to-be-read list, but I certainly love musicals, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of the Emerald City every now and then?
The plot of No Place Like Oz wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the blurb, but it was (on the whole) enjoyable nevertheless. Paige succeeded particularly in capturing the fantasy atmosphere and magical elements that made Oz Oz, ensuring that the setting was just as awe-inspiring as in The Wizard of Oz. Humour was also a regular addition to the storyline, with many thought-provoking and laughable quotes throughout the story.
However, I found that the characterisation and plot in the novella was rather weak. Ozma’s character, for example, was rather an unpredictable wildcard that didn’t seem to follow through from one chapter to the next. It made me wonder whether, despite being a prequel #0.1, it was assumed the reader had already read Dorothy Must Die (Paige’s sequel to The Wizard of Oz.) Having had the chance to reflect, I can see where said novel is likely to go following No Place Like Oz, although there was a greater potential from the plot mid-way through the novella than towards the end. In my eyes the conclusion felt a little rushed and almost false in a way – (did Paige do this to set up a dramatic twist at the start of Dorothy Must Die?) It’s a question I can’t yet answer, and I’m not sure if I really want to read the next book…
No Place Like Oz is certainly not a nosedive, but it’s not the cherry on top of the land of Oz, either. Paige has the writing down to a tee, perfectly recreating Baum’s world and adding a little humour for the young adult audience. However, with some weak characterisation and a deteriorating plotline, the novella becomes harder to read as you progress, despite being a short work of fiction. There are some laughs to be had, but I can’t say it surpasses Wicked as a Wizard of Oz spin-off!
Recommended for fans of:
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper
- Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom