I’m a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz. I’m old enough to remember CBS playing it annually; therefore, I watched it annually. I’m eager to see new tales set in Oz (though I’m generally let down), so the chance to review this book promised a fresh look. The blurb on the back of this book promises an insane Alice (in Wonderland) and Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) being tracked by something fantastically evil while they search for a tornado . . . they can use to escape Earth. It was exactly the kind of American Gods read I was looking for, so the question becomes this: Did the book live up to my own hype for it?
I found that Schnarr’s writing is a relatively fresh style. He doesn’t often show his writing roots in his own words. Schnarr’s story contains an excellent mix of the surreal. There are McDonald’s Happy Meals at the Mad Hater’s (not a typo) tea party. The White Rabbit is a drug pusher.
The story contains a great deal of frank (I hesitate using the word explicit) drug use and sexuality. The first chapter alone is saturated in it (the rest of the book cools off immensely). It isn’t on the level of Luke Davies’ Candy, but it is an adult read.
The two chief characters are both well-written. Alice is a heroin user going through a psychological episode while Dorothy, a Lesbian storm-chaser, tries to convince doctors she didn’t try killing herself. I’m biased, so I thought Dorothy was the better character of the two. Alice remains too extroverted, even her manipulations are brazen. Dorothy, with her stuffed Toto (she knows it’s stuffed), has manipulations and motivations I found much more satisfying.
The book contains minor typos (“the” instead of “they”). These are few and far between and always a case of an omitted word or another similar word being used instead of a helpful wrod that spell-check would catch. They didn’t overly distract.
While I’m usually disappointed with a childhood icon being used (poorly) in modern stories, Schnarr didn’t disappoint me. This tale becomes quite the page-turner (you guys know Dinosaur-I print out all my stuff) that leaves you rooting for the good guys. If you like the bending of familiar ideas (like in the before-mentioned American Gods), you’re going to like this book.