Out of Oz
Out of Oz book cover
|Series||The Wicked Years|
|Genre||Parallel novel, Fantasy|
|November 1, 2011|
Published in English
|November 1, 2011|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
|Preceded by||A Lion Among Men|
Out of Oz is the fourth and final novel in Gregory Maguire's The Wicked Years and was released on November 1, 2011. Out of Oz brings a conclusion to the narratives spread across The Wicked Years while providing a revisionist look at L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz incorporating elements from Baum's series as well as the 1939 film adaption of the original novel. This novel presents an Oz in the middle of a civil war plagued with depression and adult situations, from the perspective of Rain, the young granddaughter of Elphaba Thropp, Maguire's reimagining of The Wicked Witch of the West.
Many years after Dorothy's departure, Oz has fallen into war. The Emerald City is now under the rule of Shell Thropp, the younger brother of Elphaba, while Munchkinland has seceded from the rest of Oz's union and the strife continues as Oz falls into a drought and Munchkinland has the only large body of water. Glinda the Good's estate rests on the border of Munchkinland, and soon the manor is overrun with soldiers from Loyal Oz, preparing to attack Munchkinland with dragons. Munchkinland is also preparing to attack Loyal Oz, and is desperately seeking the Grimmerie, a large tome of spells capable of catastrophic results. The only person ever able to read the book was Elphaba, but it is believed that perhaps her lineage may possess the same talent. After the events of Son of a Witch, Elphaba's orphaned bastard son Liir places his infant daughter into Glinda's care, and enchants her skin color so it loses its green tint.
Rain grows up as an ignored servant girl, but when Glinda acquires the Grimmerie and the Emerald City soldiers begin to show interest in Rain, Glinda knows it's time to part with them both. Glinda leaves the book and the girl in the charge of a company of a traveling puppet show, called the Clock of the Time Dragon. Among this show's crew is Brr, the Cowardly Lion who is looking for redemption after his cowardly acts over the years. Brr reunites Rain with her parents, but the reunion is short when it's brought to his attention that Dorothy Gale has returned to Oz, and is being placed on trial for the Murder of Elphaba and her sister Nessarose. Knowing the Munchkins are after a scapegoat for the drought, Brr is certain Dorothy will hang and travels with his companions – a dwarf named Mr. Boss and his wife, a Munchkin named Little Daffy, to rescue Dorothy. Rain is placed in hiding at an academy for girls, but crosses paths and becomes enamored with a mysterious boy named Tip. Eventually, Rain's father, the Grimmerie and Tip are all apprehended seemingly by the leader of the Munckinland Revolt, and Rain is forced to take matters into her own hands.
Allusions and References
Allusions/references to other works
Out of Oz borrows heavily from the second Oz novel by Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz,where the Emerald City's power is overthrown by a General Jinjur and her all-female army accompanied by a witch named Mombi. Out of Oz's revolution is led by reimagined versions of those characters named General Junjuria and La Mombey. The Marvelous Land of Oz's protagonist, a boy named Tip is in actuality the enchanted Princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz. The Wicked Years has recounted the story of Ozma as a myth, generally it presented that Ozma herself was killed by the Wizard. However, in Out of Oz Rain comes face-to-face with Tip and falls in love with him. As in the original book, the spell keeping Ozma bound in Tip's form is broken, and Rain is forced to acknowledge that she's lost her love to the throne of Oz. Dorothy's return was also inspired by Baum's Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz in which Dorothy comes back to Oz in a San Franciscan earthquake. Characters from the Oz books such as Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Nome King, Princess Langwidere, Handy Mandy in Oz and Ojo the Lucky are also referenced throughout, making fleeting cameos. The novel also references songs from the musical, and the 1939 film, albeit somewhat covertly to avoid copyright infringement.
Literary significance and criticism
For the most part, reviews for Out of Oz were quite positive. Reviewers typically praised Maguire for wrapping up an epic series, Elizabeth Hand from the Washington Post wrote, "No summary could do justice to Maguire’s novel, which is hilarious, heart-wrenching and extremely poignant in its ending."  Brian Truitt from USA Today praised the series, though criticized it for its length, writing: "While it meanders at times, Out of Oz is a satisfying finish to the "Wicked Years" saga."
- 'Out of Oz'
- Hand, Elizabeth (31 October 2011). "Gregory Maguire’s ‘Out of Oz’ ends the great and powerful ‘Wicked Years’". the Washington Post. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Truitt, Brian. "‘Out of Oz’ gives ‘Wicked' series a proper send-off". USA Today. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- GregoryMaguire.com - the author's official website, which includes a discussion forum.
- William Morrow, the publisher's website.