Monday, July 5, 2010

The Undead World of Oz, by L. Frank Baum and Ryan C. Thomas

The Undead World of Oz: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Complete with Zombies and MonstersIt is the tale of the Wizard of Oz, but with zombies.  Basically, Dorothy goes to Oz via cyclone, and her house kills the Wicked Witch of the East.  There is a plague set by one of the witches bringing all the dead creatures back to life.  Along with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, and Toto, Dorothy journeys to Oz, to see the Wizard, in the hopes that he will not only send her home, but end the plague that is destroying the land of Oz.

I was so sure I was going to love this book, since The Wizard of Oz is one of my childhood favorites, and, as we all know, I love horror, and have been a fan of the mashup genre for a while now.  Imagine my disappointment when I read this book, and found it with very few redeeming qualities.  It is pretty obvious to me that this book was hastily created in order to jump on the mashup bandwagon before someone else adapted this story.  The zombie aspect was not worked into the original story very well, and, call me crazy, but maybe kids' books are not the best mashup material.  I found it troubling, the accounts of Dorothy covered in munchkin zombie blood and guts, all the while toting a gun and being a killing machine.  The language throughout the book is not all congruent, at times it has the feel of the original work, and at other times, it uses modern vernacular.  It just was not at all copacetic.

I also saw a pretty large continuity error, in that, at the beginning of the book, the zombie plague is attributed to the Wicked Witch of the East, who lies under Dorothy's house, but mysteriously, and without explanation, the plague is later attributed to the Wicked Witch of the West, thus necessitating Dorothy's quest to find and kill her.  There were some other continuity errors, as well as some editing errors that I normally would not catch, but since the story was not holding my attention well, they jumped out at me.

It pains me to admit that I did not enjoy reading this book.  Faithful readers of my blog know I rarely give negative reviews, and always try to see the positive in a book.  My motto has always been I never met a book I did not like, but this book pushed my faith in that a little.

I am sure there are readers who will love this book.  Die hard zombie lit fans, or dyed in the wool mashup lovers will probably rave about this book, so to those among you who fall in these categories, by all means get this book.  However, I think this is the kind of shoddy work that is giving the mashup genre a bad reputation for being vapid and a passing fad.  I have seen this genre written very well, and unfortunately, now I have seen it written very poorly.