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Ozma: 07/31/21

Ozma by Candace Robinson

Ozma by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell is the third book in the Faeries of Oz series. At the end of Crow (2020), Ozma was heading back to Mombi's to reunite with Jack, hoping he would accept her now that she wasn't Tip.

I've discussed the diverging timelines between the original books and this romance series at length. I won't here because Tip and Jack's story as told in The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) stands apart from the other original six in that Dorothy isn't part of the story and the entirety of the novel takes place in Oz.

Instead I'm more interested in a big plot hole Ozma fills from the original series. Namely why was Tip suddenly able to break free of his entrapment? Robinson and Duell suggest that Tip's curse is tied directly to the Silver Slippers. If they leave Oz, then the spell is broken. Now, there's more going on with the Slippers in this version but it's still an interesting idea that with a minimal bit of squinting would work for the original.

As this is clearly an alternate universe Oz as suggested by a fever dream Jack has, Jack here is a person — and not a "build your own boyfriend" as my husband thought he might be. The canon version makes two appearances: once in the dream and a second time due to black magic. Mostly, though, he's emotionally broken, pining for the boyfriend he believes is dead and then frustrated. He loves Ozma as much as ever but she is secretive, afraid that he won't accept her as she is now.

Fortunately Ozma like the previous two volumes doesn't believe too much in the slow burn. There's about half a book of angst and hurt feelings before reconciliation. The second half is sexy-times, derring-do, and nightmare fuel that rivals some of the imagery from Ozma of Oz (1907).

Chart showing the relative placements of the three novels on the Road Narrative Spectrum

Like the previous volumes (and all the original Oz books I've reviewed so far), Ozma sits on the road narrative spectrum. Ozma and Jack are an established couple (33) traveling together to kill Mombi and the Wizard. Their destination is the wildlands (99), a horribly corrupted place off the main map of Oz. Their route is offroad (66).

There's a fourth book, Tik-Tok which releases November 10, 2021.

Five stars

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