The End of Oz: My Thoughts

If you want my opinions on the first three books in the Dorothy Must Die series, click here:

https://tjbauthor.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/dorothy-must-die-my-thoughts/

All caught up?  Okay then.  Let’s proceed on to book 4.

I have to say, book 4…  Was kind of a Letdown.

Part of me thinks it’s because this is where the series ends.  While young adult isn’t a demographic I regularly indulge in on purpose, I’ve actually been enjoying the books for the most part.  The fact this thrillride is over, and now I have nothing to look forward to every April is just kind of a downer.

It could also be that the eventual death of Dorothy that we’ve been waiting for since book 1 was kind of a lame-ass cop out.  I spent four books waiting for this bitch to get hers, and the series ends with the main character “taking the high road” on the death penalty like some sanctimonious, bleeding heart pro-lifer on their soapbox denouncing “the satanic institution of death row”.  Ugh, don’t even get me started: we’ll be here all night, and it’s already 3:00 in the morning as I write this.

All I know is rather than a satisfying final battle that leaves the antagonist dead, we get this bullshit morality ending, and Dorothy basically erases herself from existence using…  I don’t know, bailfire?  Does anybody outside the Wheel of Time fandom even know what I’m even referencing?  I waited three fucking years for this, you know.  I’m KIND OF satisfied The Noamb King got his…  Although The Noamb King was pretty one-dimensional by comparison .

It could also be that the FRIangle that has been a minor inconvenience since book 1 reaches its climax.  They finally boink in this book, and it gets pretty insufferable afterward.  Sue me, I wasn’t much of a hopeless romantic when I was their age.  Hell, I used to MST the shit out of this sort of lovey-dovey stuff.

It could also be that, in my humble opinion, chapter 23 was literally unnecessary.  You really could’ve ended the story on chapter 22, and it would’ve been less tedious.  Instead, we get this long, drawn-out, “where are they now” sort of ending that I was really wishing would just hurry up and be done with.

The End of Oz, like the books before it, is read by Devon Sorvari.  I forgot to mention it in the review of the first three books, but I honestly find listening to Sorvari to be the biggest ordeal of the series.  Even when the books are GOOD, I find her style to be slow and monotonous.  It hasn’t gotten better as the years have gone by, sad to say.  I’d like to think she’s giving it her all, and I can forgive a reader who’s a reader of about two or three voices tops, but I get the feeling Sorvari was getting paid by the hour the rate she was reading.

Hell, maybe I didn’t enjoy this one as much because I’m just not feeling the concept anymore.  It seriously took FOUR books to kill Dorothy, and they didn’t really KILL Dorothy so much as they clicked the delete button on her and undid everything she did as a result.  Did I mention that was very unsatisfying?  Because it is.

I probably shouldn’t be complaining too much in the longrun.  Shit, I’m a thirty-one-year-old man who has to self-publish all of HIS crap complaining about someone’s young adult series that managed to get for-real published.  Still, this book was actually kind of a letdown.  It’s the end of an era.  I just wish it didn’t have to go out with an apathetic shrug, mumbling “Whatever, it’s done.  I’m out of here.”

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A Series of Unfortunate Events: My Thoughts

Dearest reader,

I strongly urge you to ignore this post, for it is a commentary on a series of events most unfortunate. I strongly suggest abandoning whatever computer, tablet, cell phone, or napkin you are currently reading this on, and pursuing something far more pleasurable like cuddling with a favorite pet, or reading Donald Trump’s Twitter.  For what follows, second handed as it is, is truly unfortunate, tragic, miserable, and will overall ruin your entire week.

If you thought that paragraph was funny… Prepare for countless hours of the exact same thing in Netflix form.

I’ll be honest, I missed out on the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. They started in 1999, but frankly, if it wasn’t Douglas Addams, Animorphs, or an anthology of Dave Barry colums, I wasn’t interested. Not to mention the series apparently went on FOR FUCKING EVER! As much as I loved Wheel of Time at one point, even I couldn’t see my way past book 8 for that very reason.

I saw the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie when it came out in 2004. A lot of people gave it shit even then… And it’s not difficult to see why. Jim Carrey made a passible Count Olaf, but let’s face it, the dude’s career had been going down the toilet since that remake of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Add on the fact he was also in The Number 23: a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream made by Joel Schumacher: murderer of careers, and yeah, it’s not hard to see why people didn’t like him.

Also, the movie squashed the first three books into one movie. Never a good idea. Seriously, I think they did that with The Dark is Rising movie, and whew boy, you want to talk about a movie that had me running out of the theater screaming “BETRAYAL!!!”…

Although with all that being said, I actually didn’t hate the movie. Maybe it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. Made me laugh. Which by Lemony Snicket’s standards probably makes me a horrible human being, but whatever. I embraced the backward dark a long-ass time ago, and there’s no looking back now.
At least a decade and a half later, though, we now have Netflix: the greatest thing to happen to television since they started allowing people to say the S-word after 8:00 PM. The only real downside is living on Netflix usually means being a season behind everybody watching in real time. Also, no Game of Thrones, but seeing as how GRRM is holding The Winds of Winter hostage and can’t be bothered to write a list of demands, it’s not so bad.

And now, in 2017, we have an A Series of Unfortunate Events series on Netflix. I’ll own up to have not yet finished the series as of this writing. Frankly, the show all but encourages me to stop fucking watching it every other scene, so can you really blame me for needing a break every now and then?  I love Lemony Snicket’s tactics of getting you to read the book. It’s kind of like Cartman Land’s “You can’t come” approach to advertising in reverse. The Cartman land approach is as follows: “This is the single greatest theme park in the history of the world! The food is great! The rides are awesome! It’s tons of fun! And you can’t come! Haha haha ha ha, nehneh nehneh neh neh!” The Lemony Snicket approach, meanwhile, is more like this: “You don’t want to read this book. It’s horrible. Oh the horrible things in this book are so bad, I can’t even describe them to you without coming off as a horrible person. Here, I’ll even tell you what happens later on in the book in the first chapter! That way, it’s not quite as bad. But it’s still pretty bad. Just sayin’.”

The only real complaint I had at first was Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. I don’t know, I guess I was too used to Jude Law ? All I know is when I thought narrator for A Series of Unfortunate Events, Brock fucking Sampson wasn’t exactly MY first pick. As the series progresses, though, you get used to it. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show, though. In fact, he steals the show, the spotlight, the director’s chair, the producer’s coffee cup (regardless of whether or not it even has coffee in it), the catering, the golden globes in the closet they haven’t handed out yet, AND your wallet.   That’s right, bitch: Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf just stole your fucking wallet, and you won’t even care because it’s absolutely perfect!

I know it’s an endurance test, and you will feel horrible, but I’m actually going to recommend you check it out. Even if it means Snicket spends the rest of eternity giving me that dirty look.

Dorothy Must Die: My Thoughts

As someone who finds it harder and harder to admit to others I’m a Kansan (fucking Brownback), let me be the first to say that I fucking hate The Wizard of Oz with the passion of a million burning suns.  You go to a Kansas themed store, you’re going to find three things: Royals gear, barbecue sauce, and fucking Wizard of Oz murch.

I never really saw what the big deal was with Wizard of Oz in the first place.  Yeah, it was an innovation in film, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s good.  If nothing else, it doesn’t mean I have to forfeit my right to an opinion and automatically say it’s great.  Maybe it’s because I’ve watched it to death as a kid, or maybe it’s just because I’m not much of a film buff.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I belong to a very large crowd of Kansans who are sick and tired of hearing all the tornado jokes, Toto jokes, and the popular “you ain’t in Kansas no more!” from every god damn smart-ass guido New York has to offer.  It’s all just speculation, but at the same time, I just don’t see what the big deal is.

Oh sure, I guess you can bring up the Technicolor argument, and the fact it had one of the biggest actresses at the time in the lead.  You might even point out that the books were better.  I haven’t read the books, but honestly, I just don’t have any motivation to.  Bottom line: I’m just not a fan.

In fact, when I saw the first Dorothy Must Die book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, I had to see what that was about.  Of course, I had to get it off Audible.com if I wanted to read it, but the important thing is that I read it.  a year and a half later, I just finished book 3 in the series, and now I’m impatiently waiting to see what happens next.

Honestly, I neither love nor hate the “young adult” genre.  I’m tempted to punch people who refer to it as “YA”(either sounding out the letters, or pronouncing it phoenetically), but the…  Genre?  Demographic?  Whatever you want to call it, there are good stories here.  There’s also really, really, REALLY bad ones (I’m looking at you, United States of Asgard), but that’s really just the way of the world.  I guess at absolute worst, I’m still stuck in the olden days when we used to call them teenagers, and didn’t give a rat’s ass what they had to say about anything because it was mostly unimportant bullshit that centered around the aquarium that is high school.  You don’t believe me?  Go to Livejournal, and click random over and over again.  Wait, livejournal’s still a thing, right?

Yeah, the Dorothy Must Die books are young adult.  And yeah, there’s romance between the main character and a male.  Painfully awkward, unappealing romance that borders on a possible FRIangle (FRIangle = forced romantic interest angle).  However, compared to a lot of books in the genre demographic thing Audible.com recommended to me and I ended up hating, it’s somewhere between barely unnoticeable and understandable.

If nothing else, the setting, the story, and really, the concept of Dorothy becoming a tyrannical dictator is what holds my attention the most.  Danielle Paige has taken The Wizard of Oz, and turned it into a delightful Game of Thrones esque bloodbath.  Except thankfully, nobody’s fucking their sister in this one.  She is kind of a pain with all these cliffhanger endings, though, which is definitely something she and GRRM have in common.

Out of the three books, Rise of the Wicked (book 2) is my favorite so far.  Book 1 had its tedious bits here and there, but it managed to hold my attention from start to finish.  Book 3 was almost better than book 2, but then you got to the last three or four chapters, and I couldn’t help but feel like this could’ve been a chapter or two shorter.  Book 2, however, is pretty much perfect.

It’s very clear the author is either a fan of the old Wizard of Oz books, or she’s at least familiar enough with the source material.  Hell, she probably looked it all up on Wikipedia for all I know and care.  Just when you think she’s only focusing on the old movie, and maybe OZ the Great and Powerful (don’t even get me started), references so obscure that I’m surprised I even know them pop up.  I’m talking things like The Gnoamb King, and the silver shoes being completely different from the ruby ones.

I can’t say I appreciate all the little jabs at Kansas thrown in to all the books, but like I said, Kansas is making it real hard for me to be proud of being from here anymore.  This must be what it’s like for Canadians whenever they watch South Park.  I don’t know.

All I know for sure is I really enjoy this book series, and I’m eagerly waiting to see what sort of mayhem comes next in book 4.