This is now my third review of a Ron Glick book, and I have to say, I am a fan of him and his work. The one downside is he’s started three really addicting series, but so far there is only one book in each series (though I hear the second novel in The Godslayer Cycle will be out soon).
His latest novel, which came out earlier this year, is The Wizard in Wonderland, which nicely mashes up the characters from The Wizard of Oz with Alice in Wonderland. It’s definitely my favorite so far—probably because I love books that further develop classic characters, and I’m also in love with the characters from Wizard of Oz, ever since Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.
The story goes and forth from Dorothy and Alice’s perspective, and it’s interesting to see how each character copes with the other’s “magic world.” I think Ron has done a great job capturing the strangeness of Wonderland—the dialogue between the Mad Hatter and the Hare was hilarious, and spot on with how I remembered them from the Disney version. And he has fun with plays on words, to make clever but confusing conversations between Dorothy, who is not used to Wonderland-speak, and the rest of the characters in Wonderland.
Similarly, he captures the more somber, but also magical tone of Oz. There is danger, and twists on the original tale, that make the land as intriguing as Maguire’s version. Ron also shows multiple sides to all the characters. In this book, no one is exactly as they seem, and there are compelling motivations for all their actions.
As for the main characters, Dorothy is clearly grown up. She’s still sweet and a little naïve, but she can fend for herself and she’s used to being in strange circumstances. Alice, on the other hand, is a little more childlike. She accepts everything at face value, and seems to believe that the things that happen to her in Oz and Wonderland are not real, and therefore she cannot be harmed. It’s a cool dynamic, and I’m interested in seeing how it plays out in future books.
The story felt like it had an abrupt ending, but that may be partly because I’m used to reading epic length novels from Ron. I like that the characters are all being brought together, but it seemed more like a chapter cliffhanger than the end of a book.
On the other hand, Ron has deftly created the beginnings of an epic quest, one that will end with a climactic struggle for power. The players have been introduced, but it’s not quite clear yet who are the true villains. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next installment to see what happens next.
UPDATE: The author, Ron Glick, kindly gave me an explanation for why The Wizard in Wonderland has such an abrupt ending. It makes a lot of sense. Please see below.
Normally, I don’t like to respond to comments – I like them to speak for themselves and be honest reflections of people’s opinions. This being said, I think this comment deserves some background:
As the story summary says, this book was written in an effort to preserve the original stories written by Carroll and Baum. As I was writing this story, it became obvious to me that the story I had conceived (originally planned for one book) was much broader than I originally drafted, and to tell the story in one volume would have broken one of those precepts set by both authors. Specifically, both authors wrote what would have been considered – by today’s standards – novellas. And if I continued the story in one volume, I would have created an epic fantasy novel, not the high fantasy novellas that the original creators envisioned.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was 86 pages; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was 138 pages. By contrast, The Wizard In Wonderland is 190 pages. My story ends abruptly because I had to find a point to end the story while still resolving the principle storyline – which was to find the Wizard. But once accomplished, as any reader of the book can attest, the story goes on as secrets are discovered and new insights are gained by the characters. The heroes must rescue both Oz and Wonderland, and by page 190, that quest was not even close to resolution.
And so I was left with a choice – continue on and write an epic fantasy (as one can see from my other novels is my normal style); go back and abbreviate the story I had written; or reach a point where I could break it off and preserve the tradition set by both Baum and Carroll. I felt the first would not preserve the legacy of the original creators, and that the second was not an option because it would have created a rushed and (to me) poorly delivered story. So I elected for the third option – preserve the story and deliver it in a fashion consistent with the original authors’ presentation. True, none of the original books end as abruptly as mine did, but to continue on, in my humble opinion, would have been the greater error.
So to anyone who was not satisfied with the delivery I chose, I am sorry. But I still feel justified in the choice I made. And I hope this explanation will at least to some small degree offer a salve for anyone who wishes for a one-book read. I guess the one thing I don’t do well with any of my stories is to tell something in one volume. But rest assured – Oz-Wonderland will resolve and I hope that if you will continue with me on the rest of the journey, that you will ultimately be satisfied with the final work.