I’ve been making my way through several older novels that have been on my “to-read” list for what feels like years now. The book I decided to conquer next was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This classic novel was a trip and a half, discussing the fragility of human nature and groupthink in a pseudo-World War III situation. Apparently, this was a rewriting of another book, but written as a way to make the children more “realistic.” Reading this, I’ve noticed several things about myself. I am not the biggest fan of dystopian novels. If you do, you may want to take the next section with a grain of salt.
The book follows the exploit of a group of boys as they crash land on an inhabited island. The entire time, I felt I was yelling at the characters for their quick descent into madness. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a short novel or the fact that you had to imagine everything happening in a shorter amount of time than what really happened. I do find the concepts behind groupthink in a more academic sense. I found The Lucifer Effect fascinating because of every fact, but the senselessness got to me. I know that it was supposed to make a point in many ways, but maybe I just would like to believe that children are not as cruel as Golding made them out to be in this novel. I think, in many ways, I was more horrified than interested in the character development that we saw portrayed. Was I meant to feel this way, or did I read too much into everything? I’ll let you decide.
Last book, I said that it was a good stopping point for the series. After reading the seventh book, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, I completely stand by that. The opening book even included a stupid reason as to how our “Historian” was able to reach our friend Dorothy: telegraph waves that somehow got to Oz. I wish I was joking, but Baum is honestly lucky that these books are for children and that I’m already dedicated to reading all of these books.
New characters were introduced that really never went anywhere. They could have been interesting but the focus when back to Dorothy and Ozma. There was a fun adventure that was wrapped up way too quickly. It was your basic fetch quest mission trying to get items where getting one took half the book while everything else was lost. Also, I have the feeling that everyone decided to forget the all-powerful Glinda the Good. Everything could have been solved easily with less effort and travel.
In this book, we have journeyed back to Narnia in order to save the world yet again. We learn that the year spent on Earth for our four siblings equals hundreds, if not thousands of years, in Narnia. Supernatural world follows supernatural timelines. As you have probably seen from my reviews of the Oz series, I’m usually all for this. Except for this time, it was not worth it.
In this book, the characters spent the majority of the time sitting around and talking. Adventure is usually what these books shout out as their main appeal: explore this supernatural world. I was more than halfway through the book before the characters even traveled across the land. They listened to a story for a good amount of time. They argued about what direction they were going in when they finally did actually get moving. There was really nothing of substance happening in the story. It felt like that author was trying to either capture the magic of the previous book or do some really bad foreshadowing or the next book, but I’m leaning toward the former. I hope the next book is something worth reading.
I have read the sixth, and what probably should have been the final, book of the Oz series. Everything was wrapped up cleanly, and there really didn’t need to be anything more. The perfect thing happened: Uncle Henry and Aunt Em finally believe Dorothy and do not think she is telling stories or incapable of understanding reality, respectively. Also, having adults argue with chickens on chick-rearing was never something I ever expected to read.
Again, in the Oz fashion, we are on an exploration around the fairylands that Oz also inhabits and meet the many different creatures. This was more interesting than the previous book since we saw how these creatures interacted within the bigger narrative within the world rather than just showing up. Also, there is a bit of action that I can not tell without spoiling a large portion of the book, but it does help with the overall world-building. Overall, this was a cute book.
I have reached the final book of The Giver Quartet. And it must be my favorite of the entire series. Son is the book that truly combines all three previous stories together. We follow Claire, a Birthmother from the community. She has a different experience from many other people: she feels love, and the only thing she wants is her child.
My favorite part of this book is the comparing aspect as Claire goes to different communities. Previously, you would have to go based on your memory of previous books to do this. This is the first time we experience going through all of these communities through the protagonist’s eyes. Each community has different ideas of how life should be left, so it’s interesting to see how interactions change based on new information.
I am honestly happy that I read this series, just for this book. This was the perfect ending I could have imagined for this series. Everything truly came full circle.
My next foray into reading series that I should have gotten around to during my childhood is The Chronicles of Narnia. Now, Before reading this, I struggled in deciding in which order I should have read this series. After much deliberation and crying over making the wrong decision, I decided to read this series in publication order. You might be mad, but I do have my reasons for doing so at this time, which I may explain once I’m done. Because of that, the first book I’m reading is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
The first time I read this book was because the movie was coming out. I had an ongoing deal with my mother to read a book before watching the associated film. Then, I didn’t really get the book’s allegorical nature. Still, even rereading it, I would not have noticed had I not known beforehand. Sometimes allegory can be heavy-handed, but in this book, it’s really subtle. Aslan is an allegory for Jesus for those not in the know, and I’ll let you go from there.
From what I remember of the movie, it was pretty accurate the writing. There wasn’t an epic battle scene, though. Also, the girls weren’t allowed to fight because, according to Santa, women just ruin battle. Thanks, Santa; the misogyny was very much needed. (All the sarcasm implied.)
I have finally come up with the perfect archetype for who Dorothy Gale is. She is the type of child who will walk to an unmarked white van and ask for candy. I know this is supposed to be fiction, but you have to teach “Stranger Danger” at some point. Uncle Henry and Auntie Em need to lock her in her room.
I would say that this is the worst book of the series. It honestly feels that Baum only wrote this for the child fans. The last section of the book is literally just a list of the people who showed up at a birthday party. I felt myself going to sleep through my reading because nothing interesting happened. They would show up in a new country, get asked for an invitation to the party before continuing on their way. Also, Shaggy Man is such an imaginative name.
Here’s to the next book is something worth reading.
It’s rare that a book really makes me think. Especially a fictional. While this book may come across as woo-woo (if that’s even a word), but at the same time, it had a compelling statement. This story is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
All the religious talk aside, it is very much about fulfilling a personal philosophy that is much bigger than oneself. I believe this is something that everyone can get behind. It also got me right in the feels because there is some truth about what the book says. It sometimes feels like the world is against you, and there’s no point when you look at the rest of what is around you. This book really just convinces you to keep going for your dreams with a really compelling and beautiful story. My dad recommended this book years ago, but I never really got around to it. So I’m happy that I finally have.
After reading the fourth book, the wizard has a name, and his initials are, in fact, O.Z. It always confused me as to whether the country was named after him or named after the country. Nope, his parents obviously had big plans for him. Also, never understood why this book was called “…in Oz” when this book does not occur in Oz for the most part.
In fact, this book talks about a journey to try to get to Oz. Dorothy is on her way to visit Uncle Henry after being by herself for a while, because ten-year-old girls don’t need any kind of adult supervision, when she and her cousin, Zeb, fall into the center of the earth after an earthquake. This time, the two are trying to get to safety from the horror movie-esque characters we meet along the way, along with some friends that we are well aware of. To be honest not much happens, just some world-building of surrounding the country of Oz and some history, that would have been great to know a couple of books ago, but this book is short and sweet. The murder trial was also exciting.
After reading the third book in the series, Dorothy has a last name for herself. We should congratulate her. In this book, Dorothy is on an adventure to another magical place: Australia. I’m kidding, sort of. She traverses this new world with a chicken who doesn’t believe a single thing Dorothy says. I mean, I agree entirely with the talking chicken when she says there is no such thing as talking animals. It’s just ridiculous.
Anyway, in this book, we do get to see the new land of Ev. I think Baum had a thing about naming countries with only two letters. The magic is slightly different from Oz’s, but interesting nonetheless as we go on another adventure to find Dorothy a way home as we are joined with the return of other fun characters. I personally felt there were way more characters in the book than necessary, but that was the purpose of the quest, in a way. It was weird picturing all these characters interacting, especially toward the end. Overall I thought it was a good book. Just don’t see why the book was titled as it was.