In an effort to shake sixteen-year-old Dorothy Gale’s continued assertions that Oz and the Emerald City are real, her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry take her on a trip to San Francisco. Dorothy’s well meaning relatives are concerned because her unshakable belief in Oz is rendering her unmarriageable but San Francisco proved a bad choice as they arrived just prior to the devastating 1906 earthquake. Things in Oz haven’t been going so well either, Munchkinland has ceded from Oz, Glinda’s residence is occupied by an invading army, Glinda is proving to be a weak leader and Dorothy is on trial for the death of two witches. If someone with backbone doesn’t step forward soon, all Oz will come unraveled.
Picking up the storyline shortly after the conclusion of A Lion Among Men, the last book in the Wicked Years starts out promising as Glinda tells of soldiers encamping upon her estate but then slows to a crawl. The tale then takes a slow, circuitous route through Oz before finally picking up the pace towards the conclusion that successfully ties up loose ends but then generates more so there is an ambiguous feel to it. The character development is flatter then one would expect this far into a series and the scattered plotlines fail to captivate and hold the readers interest. While better then the previous two titles, fans will likely feel shortchanged by this lukewarm offering.
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