Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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How quaint the ways of parrot-ox!

As I suspected, it didn't take me long at all to finish reading Edward Einhorn's The Living House of Oz. I was quite satisfied with the book. It had quite a bit of the same absurdist humor Einhorn displayed in his Paradox in Oz. Princess Ayala talks about Negato, a kingdom inhabited by minus one people. Old Wolliwag envies the youth of his twin brother, Young Wolliwag, who is actually only three minutes younger. Tempus himself even has a minor role. I do wish we could have seen Dr. Majestico again, but oh well. There are also a fair number of callbacks to earlier Oz books, including visits to Mount Phantastico, Reera the Red, and the former Flatheads. The reference to how no Mountaineer is allowed any more brains than any other sort of reminded me of that Kurt Vonnegut short story where people are forcibly handicapped so that everyone would be truly equal, but there's a humorous twist on it. (Incidentally, the end of Glinda of Oz mentioned that the Flatheads, after their heads were rounded out, took the name "Mountaineers." Their home was called Flathead Mountain, however, and there's no indication that it was changed. I guess it would be pretty redudant to call it "Mountaineer Mountain"!)

Buddy and Mordra were both interesting characters, with a clever back story. I also liked the Earl of Haberdashery, with his habit of coming up with ridiculously exaggerated answers to any question he's asked. The story was good, but I do have to wonder how all those Phanfasms could get into Oz so easily. I mean, if they could do that with no apparent trouble, why did they need to use the Nome King's tunnel back in The Emerald City of Oz?

Eric Shanower's illustrations for the book are excellent. He does a great job with the crazy Tonsorian hairstyles, the true form of the Phanfasms' city (something we didn't get to see in Emerald City, even though it was mentioned in the text), and the Living House itself. I also like how he's continued his trend of showing a series of related pictures on the pre-story pages, in this case Young Wolliwag with different food-based wigs. There is also a two-page spread of Oz characters, and identifying as many of them as possible was a fun exercise for me.
Tags: books, oz
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