The first volume in The Oz Chronicles recalls both Stephen King’s The Stand and L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. When 13-year-old Osmond “Oz” Griffith wakes from an illness on the floor of his closet, he discovers the world overrun by man-eating monsters, the Takers, and it’s largely his fault. In an effort to make things right, he gathers a band of survivors (a baby, an aged mechanic and a talking gorilla, among others), and sets off down his version of the yellow brick road, leading to the Atlanta Zoo. Along the way, he learns that his destiny was written by Steve, a boy from his past. Afflicted with Down Syndrome, Steve created new worlds, replete with battles between good and evil, in the comic books that served as his sole refuge from the teasing of Oz and his friends. Steve’s untimely suicide leaves only the comic books as clues to vanquishing the Takers.
I decided to read this book because it popped up on my free list and the summary sounded intriguing. In case you don’t follow all my reviews I will tell you I’m a little addicted to the end of world battle stories. This book did not disappoint. This is a young adult story but the plot and characters are very well defined and it moves at a nice clip, so this book would enthrall young and old adults alike. I seriously did not want to put this book down. There is action and excitement, and some violence. It’s not the stomach turning gory violence though. I would let my son read this when he’s 12 or 13. The hero of the story, Oz, is so likeable and humble. Oz hasn’t always been a hero though. He’s done some not so nice things, and what’s happening to his world can be seen as a direct reaction to some of the things he’s done. His character does manage to bring the other characters together though and they all manage to mesh quite well. They go up against some pretty nasty characters called The Takers. The Takers is one of a series and throughout this, book one, the set up is there for the next book. Oz is out to save the world but it won’t be easy. I can not wait to see what happens next and if any of the other characters come back in the next books!
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