The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure (Steampunk OZ #1)
By S.D. Stuart; Narrated by Amanda C. Miller
Publisher: Ramblin’ Prose Publishing
Publication Date: November 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 7 hours, 17 minutes
Themes: / steampunk / prison / betrayal /
There is no yellow brick road here. No emerald city. No lollipop guild. This is the Australis Penal Colony, a continent sized prison referred to the world over as the Outcast Zone.
Built to contain the world’s most dangerous criminals, OZ ended up the dumping ground for everything polite society deemed undesirable.
From inside this place, a garbled message proves Dorothy’s father is still alive, trapped in a prison with only one way in and no way out. Into this place, 17-year-old Dorothy must go if she wants to find her father and keep the promise she made to her dying mother.
She thought she had spent the past seven years preparing to overcome anything that got in the way of fulfilling her promise, but the situation she finds herself is harder and more intense than anything she has experienced before as she drops right into the middle of a power struggle for control over all of OZ. If she has any hope of surviving long enough to find her father, she will need her mother’s guts, her father’s brains and the unexpected help from those discarded and forgotten.
Everyone she meets tells her the same thing. The only person who can help her is the one prisoner who deserves to be in a place like this and refers to himself by the name, Wizard.
The Wizard always asks for something in exchange for his help. Can Dorothy afford the terrible price he will demand?
The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure is a well-rounded story that is interesting the whole way through. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a steampunk take on The Wizard of Oz but Stuart manages to make clever nods toward different aspects of the classic when turning OZ into a massive steampunk prison. The steampunk aspects of the story are incorporated well and not over the top.
A lot of steampunk seems to go so over the top that it’s hard to follow what’s going on but that isn’t the case here. This is clearly a steampunk adventure that is not trying to be some kind of big budget movie. There are guns, swords, airships, combat, automatons, and borderline magical science all at work in this story. There is also a healthy amount of dueling, betraying, and double crossing in here too. One minor thing that I didn’t like as much (and is fairly common to steampunk) is the amount of betrayal- it was a little difficult to follow some characters’ motivations and betrayals at times because of all the double crossing going on.
Turning OZ into a prison worked out great. Since I know the story of OZ already, I kept linking pieces from this story to the classic and found that it actually works out well, even the lessons learned by the characters in the end. The story was interesting without dragging too much. The only parts that dragged for me were when some of the characters kept getting locked up in prison (it’s like a prison of prisons at times) and they sit around and talk or figure stuff out.
Amanda C. Miller does a great job as narrator for this novel. She does all the different voices and adds some good snark and attitude to Dorothy when she needs it. I never had trouble understanding her and could usually tell which character was speaking based on the voices she gave them.
Posted by Tom Schreck