Any story where well-known and beloved literary worlds collide is bound to attract the attention of any avid reader. What reader wouldn’t want to read about famous characters from literature interacting with one another? This is common among writers who wish to create their own stories based on their favorite stories, fan fictions formulating in the process. Fan fictions are limited to their publication by only being available to read on specific websites. However, there are a few stories that are able to make it past the fan fiction stage to actual published book form. One such story being Jeyna Grace’s The Battle for Oz where two incredibly popular classic heroines team up to save an incredibly popular fictional land.
A queen banished from her own kingdom refuses to relinquish her royal title. Since she cannot rule her own kingdom, she travels to another world where she discovers a city made entirely of emerald. Oz is not unlike her world and it is easy for her to make the decision of claiming Oz as her own. With the magic taken from its citizens, the citizens of Oz seek the help of the one who saved them from the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy is unfamiliar with this new threat and knows she cannot end this new queen’s reign alone. She soon learns of another who can help her, a woman by the name of Alice who faced this same queen a long time ago.
Combining the worlds of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a clever idea. Two young girls who were looking for something new and, literally, fell into worlds unlike any they had ever known before most certainly share something in common. Both Baum’s and Carroll’s stories appeal to a wide audience, though younger readers seem to make up most of that audience. The Battle for Oz is categorized in the young adult genre and many young adult readers will more than likely enjoy it; however, older readers may not enjoy it as much.
Grace is a talented writer and she most certainly knows how to tell a fun story, but The Battle for Oz seemed a bit too rushed. What would have benefited more by being a 400 or 500 page book or a series was all crammed within roughly about 160 pages. There were so many parts of the story that could have been expanded upon and more characters that could have made more of a cameo. Characters such as the Hatter and the Tin Man were briefly mentioned, but did not play as large of a role, while other characters such as the White Rabbit and the Wizard of Oz (Oscar Zoroaster) never made an appearance.
What would have really worked would be if Grace had given a book to each of the stories it follows (one story for Dorothy in Oz and one story for Alice in Wonderland) and then a final story for the battle for Oz. Or even one book with half of the book setting up Dorothy and the other half that focuses on Alice. Granted, it appears Grace plans to turn her story into a series, her sequel already in its drafting stage, so readers will hopefully be able to read and experience more of Dorothy and Alice’s adventures soon. Though it was a shorter story than it deserved to be, Grace did an excellent job at portraying Dorothy and Alice. Both heroines act differently than readers, even viewers, are used to, but both girls are also older, at the age between adolescence and adulthood.
The title and synopsis of The Battle for Oz are enough to make any avid reader or fan of literary classics want to pick it up to read. For the young adult genre, Grace’s story will most certainly appeal to its intended audience with its quick and entertaining execution. For older readers, the appeal may not be as strong and may more than likely leave them wanting more. With its lack of descriptive detail, it reads like a fan fiction, making it enjoyable for fans of the characters’ original stories, and would have benefited more if it had been longer in page count or had been spread out among a number of books. Even though Grace could have added so much more into her story, she did do an excellent job at hinting at all literary worlds being connected to one another. This is a great way to encourage young readers to keep reading and to broaden their reading horizons.