Cover Image: Oscar Diggs, The Wizard of Oz

Oscar Diggs, The Wizard of Oz

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Member Reviews

Oscar Diggs is a hustler, a carny who dupes people in New York City with the help of his best friend and shill Chang Wang Woe. When they get pulled into the Union Army during the American Civil War it's somehow inevitable that his previous experience with hot air balloons means he ends up in charge of the surveillance balloon efforts on the battlefield. Until he's swept away to, you guessed it, The Land of Oz. Now what?

There are a lot of fun ideas in "Oscar Diggs, The Wizard of Oz", but I have to be candid; I gave up about 60% through the title. The book's strongest before they head to Oz because once we shift, author Blanke is so busy trying to invent strange and new myths and stories that it ends up a rather numbing experience. It feels way too long and ultimately I just got to the point where I asked myself "am I still enjoying this?" Your experience may vary quite a bit, but I bailed on this title after having enjoyed the first portion quite a bit. So it goes.
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While this book is really great, its too long. There should have been some heavy edits done for a second book. There almost 400 pages of extras that have been the start to a second book. 
I loved that it was a prequel style. I loved the extra world building, and backstories. I just think it needed to be edited more. I also don't think that editing should have been tossed, but made into a second book. This had that potential. 

(I will be posting on my good reads, and tik tok)
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I found this book quite an interesting read, I liked that it gave a back story to the wizard od oz however I felt like there was a lot of detail in the book that didnt need to be there and didnt really add anything.
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A good idea - the origin of the Wizard - but spoiled by trivial side-details and an immaturity in the comedic side of the writing. I think kids would probably enjoy it, but it's not adult fare.
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Oscar Diggs and Chang Wang Woe met while performing in a traveling circus. Chang, 20ish, was a tall, rail thin contortionist. Oscar, in his sixties, was a short rotund con man schooled in prestidigitation (sleight of hand) by a retiring stage magician. In the year 1864, Oscar and Chang were playing their con game, Three Card Monte, on the streets of New York. Chang was the brains behind the con. "Less than satisfied customers headed their way carrying pick-axes or clubs." "Ambulate more rapidly, Oscar...".

Run they did into a large storefront. "Welcome, men...Here to enlist?...The hand saluting the two men held a huge ham sandwich...Mister Lincoln's draft law...power over any able-bodied man who walks through [this] door...Welcome to the Union Army." Diggs, becoming chief balloonist, with assistance from Chang, would ascend one hundred feet into the air as part of the Union Army Balloon Corp's information gathering. Going up in a thundercloud was unsafe, however, the order was to ascend rain or shine. "Booms from cannon fire and thunderous crashes from Mother Nature...the white, hydrogen powered balloon with the moniker "OZ" vanished. Where were Diggs and Chang? A beautiful red countryside emerged filled with short people strictly red garbed. "Are you coming to liberate us?...Rejoice, a wizard has arrived."

With a wave of her wand, Glinda, the Good, changed ten mice who scurried over the floor of the balloon basket into miniature, reddish piglets. Diggs was now outfitted in white, matching the royal emblem of the white OZ on his "flying conveyance". Glinda imparted words of warning, "Watch out for the Great Chasm Dragon...". Running out of hydrogen and hoping to convert to safer hot air, Diggs and Chang needed to cross the ravine ruled by the Great Chasm Dragon. Tragedy strikes!

"Oscar Diggs, The Wizard of Oz", by Scott B. Blanke is a creative, original foray into the Wonderful World of Oz. The masterful pen of author Blanke paints beautiful visuals of four distinct countries and their people under the umbrella of Oz. Hungry? Grab a ripe lunch pail from a lunch box tree. Unopened, the ice cream will stay frozen, soup will stay steamy hot. Need a seer? Consult the non seeing slug. This fascinating, humorous, and unputdownable read envelops the reader in a journey to OZ. Highly recommended.

Thank you Black Rose Writing and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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