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The Emerald City (Osland Trilogy Book 1) by [Beard, J.A.]
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The Emerald City (Osland Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 741 KB
  • Print Length: 202 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: January 16, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00761LCTY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,191,292 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I liked this book a lot. It held my attention from the first line onwards. The play on Wizard of Oz is handled deftly and not heavy-handed with th "look at my in-joke" attitude I've seen elsewhere.

Most surprising to me is how well Mr. Beard portrays the first person voice for Gail. His understanding of the teenage psyche is excellent.

There are a couple of downsides, but nothing that would diminish a pleasurable read. One of my main pains in the a.. (I guess the Osland Academy's rule against cursing applies here) is a bit of muddle with the rift watchers' roles since they're referred to both by their first names, then by "Miss Lastname." Maybe my brain cells are firing at full capacity, but I hate having to stop and think who is who.

I got my copy at Smashwords and found a lot of strange errors (missing words or extra words that just didn't smell of typo). At first, I was aghast at the number of errors, but then caught on that the uploaded file to Smashwords might be corrupt. I queried the author about these errors and determined that a flawed file was at fault. The Kindle and B&N editions should be much cleaner and the author is making adjustments. If you got an earlier version with the strangeness, don't count it as a fault.

This is a series, and I'm definitely interested in reading the next book. Best of all, I can choose to continue the series or not. I abhor books in a series that leave a clifhanger of gigantic proportions in an attempt to force the reader to buy the next in a series. My answer is always no. Give me a fully realized story in each book in a series or you won't keep me as a reader. Mr. Beard has done very well in making me WANT to know what happens next, rather than trying to force me to find out.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed The Emerald City in part because it was fun to spot J.A. Beard's re-envisioning of Baum's Oz material in all the places that he slipped it in. However, mostly I enjoyed The Emerald City because I liked heroine Gail Dorjee and her friends Lydia, Leandra, and Nick. They have distinct, exciting, and fun voices, and they didn't really need magic powers to hold my interest. Gail is spunky, brave, and cool; Lydia is funny with her malapropisms; Leandra's fearfulness and hidden talents had me rooting for her every moment that she was on-stage; and Nick has a mixture of outward cool and buried intensity that reminds me of the best characters in anime. Gail has suffered the loss of her parents, but mixed in with her anger and guilt there is an admirable inner strength that makes her really heroic. Plus, she's a Tibetan-American from Kansas. What could possibly be more ironically interesting than that?

Yes, I'm a man in his forties, but yes, I did read the first Twilight book, and I felt a kind of smugness in that novel that was a turnoff. Where that book was smug and irritating, J.A. Beard's Emerald City is full of sincerity instead: the innocence and goodness are in the true spirit of Baum but fit nicely in the 21st century too. One would scarcely believe this book was the product of a man closer to my age than Gail's.

It's odd how as I get older and keep reading fantasy, I begin to find the plots beside the point, and care only about the characters. I had the same reaction when reading Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, or Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society. My feeling is: okay, this plot is acceptable, but the good moments are the kids talking to each other and dealing with their feelings.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The loose re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz, first piqued my interest in The Emerald City. Many years of watching the old black and white version of the old Wizard of Oz, I became fond of the cast and crew that drew very distinct lines between good and evil. And as a young girl this was comfortable for me, and snuggling with my Granny was the best, but as I grew older I wanted color, and parts of me challenged other things like ...challenging the old ideas of good and evil.

J.A. Beard does not disappoint. Right away, he does not open up with your typical Dorothy-type. Like Dorothy, Gail Dorjee (his main character) is away from home, but Gail is trying to escape the pain of losing her parents' death by retreating inside a shell of anger. Gail is very different. If a house fell on the Wicked Witch, Gail would take the Witch's red shoes and sell them on Ebay, not thinking twice about it. Right away, Gail had enough snarky to win my heart as an adult, just like Dorothy had enough compassion to win me as a kid.

The other characters are dripping with their own unique characteristics that differ from the original cast, but keep an original strand from the old OZ. Without giving too much away, Nick is my favorite Tin Man, absolutely worth the effort to try to find a heart for, and not get Gail's broken in the process. Other that great dialogue, characters, the plot is woven beautifully and it is a complex one broken down from basic physics. Physics yes, because, again, not giving too much away, there are forces at work that defy gravity.

Beard really had his thinking cap on when he wrote this, and forced me to put mine on, which is something that could sneak up on young adults in a fun surprising way. They might read this and find they just learned a thing, or two.
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