New to The Bandwagon, Barry McGough reviews Off To See The Wizard by Clay Johnston.
Barry is an avid Rush fan and tattoo enthusiast new to reviewing but loves to read. He enjoys real ale and nights in the pub, and weekends in Looe in his caravan and walking with the wife and the Jack Russell. He has two children both grown up and is interested in trying to grow chillies.
When I first received the book and saw the title I thought ‘great, I love The Wizard of Oz’. But this is nothing like the story and film of my youth.
I started to read, and was quickly immersed in the story; the apocalyptic backdrop the bumbling idiot wizard and a host of other characters had me laughing from the outset. There was a mishap with a magical artefact, which leads to exploding people and eventually a Zombie apocalypse. Then a heroic quest and some other shenanigans. I was reminded of when I first started reading Terry Pratchett, and looked forward to getting more laughs.
The book is laid out in an interview narrative style which leaps from character to character. While initially this didn’t bother me and I enjoyed the story, it eventually got on my nerves, and the story became more difficult to follow. About halfway through, the author sadly became more coarse and the characters more base as the story went on.
In short, what started out as a promising read and was very funny ended up being a book I was relieved to finish. Great story idea and characters but not sustainable in the format it was laid out for the duration of the story. Fans of Pratchett and the fantasy genre may enjoy this book. I did initially, and I think the author is a clever story-teller and creator, but the book just didn’t flow well enough to make it a book I would read again.