The Emerald City by J.A. Beard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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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