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J.A. Beard is a restless soul married to an equally restless soul. His two children are too young yet to discuss whether or not they are restless souls. When he hasn’t been writing, studying history, or making excuses for not writing, he’s tried his hand at several careers including intelligence analysis, programming, and research science. Though he likes to declare himself the Pie Master, he’s yet to prove his worth in the brutal baking show-downs of Celebration, Florida.
on Sep. 26, 2012 :
When teenager, Gail Dorjie, from Kansas loses her parents, she is sent to a Seattle boarding school. There she meets characters akin to the familiar Wizard of Oz characters. These characters work together to stop an evil plan, thereby earning smarts, courage, heart, and a home.
The Emerald City is a creative YA paranormal fantasy that gives a refreshing look at a classic story. The characters act like believable teenagers, and it's interesting to watch their struggles. Even the touch of humor makes it an enjoyable read.
If you enjoy paranormal fantasies, then this is a good book to read.
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)
on June 21, 2012 :
This was such a refreshing book! Another YA novel that I’d recommend to those of us who aren’t too into them.
The book had everything:
a teenager who acted her age, was smart and kicked butt-not dumb enough to dismiss the strange ongoings in her school like most YA protagonists would have done.
characters that kept me interested throughout-Nick’s zombieness made him all the more fun and Lydia was cute.
the right beginning and a balanced ending-the book wasn’t too long either.
there were some spelling mistakes, yes.
the humor was done just right.
It was fun, witty and a quick read-I just couldn’t put the book down till I was done reading.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on April 22, 2012 :
I was enchanted by this novel, an inventive and entertaining re-imagining of the Oz story. J.A. Beard's style is lively and his dialogue is convincing. The mystery at the core of the book kept me reading, and it was easy to feel a connection to his insightful version of the Oz characters and their struggles. Obviously a labor of love, I recommend The Emerald City -- a splendid book for both children and adults.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)
on Feb. 21, 2012 :
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.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)