5 of 5 Stars
Several years ago, I got wind of a Limited Edition release from Earthing Publications, called Bloodstained Oz. I've long been a fan of all things related to The Wizard of Oz and immediately set out on a quest to read this novella. Since the work was out of print I had to look on the secondary market and finally found a copy for $100 and plunked down the cash and got to read what would become one of my favorite novellas in the last ten years.
That same Limited Edition signed hardcover now goes for over $200, but if you have Kindle Unlimited you can read it for no additional charge or buy the e-book for $2.99.
It took a long time, six years to be exact, but Golden and Moore finally got around to writing the sequel called Bloodstained Wonderland, and I immediately bought one of the 500 Signed Harcovers available from Earthling Publications and as of the writing of this review there are still some copies available through the publisher.
It's 1940 and when the story begins we meet Gayle Franklin and her friend Elisa. The setting is London during what would come to me know as "The Blitz."
Th authors deftly tie what happens in this story to the events in Bloodstained Oz. The tale is both wondrous and magical, yet frightening. Christopher Golden and James A. Moore have taken another of our childhood memories and turned it into a bloody reign of terror orchestrated by the Wizard of Oz.
"She looked toward the shape of demons, each clothed in forms almost familiar, dressed in nightmares made flesh. A walrus galumphed into the room wearing a vest and a cravat. It sported a derby on its wrinkled brow and the great tusks jutting from the mouth were as bloodied as the unicorn's horn. Beyond that blubbery mass a dormouse pranced in, dressed in tattered finery. The oddly delicate paws held the stretched face of a woman. just the face which had been peeled from the skull."
Bloodstained Oz is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and is devilishly violent.
"Where it touched the crown of his head, little rivulets of scarlet had trickled down to streak his face and mat his hair. Around the inner rim of the hat were tiny claws or fangs that had punctured his forehead and scalp. Gayle stared, somehow even more hollow than before. The madness of these animals, of the flying cards, of all the rest had been nightmare enough, but this tophat was alive and it had tasted this man's blood."
Yes, Alice is in the story, but she's not the sweet, naive little girl from the Lewis Carroll story we all remember. All of your favorite characters make an appearance, but all through the warped minds of Golden and Moore.
I loved having these childhood memories ripped apart and reimaged and I think you'll like it, too. Go read the Kindle version of Bloodstained Oz first and then pick up one of the remaining Limited Edition copies of Bloodstained Wonderland and then prepare for Bloodstained Neverland. I just hope we don't have to wait six years this time.
About the authors...
Christopher Golden is the New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Ararat, Snowblind, Tin Men, and many many more. Golden co-created (with Mike Mignola) two cult favorite comic book series, Baltimore and Joe Golem: Occult Detective. Golden is also co-host of the podcasts Three Guys with Beards and Defenders Dialogue, and the founder of the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family.
James A. Moore is the author of over forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Blood Harvest, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.