This is a premiere, the first time I review an audiobook, so I am going to do it in two parts, part one is about the story and one is about the narration.
The book in question is, rather obviously The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure, by S.D. Stuart and Steve DeWinter, the narrator is Amanda C. Miller.
The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure is set in an alternative Victorian Earth in which OZ (or Australia) is still a penal colony. OZ is actually short for Outcast Zone and Dorothy, who has little in common with the one portrayed by Judy Garland in the classic movie, is trapped there, trying to find her father and a way out. This OZ is a dirty and dangerous place, the lion is a human-lion hybrid, a discarded experiment who has been lied to all his life. The scarecrow is a blank, unprogrammed automaton, Munchkin is just one person who has been cloned over and over again and the Wizard may just be the most dangerous person alive.
Also, there are no witches but marshals, absolute rulers over their assigned territory, and Dorothy becomes the east marshal by accidentally crash-landing in an airship on top of the old one. The setting offers a lot of potential for a great story, even a dark one. A place like OZ is filled with secrets and things to explore. Where the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a tale of magic, friendship and adventure, The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure could have been a tale of dark secrets, loyalty, perseverance and strange wonder.
There are elements of it in there, yes, but very little. Instead, the story quickly devolves into an ongoing chain of violent encounters. What was probably meant to be action-packed becomes mindlessly brutal pretty quickly.
There was so much the story could have made of the characters, Munchkin especially, I think, but from the amount of detail given, it appears the violence is the focus of the tale.
3 out of 10 Zeppelins for the story
Now for the narration by Amanda C. Miller.
Amanda’s performance is what made me listen to the whole story and not switch it of half way through. She breathes life into every character, proves to have a wide repertoire of voices and intonations to make every protagonist a distinctive character and also keeps pace with the gory action in the book.
I was especially fond of her portrayal of Munchkin and the various automatons encountered during the story.
Ms Miller actually managed to turn a gory and rather repetitive tale into something worth listening to by her performance as the narrator alone.
9 out of 10 Zeppelins for the narration.