Dorothy In the Land of Monsters
Garten Gevedon (Oz ReVamped, #1) Publication date: October 11th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!
My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.
When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.
They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds.
With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen)—Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.
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The thick wall that surrounds the city looks like a fortress from the outside, but from the inside it is a beautiful creation of intricate design. If what the Guardian said is true, it was magic that carved the homes from the gargantuan stone. Like the rest of Emerald with its grand estates of lush farms and emerald mansions, the homes inside the wall are elegant with a magical touch. Crystal walls with doors that open and close like a camera shutter divide large rooms. Each home has wide open spaces with elegant décor and its own aesthetic unique to its residents and their species.
With my emerald goggles on, I can see the magic that lights the room I pass. Inside, a busy shifter rabbit cooks dinner over an emerald stove run on magic in a kitchen that opens into a very large family room. While her children hop around and play, three of them argue over a toy. The shifter rabbit yells at her fighting kids to quiet and turns away from the pan to resolve their tiff. As she separates her little ones, a magic hand made of green glittering mist emerges from the kitchen wall, lifts her spoon, and stirs the vegetables she is sautéing. My mind is blown. That’s maybe the most convenient appliance ever. Talk about a smart home. I bet Alexa has that ability someday.
The bubbles drift lower, Werelion already about fifty feet below me, and I pass more apartments, most with curtains drawn but some have zombies or shifters puttering about their homes. I float past a balcony where a man stands drinking out of an emerald bottle. Shirtless, only wearing loose pants that hang from his hips, his warm, dark skin sports an elaborate tattoo of a snake that circles around from his low waistband to his torso, covering his chest and back, with its head curling around his neck. He leans on the balustrade looking out at the city. Silky brown hair falls in waves just above the head of the snake at his chiseled jawline. When our eyes meet, he smiles at me and winks, oozing promises of debauchery. Why are all the attractive guys in this realm playboy types with such cheesy game? If that’s what works for the men around here, what is wrong with the women of Oz? Or it could be they hate it as much as we do in the civilized realm. I don’t know of a single woman who wants that kind of approach.
“Human, zombie, or shifter?” he asks as I float by.
“Human,” I say, and he smiles a lazy half-grin, his smoldering eyes roaming over my body. A shudder creeps down my spine.
“Meet me at the Copper Jewel tonight,” he calls as I float away relieved to be leaving his presence.
The bubble picks up speed and whisks us through the bustling streets above the heads of pedestrians. None of them act like it’s strange how close we are, as if flying low in a bubble over the streets of the city is commonplace. Although I suppose it would be in a city like this—a city made of emeralds, run on magic, and grown from the ground by a wizard.
Even Toto’s eyes are wide as we zoom through the spectacular city in a bubble. Restaurants and taverns advertise ‘Fresh Brains!’ and ‘Fresh Kills!’ Shops and markets with cheerful signs and displays advertise products like ‘Zombie Cream — Now with Methanol!’ and ‘Artisanal Brain Bars — Jam-Packed with Happy Thoughts. Now in Munchkin Flavor!’
We weave in and out of buildings, floating around corners, and flying down street after street until we reach the main road that gleams with vivid green magic. On one side of the street, boutiques and cafés bookend zombie spas and shifter groomers.
On the other side stands a large skyscraper with high-ceiling apartments. As our bubbles circle the building, spiraling up toward the top, I see entire floors are rainforest, or desert, ice and snow, beaches—it boggles my mind how even with magic, a beach and ocean could appear on the thirtieth floor. The bubble brings me all the way to the pinnacle of this unique shifter building, the entire top of which is a resplendent aviary brimming with shifter birds. Daedal carvings in the crystal catch the light of the sun and reflect in iridescent clouds that drift off the top of what is the tallest building in the city by far before it disperses over the land. This is the beacon of light that led us here.
As we descend, I realize I’m being given a tour. It brings a smile to my face and gives me hope. If the wizard’s magic is controlling this bubble as the Guardian implied, I’d take it as a good sign we’ve proven ourselves enough to at least get a decent welcome.
From the top of the tallest tower, we glide toward the city’s center, and halfway there I spot it—right in the middle of the bejeweled metropolis stands an emerald palace grander than the grandest palace ever built in the civilized realm. The Palace of Versailles has nothing on this place. The Taj Mahal doesn’t even compare. It’s enormous. If this city is about the size of the island of Manhattan, this palace is all of Central Park.
Garten Gevedon lives in New York City with her family. She’s a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author who loves taking fairy tales and turning them inside out. You can visit her online at www.gartengevedon.com.
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