Drink More Urfin Jus

Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers, by Alexander Volkov – This is Volkov’s first original sequel to his translation/rewrite of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and it’s clear that he’s going in a totally different direction with his Magic Land than L. Frank Baum did with Oz. He does employ some similar elements, however, like the Powder of Life. In this tale, an outcast named Urfin Jus seeks revenge on society by building his own army of giant wooden soldiers to conquer the Emerald City. He temporarily succeeds, and it’s up to Ellie and her uncle Charlie Black (Volkov’s version of Cap’n Bill, both in terms of his being a wooden-legged sailor and his resourcefulness) to restore Strasheela to the throne. While it’s kind of weird reading about a land that has so many similar elements to Oz but isn’t quite the same, I did enjoy this, mostly due to Urfin Jus himself. Translator Peter Blystone compares him to Ugu the Shoemaker, in that he’s someone who doesn’t feel he belongs in society, and hence tries to put himself above everyone else. We’re told in detail how Urfin goes about creating his army, and how the joiner operates. He’s also an interesting villain in that the only magic he really has is the Powder of Life, but he manages to do a lot with it. I’m told Urfin appears in later Magic Land stories, and I don’t think I’ll mind seeing him again.

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4 Responses to Drink More Urfin Jus

  1. Pingback: We Seven Kings of Ore-Diggers Are | VoVatia

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