Henry and Hatter are in love and living happily together in Wonderland. One day, the pair decide to take a journey to visit the Tweedles, whom they haven’t seen in some time. Along the way, however, they encounter a group of flying monkeys who are lost in Wonderland. As it turns out, the monkeys got swept across the mountains and into Wonderland during a storm and have no idea how to get back. Having read The Wizard of Oz, Henry immediately recognizes the flying monkeys and is shocked to realize that Oz must be a real place, just like Wonderland. The men know the monkeys are stuck in Wonderland, so they agree to help them get home.
When they manage to cross the portal into Oz, Hatter is more than ready to just head home, but Henry is eager to explore this land he has read about in books. It turns out that the Oz of stories is not quite like reality, however. Here, Dorothy is known as “the Destroyer” for killing the witches and is very much the villain. Unfortunately, the death of the evil witches has upset the balance between good and evil and Oz is falling into disarray. Even worse, the disruption of magic is likely to spread, affecting Wonderland and the other magical realms. If Henry and Hatter can’t find a way to help restore the balance, it could be an end to life as they know it. But navigating an unknown and magical land like Oz isn’t going to be easy, and it is going to take everything the pair have to set things to rights.
Ozmosis by Dakota Chase follows up on the engaging Mad About the Hatter, picking back up with Henry and Hatter and moving most of the action to Oz. In the first story, Chase does such a wonderful job of bringing Wonderland to life, picking up bits from the book but giving a new spin on life in this magical land. So I loved that this story switches focus to Oz, as it gives us another really clever take on this literary classic. There is just the right balance here of providing the familiar beats of the Oz from stories, but with a unique spin and a new perspective. We meet many well-known characters, such as the Tin Man and Scarecrow, and visit many familiar lands. But not all is as it seems or Henry expects and I just love the way Chase plays with the world building here. Moving the story from Wonderland also takes Hatter out of the role of confident tour guide in his own home and puts both he and Henry in the position of discovering how things work in this unfamiliar magical place. Things are wild and wacky, but also super clever in the way it all comes together and I love the imagination Chase shows in the story.
I enjoy the dynamic between Henry and Hatter and they are sweet and loving to one another. At the same time, they are very different personalities and at times during the road trip they can frustrate one another. We see them work through that a little, though I would have liked to have seen it tackled a bit more head on. Still, we get some nice moments of understanding between them and the men remain committed and in love. This is a young adult story, though given the time that has passed since the first book, I assume Henry is over 18 by now (and Hatter is of some indeterminate age, but older than Henry). The men live together and profess their love for one another and we do get some chaste kisses. But they have separate bedrooms and they display no real sexual interest, so this one definitely falls firmly in the G-rated camp and is appropriate for younger YA readers. That said, I found this one really delightful even as an adult and the unique take on the literary side of things makes this particularly fun for grown readers.
I am curious to see if Chase will continue to build this series, as there is a suggestion that now that they have found this portal to Oz, perhaps there are more magical worlds out there to explore. If so, I will definitely be along for the ride.
P.S. I don’t usually comment on covers, but I have to say that I love this one. It coordinates so nicely with the first book in the series and has that saturated color that fits so well with the story’s world. Plus, the three pins on the hat matching the Oz characters is such a fun mashup of the two worlds.