Oz is one of the strangest worlds you will ever enter. The narrative voice in the first book of the Oz series has its flaws (far too many uses of "shall" and "for," a complete lack of contractions that makes for occasionally uncomfortable dialogue, and a similarity between the voices of the main heroes). That being said, it's a magical tour into a wonderful world of fantasy, horror and general weirdness that you won't soon forget.
Far too many people introduce themselves to this world through the MGM movie, and find the second portion of the plot to feel somewhat anticlimactic when they expect the story to end right after a failed balloon ride. Unfortunately, Wicked has added to unrealistic expectations by presenting a new version of the movie witch in book form. Those who have read the book know that in it tigers and bears are part of a chimerical amalgamation, the Wicked Witch of the West has a single binocular eye, flying apes aren't evil, scarecrows break the necks of violent crows, the emerald city isn't so emerald without glasses, silver slippers take you home, and kisses from a good witch protect you. The visit to the Wizard isn't the climax of the journey in the novel, it's simply a step along the path for each character to find their home. Further, there aren't just slippers, Munchkins, witches and wizards to contend with; there are golden caps, Winkies, Quadlings, Hammer Heads, mice kingdoms, wolves, bees and giant spiders, oh my!
If you are able, be sure to pick up an illustrated version of the book (like the Signet Classics edition). Baum is the American Louis Carroll. And, just as Carroll had John Tenniel, L. Frank Baum had W.W. Denslow to bring his characters to life in a visual medium
Oz never pales. Always worth reading.