When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?
Gregory Maguire has created a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again.
Born with green skin and huge teeth, like a dragon, the free-spirited Elphaba grows up to be an anti-totalitarian agitator, an animal-rights activist, a nun, then a nurse who tends the dying--and, ultimately, the headstrong Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. Maguire's strange and imaginative postmodernist fable uses L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a springboard to create a tense realm inhabited by humans, talking animals (a rhino librarian, a goat physician), Munchkinlanders, dwarves and various tribes. The Wizard of Oz, emperor of this dystopian dictatorship, promotes Industrial Modern architecture and restricts animals' right to freedom of travel; his holy book is an ancient manuscript of magic that was clairvoyantly located by Madam Blavatsky 40 years earlier. Much of the narrative concerns Elphaba's troubled youth (she is raised by a giddy alcoholic mother and a hermitlike minister father who transmits to her his habits of loathing and self-hatred) and with her student years. Dorothy appears only near novel's end, as her house crash-lands on Elphaba's sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, in an accident that sets Elphaba on the trail of the girl from Kansas--as well as the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Lion--and her fabulous new shoes. Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should, despite being far removed in spirit from the Baum books, captivate devotees of fantasy. 50,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; first serial to Word; author tour.
Wicked: interesting, but not meant for young children
Wicked shows the interesting point of elphaba(AKA the wicked witch of the west ) and maguires view on oz. I enjoyed this book, but didn't think it was 5 star worthy, because of some unneeded sexual content and strong language.
Great book but no map!
Buyers beware! The e-book is without the maps! I contacted Apple and they confirmed it. If that's important to you then hold off buying.
From the 1939 movie to this...
I bought this book because I wanted to know what all the hubbub was with the stage play; which I have yet to experience. Otherwise, I am coming from the love of the 1939 movie, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.
If the author was trying to create something new, that much was a success. But, taking characters we all have known since the 1939 movie and giving them altogether different characteristics and sidling up to any parallels to well known actions or activities and acting like an alternate reality has occurred without warning the reader to expect, and, changing those well known outcomes - it’s hard to accept.
This book is full of descriptive sexual exploits and the gamut of spectrum dealing with politics. The Wizard is described as a tyrant who wants and needs to proliferate his reach. There are new characters that seem to be more at the frontlines than one would expect.
Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, was so far removed from the movie screen character; more demure than anything, even if she (sparsely) shows anger. She is hardly seen as the boisterous evil witch of the screen. She takes on the role of victim more than all other character traits. Be prepared to look up a plethora of words and sit through so much rambling.
Honestly, hard as it was, I finished the first book hoping to find some spell or magic to say that something would cause the books characters to be whisked backwards in time, at some point to start again, so the story would have to realign with the activities of the movie. Instead, it was a doubling down to conclude in its own right; which was very disappointing overall.
In the end, this book gives me no interest in continuing with the rest of the series. Again, this is coming from one who has only known of the movie version of the story to base this review on.