22 May 2011



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 creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again.Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West - a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
....... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind's forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: "She's sent the crows out to blind the guests coming for dinner!"
"Well, that's one way to avoid having to dust, I suppose."

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Hmm, do you know I'm not really sure.

Most of you will have watched the film version of THE WIZARD OF OZ even if, like me, you haven't read any of the 15 books in the series.

Despite many people believing Wicked is based on the story The Wizard Of Oz, it in fact charts the life of the Wicked Witch of the West - you know the one, green, the sister of the witch who meets her death under the house of Dorothy- telling the story from her point of view.

A great start to the book,the first few chapters chronicles the life of Frex and Melena before and up to the birth of Elphaba/Elphie and is wickedly funny and a touch naughty.

If only the middle section of the book was so good. Detailing the mid-years of Elphie's life at (a sort of) finishing school, the author seems to concentrate on the nature of Animals (with a capital 'A') as opposed to animals (with a small 'a'). Actually this became quite a big problem for me as the greater part of this section of the book seemed to debate this as well as, to a lesser extent, several other issues including the nature of evil. All very well if you were expecting this but to be totally honest I was just expecting a nice, easy, fun read.

So what of the end of the book? Well, the author seemed to come full-circle and once again the dialogue becomes (in places) very, very funny.

Character wise,many of the characters from the film appeared in Wicked (some of them only very briefly) though if you were expecting them to be exactly the same as in the film then you will be disappointed - in some cases, hugely disappointed. My favourite character? Without a doubt, Nanny (of Elphie) who, to me, supplied a major part of the humour as is demonstrated in my memorable moment.

Purchased with an Amazon voucher won at BookQquoter's site, A THOUSAND BOOKS WITH QUOTES, I was both happy and disappointed that I read the book, part of me would love to see the theatre production if only to see how the book has been adapted.

The 43rd book read for the 100+ Reading Challenge and the 5th for the What's In A Name Reading Challenge (A book with 'evil' in the title category.)


Misha said...

I agree with you about the middle section. It started off so well. I had to force myself to read the middle portion which sometimes got too confusing as well.

Kelly said...

Seems like those folks I know that both read the book and saw the theatre production preferred the latter. I'm not sure I want to read this. I kinda like the story the way it is. (even though I did love the tale of Little Red Riding Hood told from the wolf's point of view!)

Willa said...

Cool. Great, honest review. I didn't know that it was a book, only knew the theatre production. Please participate in my give-away for "A Gate at the Stairs" :-)

Mary said...

I really appreciate your review. For some reason I've resisted reading this book. Not sure why. Maybe because my TBR stacks are more mountains than stacks.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've read this book, and I also thought the middle part was hard to get through--I kept getting baffled by what the characters were discussing.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Maguire has a fab imagination but is an uneven writer. I did enjoy this book, but like you, I had parts of it I struggled to get through. I do enjoy the idea and the concept of this book. In that way, I thought it was brilliant. :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

You know I've always been curious about this book. It sounds interesting, but then not really something I would pick up. Thanks for the great honest review here. :)

StarTraci said...

I loved the musical but I haven't yet read the book. I appreciate the review as it has been gathering dust on my shelf.


Suko said...

I haven't seen the musical and I truly did not know much about the book before venturing here. The book sounds kind of interesting, but not a book I'd rush out to get.

Jenners said...

I have not read the book or seen the musical. I think I need to do both.

naida said...

isnt it funny how sometimes we can be both glad and dissapointed to have read a book? nice review. I do want to see this play.