5 Mar 2013



While civil war looms in Oz, an oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, the Cowardly Lion arrives searching for information about Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Yackle, who hovered on the sidelines of Elphaba's life, demands some answers of her own.

Brrr surrenders his story: abandoned as a cub, his earliest memories are gluey hazes, and his path from infancy in the Great Gillikin Forest is no yellow brick road. In the wake of laws that oppress talking Animals, he avoids a jail sentence by serving the war-mongering Emperor of Oz.
...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Deposition of an Oracle: Chapter 1): The time had come for her to die.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 158): A male usually had made up his mind before you began to talk to him - so why bother? - but a female, because her mind was more supple, was always prepared to become more disappointed in you than she had yet suspected possible.

MY THOUGHTS: Having read and not enjoyed Wicked (see my review HERE) the first book in Gregory Maguire's Wicked Years series I was persuaded to read part 3, A Lion Among Men, by a fellow member of my readers group.

An altogether more enjoyable, humorous and slightly less political read than the story of Elphaba Thropp (aka The Wicked Witch of the West). The novel follows the story of Brrr the 'Cowardly Lion' (though it has to be said at times he came as across as more stupid than cowardly) who along the way meets, amongst others, some fellow lions, tigers and of course, it goes without saying, bears (oh my) before joining up with Dorothy and co - the rest being 'Oz' history ....... or is it?

Though based in a world that many of us have been familiar with since childhood this is definitely not a book for the kiddies. Dramatically different from the film (and books) and very philosophical (one could argue too philosophical) even I, a fairly well read adult, at times struggled with the often hinted at, less often written, significance of it all. 

Would it have made any difference if I had read part 2 in the series? Perhaps but I suspect not.


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Jean said...

I started Wicked and just couldn't do it. I hate books that rip off other author's characters. They are always wrong. These days, there are many.

Kelly said...

I've not read any of Maquire's books nor do I really have any desire to. I remember when I was little that we had all of Baum's Oz series (not that I read them, either). Hmmm...I guess since I've read neither series, I should just refrain from comment! ;)

Gina R said...

Wow...I didn't realize how politically and philosophically tinged this series was. Good to know...seeing as how I've had the first one on my TBR for a while now. Still will give it a go but better off knowing something like that going in. Thanks!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

These are not my kind of books either, I'm afraid. I would just prefer to remember the characters as they appeared in my childhood memories.

Having said that, I have been to see the stage show of 'Wicked', twice in fact. but both times at someone else's instigation and not necessarily something I would have chosen for myself!

The show was okay (not having read the book, I have no means of comparison) and technically and lyrically excellent, but the whole storyline just didn't 'do it' for me somehow!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm so curious how the musical Wicked came from these books...based on what I know of the books (I have yet to read any of them) since the musical seems so much more lighter... Ah well, I might try Wicked at some point but I'm not sure what I'll think.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Maguire is a hit or miss with me. I did like Wicked even though he had some incredibly slow parts within the book. I still haven't read Son or this one yet. Still curious but not surprised it didn't make you love the book. :)

Naida said...

I've been curious about these books. I might read them at one point. Great review as usual :)

Jess@Fairday's Blog said...

I read Wicked years ago and thought it was very interesting. I haven't read any of the other books in the series- but it sounds like this one is a bit lighter. Great review!

Suko said...

I just wish to echo Naida's comment here:

"I've been curious about these books. I might read them at one point. Great review as usual :)"

Although I am probably a bit less curious about these books. If anything, I'd see the show, I think.