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Wicked (Wicked Years 1) Paperback – 11 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; paperback / softback edition (11 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755331605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755331604
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Mirror Mirror, Lost, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men, which have earned him rave reviews and a dedicated following.
He received his doctorate in English Literature from Tufts University, and has taught at Simmons College and other Boston area colleges.
He has also served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Hambidge Center.
Gregory has lived in Dublin and London, but now makes his home near Boston, Massachusetts, with his partner, their two sons and daughter.

Product Description

Review

'Gregory Maguire's Wicked falls into a fascinating sub-genre of novels that revisit well-known stories as much in the spirit of criticism as homage. Maguire...makes sense of Baum's whims, creating a credible Oz for grown-ups, with religion, politics, racial tensions, an economy, mythology, humour and sex... As moving and tragic as it is refreshing and scurrilous... This outstanding novel.' (The Independent)

Book Description

The stunning novel that casts a spell over every reader and inspired a phenomenally successful musical


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
In Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire has written a novel that deals with the life of Elphaba, an emerald-green skinned young woman who was born into the family of a preacher and his wife in Munchkinland. Elphaba's family are not Munchkinlanders, however, and Elphaba grows up knowing more than she ever wanted to know about persecution and alienation. As a result, she becomes somewhat introverted, rebellious and yes, a little wicked.
When we all root for Dorothy as she triumphs over the Wicked Witch of the West in Frank Baum's Oz tales, we seem to forget that we are only hearing Dorothy's side of the story. There is more to Elphaba than wickedness and Maguire proves it as he chronicles Elphaba's odyssey through the land of Oz.
What makes Wicked such a special book is the fact that Maguire has written a story that challenges our preconceived notions of what, exactly, is good and what, exactly, is evil, with the character of Elphaba at the heart of the matter. Although Dorothy does make an appearance near the end of the book, it really isn't necessary to know anything about her or the Baum stories to understand and appreciate Wicked.
In Wicked, we follow the life of Elphaba as we learn what shaped her personality, what it really means to be a witch and how things are not always as we think them to be or even as we want them to be. The characters in Wicked are fully-fleshed out and believable. Besides Elphaba, there is her university roommate, Glinda; Boq, the lovelorn Munchkin; Fiyero, a tribal prince from the primitive West of Oz; and Nessarose, Elphaba's beautiful and witchy sister.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By aceadrian on 16 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Lets start off by saying this is a tremendous book, way off the mainstream, deep enough, meaningful enough, but not so much so that it should put anybody off. Maguire tells the tale of the Wicked Witch of the West of Wizard of Oz fame, but not that part of her life that we were fleetingly involved with during that story, the full story of her life. From before she was born until her unfortunate demise.
We are taken on a rather magical journey through the birth and early childhood of the Witch, known as Elphaba. We travel through her trials and tribulations of being born into a Munchkin family, focusing on her parents, their interactions and other characters that shaped her life. Then the story takes us onwards to her college life, watching as she grows more powerful as a person, living out her beliefs and trying to influence people. She develops many ideals and ideas not herself, but for the greater good of Oz and the oppressed peoples therein.
Elphaba goes into hiding, in her war against the dictatorship that has built up in Oz, eventually heading out into a castle in what are essentially wild lands having suffered serious indignities at the hands of her adversaries. This is where she is coined the Wicked Witch and this is what could then be considered her lair, where she becomes more bitter and more frustrated at the direction the world is heading.
The story starts fast and draws you in right from the beginning, yet I felt towards the second half of the book it slowed a little, as the story moved onto other locations. This was a little disappointing as I had hoped it would maintain its pace, however, this did not spoil the story, rather it almost gave it another dimension, squeezing more styles and paces into a single book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jakeisthecoolest TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Aug 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
As our beloved little amphibious friend so famously sung, 'it's not easy being green' and this is certainly true for poor old Wicked Witch of the West.
Having just reviewed the new Oz film I thought I'd review this, although I did read it a while back.
For those looking for a novelisation of the hit musical you might be disappointed. If you are looking for a deep and immersive fantasy tale then you are in for a treat. Maguire has carefully built on Frank Buam's original works and created a fully realised world that is as vivid as anything Tolkien or George Martin have created. The characters are richly drawn with enough knowing nods to the source material. As well as creating believable imagery, the deep backstory built into all aspects of the novel really bring the whole book to life.
A beautiful fantasy tale with a really poignant note, I think we all know how it ends, and with only a fleeting glimpse of the gingham wearing dog lover, Maguire opens up a whole new Oz.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon on 5 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
Maguire has an excellent base story here. It is gripping, compelling and thought provoking. You will come to understand the other side of the coin and sympathise with someone who has the wicked title thrust upon them.

However the launguage is very 'long', flowery and over the top to the point the archaic descriptions and unneeded imagery get in the way of the pace of the story. Words seem to be thrown in more to make it sound intelligent than actually adding to the prose. It reminds me a bit of the launguage of tolken (which I find can get a bit OTT somtimes) but as I say someone trying too hard to copy it.

Also this book is not for under 14s due to graphic sexual scenes and strong launaguge in places. While they may help show the views of pleasure faith again it seems to be trying too hard to shock so felt it insulted the reader's inteligence.

Lastly if you are expecting the musical story be prepared for some fundamental changes and a much darker story...
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