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4.1 out of 5 stars36
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2006
Elphaba lives! An enigmatic scrawl that is appearing on walls across the Emerald City defies the received wisdom that the Wicked Witch of the West has been vanquished by Dorothy Gale. Certainly across London it would seem that our green-skinned heroine has survived. Her enigmatic smile peers from a thousand poster sites, grinning enigmatically at whatever is whispered from her white-clad friend Glinda. With the success of the musical Wicked it was perhaps inevitable that a follow up book would arrive. But is it any good?

Firstly this is a review for those who enjoyed the first book. If you didn't enjoy Maguire's original subversion of the classic tale of Oz then it is unlikely that this book is going to do much for you. However, if the concept of the retelling of such a familiar tale and the creation of a whole new world of Oz left you wanting more, then this book is no disappointment.

In this book one of the survivors from the incursion into Kimano Ko is Liir. It was never made clear throughout Wicked who this child was. Bullied by his siblings, and clutching desperately to Elphaba despite her indifference he is now left with nothing. As a result this book is the story of him growing up in the face of a harsh and unforgiving post-Wizard Oz.

At first the socialite and philanthropist Glinda has filled the vacuum of power in the Emerald City, and is then succeeded by the Scarecrow before an all powerful Emperor assumes the throne in the name of the Unnamed God. Religion is perverted to serve power, and the whole of Oz faces the forced conversion to the Unitarianism. In the face of this power is there anyone who is willing to take up the Witch's mantle and defend the defenceless of Oz?

The book is considerably tighter than the original, focused solely on Liir, and only dwelling on others as they come into his life. It is surprising - Liir's personal life does not follow the Technicolor simplicity of the original Wizard of Oz series. This is Oz grown up, gritty and real.

As with Wicked the descriptive talent and storytelling mastery of Maguire is apparent. The man can weave a delicious narrative, and produce something that is a gripping, page turning treat. I think the book serves the reader better than its predecessor in filling in many of the gaps left by Wicked. It is a complete story in itself, perfectly intelligible and enjoyable without the background story of Wicked. But read in tandem it produces a powerful follow up, and one which gives firmer foundations for a trilogy or series of books based on this alternate Oz.

Perhaps most importantly for a book that is fantasy and escapism it is a cracking read, vividly painting the darker side to Oz whilst still producing the characters and storylines that are interesting and indulging.
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2006
Elphaba lives! An enigmatic scrawl that is appearing on walls across the Emerald City defies the received wisdom that the Wicked Witch of the West has been vanquished by Dorothy Gale. Certainly across London it would seem that our green-skinned heroine has survived. Her enigmatic smile peers from a thousand poster sites, grinning enigmatically at whatever is whispered from her white-clad friend Glinda. With the success of the musical Wicked it was perhaps inevitable that a follow up book would arrive. But is it any good?

Firstly this is a review for those who enjoyed the first book. If you didn't enjoy Maguire's original subversion of the classic tale of Oz then it is unlikely that this book is going to do much for you. However, if the concept of the retelling of such a familiar tale and the creation of a whole new world of Oz left you wanting more, then this book is no disappointment.

In this book one of the survivors from the incursion into Kimano Ko is Liir. It was never made clear throughout Wicked who this child was. Bullied by his siblings, and clutching desperately to Elphaba despite her indifference he is now left with nothing. As a result this book is the story of him growing up in the face of a harsh and unforgiving post-Wizard Oz.

At first the socialite and philanthropist Glinda has filled the vacuum of power in the Emerald City, and is then succeeded by the Scarecrow before an all powerful Emperor assumes the throne in the name of the Unnamed God. Religion is perverted to serve power, and the whole of Oz faces the forced conversion to the Unitarianism. In the face of this power is there anyone who is willing to take up the Witch's mantle and defend the defenceless of Oz?

The book is considerably tighter than the original, focused solely on Liir, and only dwelling on others as they come into his life. It is surprising - Liir's personal life does not follow the Technicolor simplicity of the original Wizard of Oz series. This is Oz grown up, gritty and real.

As with Wicked the descriptive talent and storytelling mastery of Maguire is apparent. The man can weave a delicious narrative, and produce something that is a gripping, page turning treat. I think the book serves the reader better than its predecessor in filling in many of the gaps left by Wicked. It is a complete story in itself, perfectly intelligible and enjoyable without the background story of Wicked. But read in tandem it produces a powerful follow up, and one which gives firmer foundations for a trilogy or series of books based on this alternate Oz.

Perhaps most importantly for a book that is fantasy and escapism it is a cracking read, vividly painting the darker side to Oz whilst still producing the characters and storylines that are interesting and indulging.
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on 15 October 2009
After reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked and falling totally in love with it, it was inevitable that I was going to read the follow up. And did it match up to its predecessor? Yes and no. Yes, because the plot was interesting, always managing to keep my attention and continually surprise me. The characters were again created with the depth and mystery that made me fall in love with the first book, and the land of Oz is again as realistic and as lifelike as anyone could hope for in a fantasy novel. Yet there is something about this book that prevents it from being ranked up there with Wicked and I think I've put my finger on it: the absence of Elphaba. Without her amazing character in the forefront of the book, Oz is rather lacking in the magic that made the first book so successful.

Overall verdict: very enjoyable and well worth the read, but only if you liked the first book, and love the land of Oz enough to want to return to it after the demise of our heroine.
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on 9 March 2012
Of course we've all heard of Wicked and it has been reviewed hundreds of times before. I enjoyed the first book in this series although it was much more religious and political than I had expected but also much funnier than I'd hoped. This second book I found disappointing and was at times a bit for a struggle to read. I can't quite put my finger on what it was lacking, I think it might just be that Wicked was so great nothing can follow. I would still recommend it. I look forward to the third and forth final book and hope they catch my attention like the first Wicked book.
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on 24 September 2011
I read Wicked (twice in the space of a week) and fell in love with it. I read Son of a Witch once in the space of a week and found that it lacked something. It lacked Elphaba's sparkling mind (Liir is a slightly duller protagonist)and the many of the political and religious machinations of the first book, these seemed to mainly come into play towards the end where the pace picked up dramatically. Many of the saving graces in this book came from the more minor characters, such as Lady Glinda (locking the servants in the cupboards - quite amusing), and I kept finding myself praying for more Glinda as I turned each page.

The book gets four stars because it does further the story (Wicked series fans will need to read it to know what happens next and it helps to tie up loose ends left in Wicked), the minor characters (the bickering Sister Doctor and Sister Apothecaire) are well-written (and Lady Glinda does always liven things up), the last line moved me, and because - as was the case with Wicked - the world is well-written and involving.

If you enjoyed Wicked, you will want to add this to your collection. But don't expect it to be quite the same without Elphaba.
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on 12 August 2007
I finished this book yesterday and ive yet to decide whether thats a good thing or not. When you find a good book, all you can think of doing is turning the page to get to the end. However, the closer i got to the end of this one, the more i wanted to slow down. I just didnt want the story to end. It left me wanting, questioning and slightly tearful. To carry on this tale would probably not do it justice, but leaving it at this superb point makes me regret reading it so quickly. This is definatly not one to let pass if you have read Wicked. Arguably one of the best books ive ever read.
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on 25 May 2008
This book takes the tale of Oz to a whole new level and the developement of the character Liir is truly brilliant. Where as you new where Wicked was eventually going although very suprising in how it got there, there was absolutely no way to tell how this story was going to progress. One of the most thrilling books I've ever read and its definately in my top 5 books of all time. You have to read Wicked just so you can read this book, can't wait for the sequel!
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on 3 December 2007
Absolutely fantastic sequel to wicked. I wasn't going to read this as I thought anything that tried to build on wicked was bound to be a disapointment, but I was totaly wrong.
This book is far more based on the society and politics of Oz and follows Liir on his journey of becoming a man and his travels round Oz. It is so full of action and adventure I couldn't bare to put it down.
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on 23 August 2007
Lirr,the boy who disappeared after Elphaba gone...He was still in the OZ!
The novel was little dull until halfway,but after it,romantic dialogue,beautiful representation of the land,and lastscene...I enjoyed a lot!
Its not gorgeous than WICKED,so its not good for musical stage,but its very good novel!!I love it!!
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on 9 July 2014
Very disappointing sequel to the first book - meanders with no real highpoints and I had no empathy with any of the characters - whereas Elfaba was wonderful in book one. Still, I shall try the next two in the hopes that things will improve as there are several leads which need to be followed up.
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