Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years (Paperback)) Paperback – 25 Sep 2004
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The stunning novel that casts a spell over every reader and inspired a phenomenally successful musical--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Douglas Smith is Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Dr. Smith's fields of interest include Combinatorics / Design Theory (Team Tournaments, Latin Squares, and applications), Mathematical Logic, Set Theory, and Collegiate Mathematics Education.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Rather than the insufferably precocious and wide-eyed Dorothy we get to enjoy the life story of Elphaba, and Maguire weaves an impressive narrative to fill in the gaps in the original tale. Why did the wicked witch want the shoes Dorothy had stolen so much? Why was she green? And why do they have to sing? Maguire answers (nearly) all these questions in a book that is far more than a take off of the original. It is an entirely independent world, forged out of the idea of Oz but seen through very different eyes.
And so we have the witch’s birth, the explanation of her struggles through university, and the complex socio-political order of Oz. The strife with the Emerald City, the oppression of the Animals (those beasts who possessed personality and speech), and the true nature of Munchkinlanders is all laid bare. And most importantly a deep and moving story of the witch’s own transformation is told. She loves, and loses. She has deep political concerns, and is betrayed. By the end of the book we are unsurprised by her bitterness, and her untimely demise at the hands of Dorothy is a moment of sadness rather than the joyous victory of ‘good over evil’.
Essentially the novel is a very well written story, and should provoke interest from anyone who has read the original or seen the movie.Read more ›
I wasn't sure what to think at first. There were some overly crude sexual referrances which were a bit too much, even for me (seemed a bit unnecessary) and the writing was... wordy. But the characters were interesting, and the concept alone kept me hooked, hoping to be impressed.
It's just that not really all that much seems to happen in this book. Many of the major events actually happen off-stage, even though they concern the main characters. Whole chunks of time are skipped, often leaving me feeling like I've missed out after discovering what happened during those gaps. I was left with too many questions unanswered, and feeling like I'd been cheated out of a few hours of my time: the book could have been told in half the pages. There were a lot of events that just seemed... pointless, never to really go anywhere or be resolved or explained. Perhaps that's just meant to be a reflection of how life really is, - not everything ever gets resolved or makes that much sense - but I don't read books to put up with yet more of "real life".
I'm of the opinion this might be one of those love it or hate it things. I will not go so far as to say I hated it, because I was at least able to find it interesting enough to read through to the end. But I didn't find the whole effort very rewarding. And I won't be reading this book again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is really good and gives a totally different perspective on the story as a whole. Could be a really good movie!Published 28 days ago by Lord Kieran J D Hill
I have read this story at least six times now, and it never ceases to please, surprise and sadden me every time. An absolute must have for any avid reader!Published 2 months ago by Daniel Garton
This book was sat on my shelf for years before I got around to reading it, and now I wish I'd read it so much sooner. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charlie
Wicked is not what I expected at all. It's a very strange book and I didn't really know what to expect. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lauren