Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This book sat on my shelf for years and it wasn't until I saw Wicked the musical in London that I had the motivation to read it. And even then, I loved the musical so much that I was afraid that the book wouldn't be as good. I had a hard time getting the musical out of my head at the beginning - they're very different - but once I managed that I was quickly drawn into the land of Oz and Wicked became a definite part of this year's favorites list.

Wicked tells what happened in Oz before Dorothy got there - the story of Glinda, who becomes known as the good witch and Elphaba, who becomes known as the wicked witch of the west. See, Elphaba wasn't born wicked and what she ended up as explores the concepts of good and evil. Was she wicked? Or was she misunderstood? Can her actions be explained and justified?

I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the world that Maguire created. The politics of and differences between the many regions of Oz were all so real and so believable - fueled by the same emotions that politics in our world are led by.

The characters were all so well-defined and, again, so real. I could feel what Elpie felt at her college, I could understand that she wanted to do something about the injustice.

It was so much more than a fairy tale and I didn't expect it to be.

I loved it and want to re-read it and also read everything else Maguire has written. I love being transported into a different world like that.

Definitely high on my favorites list for 2011.


Ana S. said...

It's a brilliant book, isn't it? So thoughtful and layered. I keep hearing the sequels are not as good, but I still want to read them.

joanna said...

Nymeth - yes, layered is exactly the right word. I just looked the sequels up and they're judged pretty harshly. But I want to read them too, can't resist finding out what happens to Liir!

Larissa said...

I was so sure this would be an easy sugar-coated thing - I guess kind of the way I looked at The Wizard of Oz, and my only attraction to the story was for the musical.
But now you convinced me to get a try at the book!

Kailana said...

For whatever reason I am not a huge fan of this book... I should reread it...

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

SO glad you enjoyed it! Especially with the big differences between the musical and the book. Musical was really tamed down a lot, I think.

I haven't read any of the sequels but maybe one day. Like Ana I heard they weren't as good. :(

Unknown said...

the musical was what inspired my reading the book too. nice review!