Gregory Maguire’s Oz

Lately I’ve just put down Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire and I have to say that it was brilliant — I loved the fully-realized political and spiritual backdrop for the tale, and Elphaba was certainly a character. She’s the title character, but it was so well written that you actually feel and know her to be an outsider. The outsider? In her own book. Hence the politics and the spiritual/religious backdrop aren’t really a backdrop after all, but they’re pretty much the meat and core of the tale.

Being the hopeless sap that I am, you’d probably guess what my favorite part is. Spoiler alert, for those of you who don’t want to be spoiled ;) but Elphaba and Fiyero’s ultimately-doomed relationship was a treat. I was half expecting her and Boq to end up together — the other half was that I didn’t feel like I wanted her to be in a relationship. But when Fiyero and she did end up in a rather complicated relationship, it was a suprise, a good surprise, a treat. She was a little “closer” then, not so much an outsider, while it lasted.

I think I’m definitely picking up Son of a Witch now, which I had read a bit of in a bookstore back in the Philippines. It’s definitely an intriguing read.


  • Oh, not at all — different perspectives are good! I would have to agree with the bit about Maguire’s words getting a bit in the way of the story, as I felt that too a number of times, although generally I skim past bogging parts like those, to return later during a second re-read. I’m not sure if I’m the only one like this, hee. When it gets to be so much that I actually put the book down for good, that’s when it’s really unbearable for me.

    I did feel a bit of disappointment as well, but then I suppose I only expected it to be so due to the fact that the book was following Ephaba, who does die rather… anticlimactically. :P Hence the need to read Son of a Witch, I guess?

  • I too just put this book down and reviewed it in my own blog, but I’m afraid we had drastically different opinions of it.

    I thought Maguire was too apt to let his vocabulary get in the way of his story and although the book began magically enough, in the end he slapped everything together in a amaturish way, concerned more with his sermon on the natures of good and evil than he was with the story we’d invested ourselves in for over 400 pages.

    In short, I was dissapointed in the end. Glad you got something out of it, but I’d never read anything of his again.

    Hope you don’t mind a little different perspective!