A Lion Among Men [LION AMONG MEN 8] CD-ROM – October 31, 2008
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ALAM doesn't have quite the impact of WICKED, but that is to be expected, WICKED being the first of the tetralogy which laid out Maguire's entire alternate mythos of Oz. Still, this third book holds its own in the series. The characterization of the Brrr the "Cowardly" Lion is keen: He's not cowardly, just thoughtfully indecisive, ambivalent about loyalties, and subject to blame no matter what he does, qualities often confused with cowardice. His low status as an Animal in Oz's caste system has obvious parallels in our world. ALAM has all the layers of the first two books, richly expanding on certain details and locations of Maguire's Oz. The separate threads of the book often seem unrelated to each other, but it all comes together in the very satisfying ending. The biggest detraction is the amount of space spent on Brrr's interrogation of Yackle, which could have been condensed a bit.
This book, particularly, felt needless, as it only barely touches on the Elphaba story. For me, Maguire has chosen to hand the story over to a witless, un-compelling character, forsaking the reason for his original success.
Maguire's language is as enjoyable and fluid as ever, though it feels as though his characters are increasingly more likely to use modern colloquialisms as the series goes on. In every instance, the linguistic anachronisms cause the eye to catch just a little bit longer on the words than necessary. This is most pronounced with Dorothy's dialog, of which there's perhaps more than in any of the other books.
Misplaced colloquialisms aside, I loved this book. For me, Maguire's writing falls in that same space as is occupied by Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams in its ability to combine the sublime and the comical into one neat and surprisingly profound package.
Definitely do recommend reading it 'tho!
it is great to have an unknown character given life. greater still that this character is drawing together the strings which will bring the whole story together so well