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A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in the Wicked Years (Wicked Years, 3) Paperback – August 25, 2009
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Return to a darker Oz with Gregory Maguire. In A Lion Among Men, the third volume in Maguire’s acclaimed, New York Times bestselling series The Wicked Years, a fuller, more complex Cowardly Lion is brought to life and gets to tell his remarkable tale. It is a story of oppression and fear in a world gone mad with war fever—of Munchkins, Wizards, and Wicked Witches—and especially of a gentle soul and determined survivor who is truly A Lion Among Men.
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“Maguire’s work is melodic, symphonic and beautiful; it is dejected and biting and brave. . . . In fabulous details and self-mocking language, Maguire displays his gift for whimsical portrayals of the broken, the powerless, the hopeless, the bad.” -- Los Angeles Times
“Much to savor, laugh at, and think about. . . . A page-turning fantasy and a timely political allegory.” -- USA Today
“Entertaining....The author mixes some relatively weighty existential themes―the search for self, faith, redemption―into his whimsical story line. [A] darkly enchanting saga” -- Publishers Weekly
“This Oz goes far beyond L. Frank Baum’s; it’s as surreal as a dream, but as immaculately and impeccably detailed as history. Maguire’s wizardlike grasp over every aspect of this reinvented land rivals classic literary landscapes like Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.” -- Albany Times Union
“So well-crafted that readers of all ages could enjoy witnessing Brrrr’s transformation from an insecure kitten in the woods to a compassionate, engaged ‘manimal.’” -- Christian Science Monitor
“The third book in Maguire’s Wicked Years is at once funny, charming, harrowing, bleak and incredibly beautiful.” -- The American Chronicle
“Engrossing...Maguire is a masterful storyteller with an uncanny flair for mixing political and personal while exploring what it means―and what it costs―to be accepted in a society.” -- New York Daily News
“As usual, Maguire, a seasoned fabulist, populates his version of Oz with a cast of utterly fantastical characters who must face their own inner demons while tumult and uncertainty rages around them. An absolute must-read for fans of this ever-evolving dark fairy tale.” -- Booklist
“The minute you open A Lion Among Men, you’re back in Maguire’s exquisitely detailed environment, caught up once again in his geography, his characters, his worldview, touched anew by the loneliness that lurks in the heart of all things.” -- New Orleans Times-Picayune
From the Back Cover
Since the publication of Wicked, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion.
At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060859725
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060859725
- Lexile measure : 830L
- Item Weight : 13 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.84 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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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.
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.
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.
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