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Son of a Witch: Volume Two in The Wicked Years (Wicked Years, 2) Mass Market Paperback – Illustrated, September 30, 2008
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The Wicked Years continue in Gregory Maguire’s Son of a Witch—the heroic saga of the hapless yet determined young man who may or may not be the offspring of the fabled Wicked Witch of the West. A New York Times bestseller like its predecessor, the remarkable Wicked, Son of a Witch follows the boy Liir on his dark odyssey across an ingeniously re-imagined and nearly unrecognizable Land of Oz—a journey that will take him deep into the bowels of the Emerald City, lately abandoned by the Wizard, and into the jaws of dragons. At once a grim fairy tale and an uplifting adventure, Son of a Witch is a true wonder.
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“A tale that adroitly mixes drama, humor, and political satire into a well-knit examination of good and evil.” -- Library Journal
“Maguire has done it again: Son of a Witch is as wicked as they come. . . . Thoroughly entertaining.” -- Boston Globe
“Maguire’s captivating, fully imagined world of horror and wonder illuminates the links between good and evil, retribution and forgiveness.” -- People
“As fantastical as a novel set in Oz should be.” -- Entertainment Weekly
For Wicked: “I fell quickly and totally under the spell of this remarkable, wry, and fully realized story.” -- ―Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True
“An amazing novel.” -- ―John Updike
“Save a place on the shelf between Alice and The Hobbit―that spot is well deserved.” -- ―Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
In this captivating New York Times bestseller, beloved author Gregory Maguire returns to the land ofOz and introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. At the Cloister of Saint Glinda the silent novice Candle tends to him, willing him back to life with her unusual musical gifts. What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son?
He has her broom and her cape—but what of her powers?
Can he find his half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard's departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?
For the countless fans who have been dazzled and entranced by Maguire's Oz, Son of a Witch is the rich reward they have awaited so long.
- Publisher : Harper; Illustrated edition (September 30, 2008)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0061714739
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061714733
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 1.16 x 6.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Elphaba was intriguing. Her "son" is uninteresting and grumbling, stumbling through this interesting world without bothering to share it with the reader. This book was frustrating, and ultimately unsatisfying for me. Sort of like ordering food because the picture on the menu was gorgeous, but when it arrives it was obviously heated in a microwave after being left on the counter too long.
First, Gregory Maguire reads this version and to be honest, I was sorely missing John Mcdonough from the "Wicked" audio cd. While I can understand the author wanting to read his own work, his tone was dry and incredibly flat, while his rythym was choppy. He followed each word with a pause as if the reader would get lost if he didn't read slowly enough. Perhaps if I had not heard Mcdonough's version so recently I would not have such a strong opinion here, but this bordered on painful.
The storyline, as others have pointed out, leaves a lot to be desired. I read a review in the hardcover section by someone that said they were surprised it got past the publisher. I agree with that assessment. Although Liir's character was being developed and this was a sort of bildungsroman, the story didn't manage to keep me interested enough in him to really want to know his story. Yes, we had a preconceived idea of the Witch and that kept us going in "Wicked", but so did the storytelling. The storytelling here focuses too heavily on small and seemingly unimportant or forgettable details about characters that are never resolved clearly than it does on developing even the most basic of personalities for Liir himself. While the lack of his outward personality made sense because he was finding himself and the fact that he had so little experience with the outside world, his inner thoughts were mostly uninteresting and that, I felt, was a missed opportunity for Maguire. Where the reader could have really felt something for Liir was in those moments of inner pain, inner discovery, etc..and I didn't feel the connection to him. This is not to say I felt a strong connection to Elphaba, but I think the storytelling of Elphaba's charater was far more interesting and that made me keep reading and wanting to know what the outcome of her story was. I did not have that same desire with Liir - I jsut didn't care what happened to him or if he found Nor and if Pricess Nastoya was cured or not.
Overall, if you loved "Wicked" you might still enjoy "Son of a Witch" but I would buy the hardcover, rather than purchase the audio cd for this one. The story itself does have its redeeming moments, but this is not going to be a one size fits all.
wonderful follow-up to 'Wicked'. while some characters continue, others are replaced by a new generation. the past and the future do meet
Top reviews from other countries
Firstly this is a review for those who enjoyed the first book. If you didn't enjoy Maguire's original subversion of the classic tale of Oz then it is unlikely that this book is going to do much for you. However, if the concept of the retelling of such a familiar tale and the creation of a whole new world of Oz left you wanting more, then this book is no disappointment.
In this book one of the survivors from the incursion into Kimano Ko is Liir. It was never made clear throughout Wicked who this child was. Bullied by his siblings, and clutching desperately to Elphaba despite her indifference he is now left with nothing. As a result this book is the story of him growing up in the face of a harsh and unforgiving post-Wizard Oz.
At first the socialite and philanthropist Glinda has filled the vacuum of power in the Emerald City, and is then succeeded by the Scarecrow before an all powerful Emperor assumes the throne in the name of the Unnamed God. Religion is perverted to serve power, and the whole of Oz faces the forced conversion to the Unitarianism. In the face of this power is there anyone who is willing to take up the Witch's mantle and defend the defenceless of Oz?
The book is considerably tighter than the original, focused solely on Liir, and only dwelling on others as they come into his life. It is surprising - Liir's personal life does not follow the Technicolor simplicity of the original Wizard of Oz series. This is Oz grown up, gritty and real.
As with Wicked the descriptive talent and storytelling mastery of Maguire is apparent. The man can weave a delicious narrative, and produce something that is a gripping, page turning treat. I think the book serves the reader better than its predecessor in filling in many of the gaps left by Wicked. It is a complete story in itself, perfectly intelligible and enjoyable without the background story of Wicked. But read in tandem it produces a powerful follow up, and one which gives firmer foundations for a trilogy or series of books based on this alternate Oz.
Perhaps most importantly for a book that is fantasy and escapism it is a cracking read, vividly painting the darker side to Oz whilst still producing the characters and storylines that are interesting and indulging.