Book Review: Gregory Maguire’s Wicked

Click on the image to open the book's Goodreads page.

Click on the image to open the book’s Goodreads page.

recommendedTitle: Wicked
Author: Gregory Maguire
Published: September 29, 1995
Publisher: Harper
ISBN13: 9780061350962
Format: Paperback
Series: The Wicked Years
Acquisition: Gift from a friend

Purchase at: Amazon

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

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The Commencement: This book was mostly recommended to me by my brother. He kept on telling me that it’s really good so I put it on my reading list. I was mostly interested because of the Wicked musical. I just LOVE broadway even though I don’t really get to watch much. I love watching plays in general, even if it’s just a small production at my university. I hope to see Wicked when it comes to our country, which is pretty soon (*excited*). Although I’m pretty sure that they changed a lot from the book.

The Cover: I’m not sure if the cover was influenced by the musical or if this was made before the musical. But it surely resembles the broadway poster. I think that it’s pretty enough. Not totally stunning, but beautiful in its own way. I like how the sides of the pages are colored to match the cover (green for this book, red for the 2nd, orange for the 3rd). The first cover was great, too. The book also has some illustrations for each part, which was quite nice.

The Composition: Honestly, I thought this book would be really silly because of the broadway version and its basis was a fairy tale. But I was so wrong. I was really surprised by the mature content in this book. This was more than just putting a twist to the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; this was a very twisted version of the original fairy tale. This multifaceted novel revolves around love, friendship, family ties, conspiracy theories, racism, religion, and so much more. I was surprised at how deep and philosophical it was, which made it a little heavy for reading. Some parts were a breeze to read, but some challenged me into thinking about the world, human condition and such. I must admit that it took me a while to finish it because I had to pause at times, and just let myself absorb things. This book had a lot of things going on, and I found some of the parts boring. But those were only few anyway – it was more enthralling if anything.

The Characters: There were a LOT of characters in this book. I sometimes forget who’s who when they haven’t been mentioned for a couple of pages. I would sometimes think “I know this name. Who or what is he/she again?” I am sometimes bad with names too. Despite that, there were a lot of interesting characters. I shall only discuss two characters for this review – Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch).

Elphaba was a freakish but adorable little child, but she grew up to be a very caring person. She was outspoken about the things that she believed in, and she also injected a lot of humor in her conversations, which made me like her so much. She put her life in danger to help out others despite her “deformity” that made her easily noticeable. I think that she was a really great main character – very amusing and entertaining.

I was so surprised by the portrayal of Glinda because I had always known her as the good witch. But in Wicked, she started out as a haughty young girl who even said bad things about Elphaba. She changed a little along the way though. She ended up being good friends with Elphaba. I just don’t understand her motive in binding the magical shoes to Dorothy’s feet. Can someone explain that to me? I don’t understand what her intentions were.

The Couple: The romance in this book was short-lived. A lot of things prevented the couple from completely being together, which is kind of sad. I do, however, like that Maguire showed this side of Elphaba – capable of falling in love and being truly loved.

The Charm: I like how a whole new perspective was given to the Wicked Witch of the West. Maybe she wasn’t so wicked after all.

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The Conclusion: Overall, I liked this book. It was a great re-imagination of L. Frank Baum’s tale.Things aren’t always as they seem, and we must look deeper within. This book has a great story filled with action, love, humor, fantasy, and so so much more. I give this book 4.5 stars!

RATING:

4.5-star

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Disclaimer:

  • This is all based on personal opinion, and as much as I’m open to other people’s opinions, I hope you understand that this is based on what I feel. I avoid giving out spoilers as much as possible, too.
  • I do not own most of the images I use, and some may be subject to editing.
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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Gregory Maguire’s Wicked

  1. I have this book on my shelf and I really want to read it! It may get pushed up on the list of books to read before summer is over! Wonderful review! 🙂

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