I came upon the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West years ago, completely by accident when Cranky Boss Lady's neighbor lent her a copy. CBL was underwhelmed and made it to page 9 one quiet afternoon at the flower shop before giving up. Knowing my voracious appetite for books of all types, she asked me if I wanted to give it a try before she gave it back to her neighbor.
I was dubious--while I read pretty widely, I venture into the realm of "fantasy" titles only rarely. In addition, at the time the book was being offered the hype around the Broadway musical was at an astronomical pitch and that sort of thing tends to be off-putting to my inner contrarian. But it was a really, really quiet afternoon at the flower shop and I was bored with the book I had brought with me so I gave it a shot.
I kind of don't blame CBL for giving up after the first 9 pages. It's a little slow to start, but somewhere shortly after page 9, something happens, not so much in the story at first, but in the hypnotic rhythms of Maguire's language. I was drawn in--seduced even--by Maguire's voice in that first book, which was unlike any I've ever read.
After Wicked, it was eventually on to Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men, each of which I read with a growing sense of amazement: Maguire had somehow made me want to spend time with talking Animals [sic] and well-worn characters like Dorothy and the Good and Wicked Witches. More surprisingly, he made me actively care about their fates.
Finally, finally, finally comes Out of Oz, the final book in the series, released in November. As with all the books in the series, I was so drawn in to the world Maguire has created (on a foundation laid by Frank Baum, of course, and even to some extent to the 1936 movie version of The Wizard of Oz) that it was sometimes hard to drag myself back to the by-comparison-black-and-white reality of my world.
I am not sure what more I can (or should) say about a book for which I was willing to risk not exactly life, but limb, so I will stop my blathering now and just say if you're looking for something to immerse yourself in, give Wicked a try and see where the Yellow Brick Road leads you.
Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Satisfied.
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