Monday, March 16, 2009

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This book got really long about half way through. It didn't make a lot of sense to me until the end, when it all starts to come together. It's a reimagining of the Wizard of Oz, telling the life story of the wicked witch. The plot really drags in the fourth part, when the witch holes herself up in response to a devastating blow. This is definitely an adult-oriented story, with a few sex scenes, starting from the beginning. The very beginning is pretty catchy, and the scenes of the education Elphaba (the witch) receives at the school in Shiz are an enjoyable, much more sinister take on Harry Potter. This book gets a little lost in its own mythology, though, and the "serious" discussion of evil conducted in dialogue toward the end of the book seems a little laughable. If the book is concerned with the nature of evil, it ought to be expressed more in the plot of the story than in this one piece of dialogue. Throughout, the book is more political about evil than it is moral or philosophical. That can be a good thing, but in this case it is kind of a drag. The witch is sympathetic, but she doesn't really rise to the level of tragic hero or even anti-hero. The mistakes she makes at the end are tragicomic, though, I guess. The end almost makes up for the fourth part of the book, but I wish the author could have made more of Dorothy.
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