Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire

Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire
Release Date: 6th December 2000
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: eBook
Pages: 406
Rating: DNF

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY, 2013 OTS, 2013 EBC and 2013 BSR

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"In Baum's land of Oz, 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. Green-skinned Elphaba, future Wicked Witch of the West, is smart, prickly and misunderstood; she challenges our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil."

I thought I would enjoy this a lot more than I did. Anything and everything that includes a retelling, or reimagining, of a classic story or fairytale, is something that I'm bound to love. But, I just didn't love this. And I think the problem is, when you strip this back, and take away the fact that it's set in the Wonderful Land of Oz, and our main protagonist is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, then what you end up with is a purely political book. And thats just not something I'm interested in.

I've wanted to read this for years, ever since I read one of Maguire's book way back when I was in high school. Seeing Wicked in the theatre only made me more interested, so when I acquired this one sometime last year, I added to to be TBR and was super excited to read it at some point this year. And now that I've read about 300 pages, I'm very disappointed. The fantabulous that I was expecting, probably because I expected it to follow the same plot as the musical, wasn't there. Instead I had a really political book, with our main character Elphaba fighting for animal rights. Which is all well and good, but this isn't the story I was looking for. I was looking for the forbidden romance between Elphaba and Fiyerio (which I did get, but it was cut waaaay to short), the warring between best friends Elphaba and Glinda, the downfall of Nessarose, Elphaba's preaching sister, destined to be the Wicked Witch of the East. Maybe if I had read further I would have gotten this - but with only 100 or so pages to go, its a bit late to be introducing these storylines.

I will give Maguire credit for taking a classic evil character and showing her in a new light. Elphaba was brought to be the Wicked Witch of the West through cirucmstance - her crusade for animal rights pitted her against the Wizard, painted as a dictator leader. I'm assuming the loss of her lover, Fiyerio, also pushed her onto this path. Since I didn't finish the novel, I don't really know, but everything Elphaba did seemed to make sense, given the context. Elphaba is a human, not just an evil character.

This is the first time that I've DNF-ed a book. I've always had the view of pushing through to the end, even if I wasn't enjoying the novel, because sometimes, the best things happen at the end. But as days crawled by where I didn't even touch this book, thoughts of putting this book down and picking something up eventually came. And with that, I picked up The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And I loved it. I flew through it in a couple of days, and so I thought of picking this one up again. But, I went for something else, and it's become apparent to me that I won't be picking this one up again.

1 comment:

  1. I can see why you might have not finished this one. I loved it, but it is for a select group. The majority of it depends on not only getting, but being interested in the hoards of political references. My son hated it.
    -Dilettantish Reader


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