Monday, May 14, 2012

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Son of a Witch
This is the sequel to Wicked: The life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.  This book takes place ten years after the death of Elphaba, Liir is found beaten almost to death and as he lays in a comatose state we find out his adventures since Elphaba’s death.  Liir is tasked by the Elephant princess, Nastoya, to find a cure for her half life and return her to her Elephant body to die.  Liir also tasks himself with finding out what happened to Nor. 
The rich landscape and world of Oz from Wicked is still present in this book, although it seemed a little duller to me.  Maguire’s writing did not seem as rich or insightful in this book as in Wicked.  There was very little social commentary or political intrigue.  Most of the plot is about Liir’s internal struggle to find himself.   Liir’s character did not have the depth that Elphaba did and therefore the internal struggle wasn’t nearly as interesting.  This was a nice continuation of the story to see what happened to Oz after Elphaba’s death, but it just left me wanting something with more meat to it, this was too light   I give it a 3 1/2 star rating.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz
** Note: Third Paragraph has spoilers for both The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
As I stated in my last post I wanted to read the original Wizard of Oz to compare it to Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, so I did. 
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an easy read with short chapters that are perfect for reading one or two chapters to my three year old son as a bed time story each night.  Also, it keeps his attention while reading even though there are no pictures to look at, so that gives the book a big thumbs up from a Mom perspective.  I was surprised at how close to the film version the book is, there were no surprise facts or story lines when reading the book that I didn’t know from watching the movie, which is a kudos to Warner Bros, but it left me a little disappointed that I knew exactly what was going to happen and no surprises.  I give the book a 3 star rating, good story and great for children’s bed time story, but a little slow in some parts.
When I compare the original to Wicked, I was very surprised at how closely Gregory Maguire followed the events of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but with a few creative differences.  For example, in Chapter 3 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Dorothy does have dinner with Boq and his family the same as in Wicked, however in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Boq is  wealthy Munchkinlander and in Wicked Boq is poor.  In Chapter 5 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz we learn how the Tin Woodsman was cursed by the Wicked Witch of the East paid by an old woman whom didn’t want her serving girl to marry him, the same as in Wicked, surprisingly even the payment of a cow and two sheep was the same.  Maguire however made them a Cow and two Sheep, which of course are Animals that can speak rather than the normal animals presented in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz .  I was very surprised to find how closely Maguire followed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s storyline, if I had not already given Wicked a 5 star rating Maguire’s diligence with staying true to the original storyline would have caused me to increase my star rating.  Wicked is about the Wicked Witch of the West, and so the storyline does not meet Dorothy until the final section, but Maguire does a great job of leading us to the meeting and staying true to original chain of events created by L. Frank Baum.