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Lit Review: Gregory MaGuire’s ‘Son of a Witch’ & ‘A Lion Among Men’

I read Gregory MaGuire’s ‘Wicked‘ when it first came out back in 1995 – and loved it. I quickly collected and read Greg’s other fairytale adaptations – ‘Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister’, ‘Lost’, and ‘Mirror, Mirror’ – and must admit to being disappointed in these other lackluster tales. Whereas ‘Wicked’ was nothing short of captivating, these other adaptations were confusing and without the heart of MaGuire’s magnum opus. This is largely why I waited over 10 years to read the second and third installements of the Wicked Witch series.

Gregory MaGuire: 'Son of a Witch' + 'A Lion Among Men'

These next two series books were a continuation of Elphaba’s tale {aka the Wicked Witch of the West}, or more specifically those she left behind after her bizarre and accidental death. Now as a youth I was a big fan of the L. Frank Baum ‘Oz’ books and read nearly all of them {there is more than just the Judy Garland as dorothy infamous tale}, and I did like how some of the original little tidbits from Baum’s version did make an appearance – however different – in these two novels.

Gregory MaGuire: 'Son of a Witch' + 'A Lion Among Men'

The book, ‘Son of a Witch’ mostly told the story of Liir – the suspected son of Elphaba. And although he was not a very likeable character – at least in my opinion – it was still a very interesting and at times unexpected story. Liir by the end of the story has learned to fly Elphaba’s broom; impregnated the woman who nursed him back to health; had a relationship with a fellow military man; and met his newborn, green daughter. The end of the book leaves the reader completely confused and wondering what could possibly happen to Liir – and his new daughter.

‘Indeed, she often worried if she were dead, or dying from the inside out, and that was the root of her calm … the reason she could surrender her character.’

The book, ‘A Lion Among Men’ – as assumed – continues the tale of the Cowardly Lion who traveled to the Emerald City with the famed Dorothy, but this tale also assumes to story of Liir’s young playmate Nor and the odd, frightening Mother Yackle. You hear little to nothing about the whereabouts of Liir, his newborn daughter, or his girlfriend – but the inference that they are alive and operating is clear. The Lion’s story is both disheartening and alarming – it is a story of a creature who has no home, no family, and little to no morals. But in the end it seems as if the Lion has turned over a new leaf and is now ready to fight alongside Liir and Nor.

WONDERPUG RATING: 3 stars; while these two stories were not as captivating as Wicked, they were still interesting enough to wet my appetite for the final tome in the series.

Wonderpug Rating: 3 Stars

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