The second dazzling and entrancing novel in Gregory Maguire's bestselling Wicked series
Gregory Maguire is a bestselling author who has earned rave reviews and a dedicated following for Wicked". He received his doctorate in English Literature from Tufts University, and has taught at Simmons College and other Boston area colleges. He has also served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Hambridge Center. Gregory has lived in Dublin and London, but now makes his home near Boston, Massachusetts, with his partner, their two sons and daughter.
Adult/High School-Son picks up where Maguire's highly successful Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995) left off, with the death of Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West. She left behind a daughter, Nor, and Liir, who may or may not be her son. After her death, he enters into a decade of listless soul searching. He travels for a time and then joins the military, enjoying the structure it provides his life. But eventually his rearing by the Witch as well as his possible heritage catch up to him and he finds himself in demand to start a new revolution against the tyranny of Emerald City. An odd series of disfiguring murders starts occurring all across Oz. Liir discovers that the new Emperor sits behind the machinations and uses the strange killings to spread distrust among the various races of the land. Wielding Elphaba's flying broom and donning her magical cape, Liir makes some small but bold gestures that help the populace of Oz and replants the seeds of hope that Elphaba spread a generation before. Son is a tighter work than Wicked, making deft use of flashbacks and varying viewpoints to create a quicker pace. And Liir's quest-both to find himself and to save the people of Oz-is easier to believe than the motivations that drove the bitter yet heroic Elphaba. A well-written, well-crafted fantasy that can stand on its own.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
With a voice that sounds a bit like Richard Dreyfuss on helium, Maguire does a solid if somewhat unconventional job of narrating his own novel. His pace, like his prose, is deliberate and thoughtful. His creativity and imagination shine in his ability to provide his strange characters (not a human among them) with equally unusual voices. It is not the tonal range that makes his delivery interesting, though; it's the cadence and timbre of the voices that win the listener over. Liir, who may or may not be the son of the Wicked Witch of the West, is read with a detached, depressed air, an adolescent with ennui looking for his lost half-sister, Nor. Candle, the Munchkin girl who becomes his sweetheart, has a voice that sounds almost like backwards masking. A short interview with Maguire is an added value on the final disc; he says he enjoys the recording process and that the inspiration for the book was twofold: the many letters from young fans asking what happened to Nor, last seen as a chained political prisoner, and seeing the Abu Ghraib torture photographs. This one-two punch left an itch that could only be scratched by writing Son of a Witch. Simultaneous release with the Regan Books hardcover (Reviews, July 18). (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This sequel to the adult fairy tale Wicked (1995)-later adapted as the hit musical of the same name-begins ten years after the destruction of Elphaba, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West. In Maguire's dark version of the Land of Oz, there's not much to ring the bells for in the Emerald City, despite the tyrannical Wizard's departure. Corruption is rife, political factions compete for power, and radicals proclaim "Elphaba lives!" Elsewhere, a horribly injured young man called Liir wakes in the religious House of Saint Glinda to many puzzles. Who tried to kill Liir? How did an enigmatic Quadling girl revive him? Why is he expected to take up a quest on behalf of sentient Animals? Above all, was Elphaba his mother? These and other questions drive a tale that adroitly mixes drama, humor, and political satire into a well-knit examination of good and evil-and leaves several doors open for future journeys over the rainbow into this cleverly constructed dystopia. Recommended for most fantasy collections.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.