Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Son of a Witch

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Oh Gregory Maguire how you make me want to put my house on the market and move to Oz.  I am SO intrigued by what goes on between Maguires ears when he writes about a place so real to me now, that I want to look for real estate.  I can not even fathom how he has created such a vivid world with a religious, political, and cultural structure so fictional yet so believable.  I marvel at how he has created a world that the reader is already familiar with and expound on it so drastically giving answers to questions such as: What the heck is the Yellow Brick Road?  Why are there flying monkeys?  Why do lions (or might I say Lions) talk?  In our childhood stories of Oz we have the Wizard, the Wicked Witch of the West, Glenda the good Witch, and the Wicked Witch of the East.  These characters were all part of a fairy tale, but in Maguires Oz they are politicians, and extremists. The citizens of Oz are all of different political minds (some like the Wizard, some like Glenda, some like the Emperor Apostle, some like Elphaba - the Wicked Witch of the West).  All are unhappy with the unrest of their world.  They belong to different religions (Tick-Tockism, The Pleasure Faith, Unionism, Lorleanists).  They belong to different cultures (The Scrow, Yunimata, and Arjikis, Quadlings, Munchkins, and Animals).  Maguire threads together a world so complex that it can only be compared to our own society.  There is nothing flat about Maguires tales of Oz, they are so 3 dimensional, the story lines and the society are so deep and intricate that you feel like you are reading a history book (albeit a very entertaining one). 

In Son of a Witch you return to Oz a few minutes after Elphaba has melted into a big green puddle.  Elphaba's son Liir, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow head out of Kiamo Ko and start the long trek to the Emerald City.  When Liir gets to the Emerald City he starts off on his quest to find his lost childhood friend Nor, find out his origins (he doesn't know for sure if he is Elphaba's Son), and just generally trying to find his place in life.  Along the way he gets mixed up in the politics of Oz, falls in love with a girl and falls in love with a guy.  Tries to live up to Elphaba's legend, rids Oz of dragons, joins the Oz military, and maybe fathers a child (not necessarily all in that order).

Something I LOVE about Gregory Maguire's Oz stories is the language.  He has created such great words for the places and people in his stories.  Kiamo Ko, the Vinkas, Liir, Elphaba, Princess Nastoya, Yackle, Iskinarry.  The list can go on and on.  The names of places and people joined with Maguires fantastic word choices make all his writing poetic.  Can you tell that I heart Gregory Maguire's Oz?

Something that I have to say negative about my experience with Son of a Witch was that I didn't enjoy the audio book version.  The story was read by the author himself and I have to stay that he should stick with writing.  I just didn't love his voices and every few minutes he would take a HUGE intake of breath and it was rather distracting because I would wait for it. 

MOVIE vs. BOOK: I would love to see a movie of Wicked and Son of a Witch.  Not a musical like the play but a dramatic version of both Wicked and Son of a Witch.  I think they would be extremely interesting and entertaining.

RATING: 5 Stars

3 More reviews of Son of a Witch: (none very positive)

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire {Audio Book}
ISBN 9781419362743
12 Discs {14 hours 15 minutes}
Narrated by Gregory Maguire

If you like this book you would enjoy: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire


  1. I loved Wicked, and really liked Son of a Witch, but I've been very afraid to read A Lion Among Men because I'm worried the wonderfulness won't keep continuing. Some of Maguire's other works weren't as fabulous to me, so I'm afraid Lion will fall flat. I read Son of a Witch so long ago that I'll definitely need to re-read it before I read Lion. Nice review!
    Alayne - The Crowded Leaf

  2. I liked Wicked, but gave up on Son of a Witch. Maybe I should try it out again.

  3. Thanks for reviewing this. I got the book when it first came out. I started it but never finished. It was just really depressing to me at the beginning. However, I've been thinking about giving it another try. Thus, I was good to know what someone else thought of it.