Son of a Witch
Oatsie Manglehand, a woman who leads the Grasstrail Train, discovers the body of a young man, badly bruised and near death, by the side of a road in the Vinkus. Oatsie brings the man to the Cloister of Saint Glinda. The Superior Maunt recognizes the young man and identifies him as Liir, the young boy who left the Cloister with Elphaba a decade or so ago.
His care is given to Candle a Quadling girl who plays the, a Quadling guitar-like instrument. This among other things helps guide Liir back to consciousness. When Liir is better he and Candle go to the apple farm and then Liir goes onto the conference of the birds where he is asked to become the human ambassador for the birds.
While in the Emerald City, he sees Trism bon Cavalish, who informs him that the Emperor Apostle, the current ruler of Oz, is none other than a born-again Shell. Trism also reveals the dragons are sent out to terrorize the population of Oz and ensure submission to the Emperor's authority. Liir convinces Trism to help him destroy the dragons, and after poisoning their food, they recover Elphaba's broom and cloak and flee the City. Liir leaves a note saying he has kidnapped Trism, signing himself "Liir, son of Elphaba" this is the first time Liir claims to be Elphaba’s child.
During their flight, Liir and Trism become lovers. They eventually end up at the Cloister of Saint Glinda. Liir leaves on Elphaba’s broom returning to the Conference of Birds, Liir flies about Oz, collecting and training a huge flock of Birds, which he leads to the Emerald City. Over the City, they fly in formation as a huge representation of the Witch, with Liir as "the keen black eye of the Witch."
Returning to Apple Press Farm, Liir finds Candle is gone, but he finds wrapped in Elphaba's cloak a newborn baby who he initially thinks is dead but revives under his care. Holding the baby up to the rain to wash away the birth blood, she "cleans up green."
The narrative is not chronological for the first part of the book: in the first two sections but shifts between the time when Liir left Kiamo Ko after the death of Elphaba to the time when Candle and Liir leave the Cloister. The second two sections tell the story chronologically from Candle and Liir's arrival at Apple Press Farm to the end. Maguire clearly feels most comfortable with inventing in this book, most of this novel is set after the original Oz story ends. The little bit we see Dorothy in this story she is a difficult pain and the other characters are equally not as convincing. Overall it is a transition novel as many of the storylines remain unresolved and set the stage for the coming conflict that can be anticipated in Maguire's next book.
Felt like a preview for the next book in the series. I loved Wicked, but this book wasn't as good. the story dragged and the ending felt empty, like I just read a 300+ page introduction to another story.
I really enjoyed Wicked, but I just couldn't get into this one. Honestly I didn't even finish it, which is saying something for me. I always finish books, even if I don't really like them.