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Wicked (Wicked Years, Bk 1) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Wicked - Wicked Years, Bk 1 - Audio CD - Unabridged Author:John McDonough (Narrator), Gregory Maguire The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West — Following the traditions of Gabriel GarcÍa Marquez, John Gardner and J.R.R. Tolkien, Wicked is a richly woven tale that takes us to the other, darker side of the rainbow as novelist Gregory Maguire chronicles the Wicked Witch of the West's odyssey through the complex... more » world of Oz -- where people call you wicked if you tell the truth.
Years before Dorothy and her dog crash-land, another little girl makes her presence known in Oz. This girl, Elphaba, is born with emerald-green skin -- no easy burden in a land as mean and poor as Oz, where superstition and magic are not strong enough to explain or to overcome the natural disasters of flood and famine. But Elphaba is smart, and by the time she enters the university in Shiz, she becomes a member of a charmed circle of Oz' most promising young citizens.
Elphaba's Oz is no utopia. The Wizard's secret police are everywhere. Animals -- those creatures with voices, souls and minds -- are threatened with exile. Young Elphaba, green and wild and misunderstood, is determined to protect the Animals -- even it means combating the mysterious Wizard, even if it means risking her single chance at romance. Even wiser in guilt and sorrow, she can find herself grateful when the world declares her a witch. And she can even make herself glad for that young girl from Kansas.
In Wicked, Gregory Maguire has taken the largely unknown world of Oz and populated it with the power of his own imagination. Fast-paced, fantastically real and supremely entertaining, this is a novel of vision and re-vision. Oz never will be the same again.
Did you ever wonder how Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, got that way? Maguire tells all in this imaginative, satiric biography of the one character in THE WIZARD OF OZ destined to give children nightmares. John McDonough's narration is smooth and soothing, unfazed by the greenness of Elphaba's skin, the viciousness of her personality or the strangeness of the societies of Oz. -- AudioFile
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire begins decades before Dorothy falls into the scene, with the birth of a strangely green baby girl who has unusually sharp teeth. We follow Elphaba as she grows up, attends university, and falls into the political turmoil behind the scenes at the Emerald City. Maguire paints a detailed background of the realistic politics that shape Oz into the country it is when Dorothy arrives. The Wicked Witch of the West may be a tortured soul, but for different reasons than you had previously thought. The book is perfectly understandable even if you have never seen the movie or read the original book, but several parts are much funnier if you have. The end of the story can drag on if you are not interested in introspective psychological monologues, but flipping past a few pages of internal commentary can speed the story along.
Fairy tale retelling, interesting reading and silly at times, but like the other Maguire book I've read before--Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister--I found it to be a bit slow and draggy in spots, and my attention wandered. Definitely not as good as all the hype had me hoping for. Still, I found the speculation as to the origins of Glinda and Elphaba--and her dead sister and the ruby (actually silver) slippers from L. Frank Baum's tale quite interesting and amusing, as were the political machinations that got the Wizard where was when Dorothy came on the scene a few years later. Maguire certainly has an imagination! I'd like to see the Broadway production of this, though--I bet that would be something!
This book is great. Be prepared that it will not follow your idea of "Oz" with respect to the movie. There are definate "religious" and political undertones. However it will capture your imagination and you won't be able to put it down.
I tried very hard to read this book because I do like the Wizard of Oz etc etc. The start of the book is good, but after that..it really drops off and gets to be rather dull, boring, and hard to follow. Half way through I was disappointed by the book, as I was expecting so much more, and was also disappointed with the content that was put into the book. Why children are reading this book I don't know..but they shouldn't be. Older teens perhaps, but not 8 year olds!! I have heard the musical is very different and have even looked up the differences, and yep, it's really different. I think the musical would make more sense, and move at a faster pace and not be so wordy and full of filler words and content.
I say don't waste your time with this book. Think what you want to think, you'll probably come up with a better story anyways!