Book Review: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire

NOTE: I feel it is important to clarify that this book is actually part of the “Wicked Years” series. However, I have never read, nor do I plan to read, the rest of the books in this series. As such, I have decided to review Wicked as a stand-alone novel.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
In Baum’s land of Oz, animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. Green-skinned Elphaba, future Wicked Witch of the West, is smart, prickly and misunderstood; she challenges our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Review:

I have never watched the musical Wicked; however, it is on my bucket list and has been on my “MUST SEE” play list for YEARS. It just never fails that when it comes to my area that I can’t make it to the show and I won’t be going to Broadway anytime soon so I decided to read the book in the hopes it would satisfy my craving.

Yeah, that was my first mistake.

I really feel like I should have read the book reviews about this book before I decided to read this book. If I had, I probably would have saved myself the hours it took me to drag myself through this book :S

I just didn’t enjoy this book. It was boring, and just plain weird at times. I also feel like it didn’t answer any of my questions about why the Wicked Witch becomes “Wicked” in the first place. I can see why the events Elphaba has gone through in life would make her “wicked” but it wasn’t enough to convince me. I felt like I should finish the book and sympathize with her character but when I finished, I was indifferent to her. I think the recent Disney movie, Oz, does a WAY better job at explaining the pre-story to the Wizard of Oz than this does.

I only finished this book for the sake of my pride and in the hopes that it would get better. I think for the most part it got a little more interesting for Elphaba once she reaches university but it still wasn’t enough to make me happy that I continued to read the book. I really should have put it down.

From what I have learned, this book is nothing like the musical and thank goodness or else I would be very concerned and curious about how it is so successful!

Conclusion:

This book is definitely more for adults, but I still wouldn’t recommend it for anyone unless they enjoy reading bizarre stories. If you want an interesting prequel for the Wizard of Oz, I highly recommend watching Oz: The Great and Powerful recently released by Disney–much more enjoyable and makes much more sense!

Rating: 1/5
Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Adult, Prequel, Fantasy,
Recommended for: no one, but it is geared more for the 18+ crowd

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