Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I knew I wanted to read Wicked after seeing the entertaining theatical production inspired by the novel last year. Not suprisingly, the novel was far different from the upbeat and funny musical, darker and brooding, with deeper traces and pathways from the source materials.

Maguire's mediation on Elphaba's (the Wicked Witch) formation spans her birth (with green skin that immediately casts her as an outsider) and troubled upbringing, to her headstrong young adulthood when her idealism pits her against the statist propaganda and discriminatory policies of the Wizard, and, finally, to her emergence as the Wicked Witch, when her idealism gives way to cynicism and she becomes no better than those she formerly railed against.

I recommend Wicked for anyone who enjoys well-crafted literary fantasy, and, of course, fans of the movie and original story. That said, fans of the musical who are looking for a novel that reads and feels like the theatical production may want to steer clear of the book.

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