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A Lion Among Men (Wicked Years, #3)
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A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years #3)

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  18,655 ratings  ·  1,653 reviews
The third extraordinary novel in the New York Times bestselling series the Wicked Years, featuring The Wizard of Oz's beloved Cowardly Lion
Paperback, Advance Reader's Edition, 312 pages
Published 2008 by Harper Collins
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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zappernapper
Nov 30, 2008 zappernapper rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the series
Shelves: fiction, maguire, oz
To be honest... I'm getting frustrated with Maguire. His first book in the series (Wicked) has received national (if not global) acclaim, as it rightly should. I was originally entranced by Maguire's ability to reinvent Oz while still keeping the classical whimsical elements alive, in fact fleshing them out by putting them in a realistic and harsh reality of social commentary. However, with the introduction of Son of a Witch, about which he has said he never planned for, Maguire has gone on to t...more
Kristen
So. The third book in what's now referred to as The Wicked Years. Alright. I adore Wicked, both in its written and musical forms. Son of a Witch was a decent sequel. And I was really excited when I learned that we'd get the Lion's perspective in all this.

Brrr is on Emerald City business, in search of the oracle Yackle, who was mentioned in Madame Morrible's notes. Why? Mostly in search of both The Grimmerie, Elphaba's book of magic, and Liir, her son. Yackle was often on the outskirts of Elphab...more
Sandi
Jan 11, 2009 Sandi rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandi by: Christmas present from my husband
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsay
Considering how much I enjoyed Wicked, and how much more I enjoyed Son of a Witch, I found A Lion Among Men disappointing. I was all geared up to find out what happens with Liir and you-know-what-from-the-end-of-Son of a Witch, but the third book in this series barely mentions him. Instead, this book focuses primarily on the Cowardly Lion and his life experiences, and touches a bit on Fiyero's daughter.
I found the author's language annoying, if not incomprehensible at times (or maybe I just did...more
Megan
I really love Gregory Maguire's writing style, and I love where he has gone with this story over the three novels. The structure of this book, however, felt somewhat scattered--it wasn't until the end, the last few chapters, where I started to feel that it had any coherency, unlike in Son of a Witch, where although it may not have always been clear what the connections where exactly, they always felt like connections. I suppose this is due to the fact that the protagonist in this story had littl...more
Miles
After the rushed feeling of "Son of a Witch", MacGuire redeems himself with this novel... it made me feel as if some wounds were healed for both the reader and the characters.
Bruce
What a disappointment! Wicked was an act of amazing and original brilliance, taking a world that we are all familiar with, and turning it completely upside down. Brilliantly imagined and equally brilliantly realized, one of its strongest suits was the way in which Maguire took elements of the original books, (not just Wizard) and wove them together into a familiar and yet wholly new world.

Since then, his approach to the series feels labored and incomprehensible to me. Son of a Witch was weak, a...more
Jamieson
It has been three long years since we last traveled to OZ. And much has changed.

The land, once joined together, is now separated into two parties: those that support the current Wizard of OZ and the Munchkinlanders who long to be free and their own people.

It is not the OZ we’ve come to know. It is an OZ on the brink of war and on the cusp of social change. Whether it is change for the better remains to be seen.

Heedless of the turmoil of OZ that surrounds him, Brr, The Cowardly Lion, is on a miss...more
Sam
"Wicked" was fantastically drawn, while at the same time intriguingly vague and introspective. In my opinion it was a masterpiece. "Son of a Witch" and now "A Lion Among Men" only make blind attempts at creating the same mystique; they stumble along the way and end up a jumble of meaningless revelations that do nothing but create a more convoluted and less intriguing story. At the same time that story has none of the charm of "Wicked". Fleeting references to and reimaginings of the original Oz b...more
Suzanne
Arg! Just finished this last night, and it has the same curse as "Son of a Witch," in that it reveals just so much, but leaves you with so many more questions. I'd really hoped, for the satement of my curiosity, that this would be the last book, in which all is revealed. But, no. Which some day will be magnificent, when we sit down with the many books in this series, a cup of coffee, a warm blanket, and days and days ahead to gorge on this delightful brain candy. For now, I am agonized over the...more
Tristan
Maguire is a fantastic world builder and blew audiences away with Wicked back in 1995. Lion continues in this tradition, but offers no characters that differ greatly from those in Wicked. Maguire has a tendency of making all his characters very similar: Incredibly pessimistic and overly verbose. Often they sound like depressives who have just walked out of a thesaurus. But what is more unfortunate is that Maguire tries to substitute this pessimism for the guiding philosophy of the book. By empha...more
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
It took me ages to get into this book. It's not the best of the series by far. I didn't even Like Brr or Yackle. You do learn a lot more about Yackle though. It is funny in parts too. The ending left room for more books. Eh...
Kylie
Ever seen the clip from the old school Hercules movie in which the demi god throws his fists in the air and bellows at the top of his lungs, "Disappointeeeeeed!!!"" .... Upon finishing this book, that is exactly what I did, but I'm a nerdy ginger not a demi god, so the effect may have been less impactful. I adored Wicked, tolerated Son Of A Witch, and despised A Lion Among Men. I kept reading this last book hoping all the while that the everlasting backstory would turn into a decent plot, but my...more
Faith
Disenchanted. That's what I am with Gregory Maguire. This book is almost completely backstory; we learn nothing more about Liir and Tristam and Candle and the new arrival. The part of the story that does advance moves only about 3 inches, and it was no mystery who the handmaiden of the clock is anyway. And Yackle's story--if you have to summarize it at the end, it wasn't well delivered. Speaking of the ending, it was ponderous, and Maguire could have done better than use a literal deus ex machin...more
Stacey
I love Maguire's style and use of language. As he writes, I can hear his voice narrating and performing (which is why I won't spoil it with the audiobook, Maguire himself is a wonderful performer, and it was a delight to see him in person.) Lion is not as compelling as the previous two books, but gains momentum with the reappearance of Yackle, and the subsequent explanation of the character.
Morgen
The third book in Maguire's return to Oz fills in some gaps in the ongoing storyline, and has a few moments, but overall falls short of the entrancing epic of "Wicked."
I enjoyed the book, and am glad to have read it, but wouldn't put it in the 'classic' status like "Wicked" or in my "must read again" bookshelf.
Cassy
I have read a lot of Gregory Maguire’s books and some I’ve enjoyed and some have been really terrible. He’s one of those authors that is really hit or miss. Luckily, A Lion Among Men was a hit and one of the first of this series.

The first book of Maguire’s that I ever read was Wicked and, while it started out very promising, ended on a more sour note. I had also heard negative reviews about the sequel to Wicked and never ended up reading it. So when I picked this book up, the story of the Coward...more
Lindsey
As I said about Son of A Witch, it't not Wicked, but it's still good. It focuses in on the Cowardly Lion, a character who's had his fair share of bad luck, one of those people who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I really just wanted him to find some happiness for once! The Lion, in an attempt to regain favor in society, is on a mission for the Emerald City to find out more about Elphaba (the dead Wicked Witch), her supposed son, and this magical book that she was rumored to have....more
Yael
Continuing the saga of The Wicked Years, A Lion Among Men is the story of Sir Brrr, a.k.a. the Cowardly Lion of Oz, and his quest to find out his own origins. Also tasked by the throne of Oz with acquiring any information he can find about the late Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, he comes to the mauntery known as the Cloister of Saint Glinda to interrogate an ancient oracle known as Yackle on what she might know about the dead witch. In return, Yackle wants some ansers of her own,...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Sep 29, 2009 Nicholas Karpuk rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oz Fans, Cowards, Chickens, Sissies
It's hard to make a compelling story about a coward. They tend to avoid the sort of exciting things people write stories about. If there's any universe a coward could work in as a protagonist, it's the Wicked Year, where failure comes practically guaranteed.

The authenticity of the Cowardly Lion (whose name was established as Brrr in the first book) relies on the realism of his cowardice. It's not the sort where he immediately screams and runs, it's the consistency of his bad decision making. Giv...more
Elaine
Jul 15, 2010 Elaine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes satire mixed with fantasy
The final book of Gregory Maguire's trilogy loses none of the magic and bite of Wicked and flows more easily than Son of a Witch, perhaps because it doesn't get lost in the dungeons of Emerald City as that one did. Maguire's prose is itself often magical. We see starry nights as amazing as Van Gogh's, hear music from oak string trees, and see characters morfing as in an Anime film or even a cartoon. The amazing assortment of characters continue: dwarfs, Munchkins, Animals, animals, winged women,...more
Amy
This book focuses on the Lion as its central character, who, after the brief time as part of Dorthy's entourage, becomes a very low-level government employee seeking information about the lost son of the Wicked Witch of the West. My general feeling at the end of the book was that the climax was unsatisfactory (and difficult even to determine), and the Lion's story seemed to begin in the middle and end before anything of importance happened. I never like to be set up for the next book. But this s...more
Rebecca
I'll start this out simple; Maguire has yet to equal the writing he exhibited in Wicked. This being said, A Lion Among Men was a much stronger novel than Son of a Witch.

I don't get the sense that Maguire's writing abilities have improved since Wicked was published. Fortunately, he created a truly brilliant character back then in the form of Yackle. It is Yackle's presence that gives this novel much of its metaphysical spark and devious humor. She develops a rapport with the lion that is enterta...more
Kathryn
I realized while reading 'A Lion Among Men" that my main reason for disliking "Son of a Witch" had nothing to do with Gregory Maguire's skill as a writer: I didn't WANT a new book. I wanted to be able to read "Wicked" for the first time again. Failing that, I wanted to read more behind-the-scenes stories, and have minor characters from the first book in the trilogy tell the story from their point of view. "Son of a Witch" didn't have much of that (and watching Liir flail around helplessly got an...more
Marcie
LOVING this book. Every other page I want to mark a quote. Thought Wicked was intriguing, Son of a Witch, fabulous. This is even better.

Maguire is either an Asperger's person or intimately knows someone who is, as he so perfectly describes the journey of a character who grew up with no social interaction abandoned in a forest (King of the Forest?), and slowly learns the art of conversation and dealing with people and relationships through eventual painful life experience. Beautifully and brillia...more
Scot
As I got to the closing chapters I was a bit disappointed this lacked the sense of finality I anticipated. That means for sure there must be a fourth book on the way. This installment tells the tale of the Cowardly Lion, as his life course overlaps with the Oz careers of Dorothy, Elphaba, Liir, and Mother Yackle. It also offers the opportunity to learn more of the mysterious and tantalizing Grimmerie. Satisfying as another of Maguire's counter-fairy tales, where even magical lands are revealed t...more
Michelle
Finally done with this. Maguire has a nice way of putting words together, but unfortunately that didn't help in any way to create compelling characters or even a real story in this book. I kept finding myself bored and questioning what the point of it was. This series has declined so sharply I can only imagine the fourth book is well and truly unreadable. A Lion Among Men was very close to that itself. I gave it two stars instead of one because there were some nice passages - a few noteworthy se...more
Kelly
This is the third book in the Wicked series and follows the Cowardly Lion as everybody keeps reminding him. Interestingly enough he is a misunderstood Animal who cannot seem to fit in the human world, nor the Animal world so playing on the feelings both societies have for him he acts as a spy to find information for the Wizard.....or is he?. It is interesting to follow the Lion before during and after the Dorothy meeting. We also got to learn a little bit about the Tin Man and a clock character....more
Heather G Gentle
This one was better than I expected actually. I'd heard a lot of negative reviews from friends and other folks I know.

No-- it's not Wicked. But evaluating it on it's own I thought it was pretty good. I loved Brrr's personality and the fact that he was a vegetarian. I found myself laughing quite a bit-- the humor was definitely there, in fact I felt it more in this book than the others.

The other thing I really liked is that I found this the easiest to read. I didn't have to go back and re-read b...more
Brad
i loved this. maguire writes in a way that really attaches the reader to the characters. the characters or fully realized with little idiosynchracies and foibles. this wasn't as interesting as his second "wicked" novel as i believe the second seemed to be more of a set up for something else. this one felt like a real continuation of the story. there were revelations and intrigue and it sparked a desire to know more. to have the story continue. i sort of fell in love with the cowardly lion despit...more
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Is it worth reading? Is it skippable? 12 75 May 18, 2014 12:33PM  
need to read son of a witch first? 9 38 Aug 20, 2012 05:40PM  
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Gregory Maguire is an American author, whose novels are revisionist retellings of children's stories (such as L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked). He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children'...more
More about Gregory Maguire...
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years #2) Mirror Mirror Out of Oz (The Wicked Years, #4)

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“Waking up was a daily cruelty, an affront, and she avoided it by not sleeping.” 86 likes
“A male usually had made up his mind before you began to talk to him -so why bother?- but a female, because her mind was more supple, was always prepared to become more disappointed in you than she had yet suspected possible.” 60 likes
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