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A Lion Among Men

(The Wicked Years #3)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  27,190 ratings  ·  2,008 reviews
In this much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion - the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in Wicked. While civil war looms, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, an enigmatic figure known as Brrr - the Cowardly Lion - arrives searching for information about Elphaba Th ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  27,190 ratings  ·  2,008 reviews

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Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3), Gregory Maguire

The Wicked Years is a series of novels by Gregory Maguire that present a revisionist take on L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, its 1939 film adaptation, and related books. A Lion Among Men is the third novel in Gregory Maguire's The Wicked Years.

The story opens with an impending battle between the Munchkinlanders and the Emerald City (EC) troops.

In the middle of the warzone is the Mauntery which has been a haven for Elphaba, Yack
Jason Koivu
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Yes, A Lion Among Men has them all!

This is the Cowardly Lion's story in a nutshell...and a few other nuts are de-shelled as well. Watching cowards in action is hard to stomach. We forever wish them to be brave, to show some sign of courage. But that is not the Lion's way. Following him on his cowardly journey through life is taxing.

On the other hand, if you're a superfan of Oz - the sort who's at least read the Baum originals if not all of the myriad fanfic o
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, own
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
Dec 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Sandi by: Christmas present from my husband
Shelves: fantasy, 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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 were, exactly, they always felt like connections. I suppose this is due to the fact that the protagonist in this story had litt ...more
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
"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
La La
4.5 stars on the blog.

I loved this book so much that I immediately went on to the last book in the series, Out of Oz.

The .5 star reduction is only because in comparison to Son of a Witch, it pales some in my opinion.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Faith Reidenbach
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
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
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Feb 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-read
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... ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sfcrowsnest
Oh my life, these books are not for me.
Elizabeth Zusin
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Talking animals have always been a fascination for people of all ages. Imagining a lion or even your dog talking would be amazing and everyone has wanted that to happen, to experience that wonder for one second. In A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire, many characters in the book are animals that are able to talk.

A Lion Among Men is the third book in the Wicked Years series. The first book in the series, Wicked, is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz from the Wicked Witch's perspective. This book i
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Kristen (belles_bookshelves)
"Remember to breathe. It is, after all, the secret of life."


I don't rightly know how I feel about this installment of The Wicked Years. On the one side, I love the extra backstory and the expansion of Maguire's universe, but this one, like its predecessor Son of a Witch, felt dragged out and needlessly wordy. I wanted to see how the story ended, but it took so long to reach the point that I was bored and uninterested by the time I got there.
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. ...more
Apr 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2019 added it
The lion is just as annoying as the witch's son. ...more
Hannah smith
Jul 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some parts made sense
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
He hadn't yet had enough experience with humans to know that the thing they hold dearest to their hearts, the last thing they relinquish when all else is fading, is the consoling belief in the inferiority of others.

Ah...the poor Cowardly Lion (AKA Brrr). He never really had a chance: snatched from his parents as a tiny cub (as seen in Wicked, then thrust back into the forest by well-intentioned Shiz University students too young to really fend for himself. But what happened between then and the
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
It has been a while (years, actually) since I read the first two volumes in this series, so I've forgotten many of the details of those stories. But that did little to detract from this third volume, which is a testament to the author's ability to make the books stand on their own. As the title suggests, this is the story of Brrr, known to fans of "The Wizard of Oz" as the Cowardly Lion, told from his point of view. As with the earlier books in this series, Oz is a much more nuanced, complex pla ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
“Children played at those stories; they dreamed about them. They took them to heart and acted as if to live inside them.”

I'm glad I finally made it back to this series, to finish up book 3. I've enjoyed so many of these author's books that it was great to enjoy another. But this one did not hold my attention as much as the previous ones. I loved book one, only liked book 2 and I would put this one as somewhere between just okay and I liked it.

I think something about Elphaba's journey really stru
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Is it worth reading? Is it skippable? 14 103 Nov 22, 2016 11:35AM  
need to read son of a witch first? 9 43 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

Other books in the series

The Wicked Years (4 books)
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)
  • Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years, #2)
  • Out of Oz (The Wicked Years, #4)

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