Armand's Reviews > Son of a Witch

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
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's review
Feb 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: genre-mod-lit-fic, genre-sci-fi-fantasy, read-2010, source-indy-bookstore
Read from February 18 to March 06, 2010

Really 3.5 stars.

In no particular order:

1. I like that Maguire is an Oz-o-phile and all the random bits of Oz history, religion and legend that make their way into the story. It made me curious as to which parts were thought up by Frank Baum versus what was created by Maguire. It also made me feel like reading the original Oz books and I recently found out I could get all 15 books for 99 cents on Kindle, so yay!

2. The story generally started out very slowly and that was a bit of a drag. It didn't really pick up the plot until about page 240 (2/3's in). When it finally did pick up the pace, it got a lot better however, and I feel like the end made up for some of the circumlocution at the beginning.

3. Maguire narrative voice is very Oz-like. Everyone talks like a cross between a Victorian and a sarcastic leprechaun. The people of Oz (except Dorothy who isn't from Oz anyway) are much more invested in clever wordplay (in their dialogue) that we are today, and that tone informs the story in the face of some very grim scenarios (like mass murder).

4. Guest appearances by Dorothy, her three companions, Good Witch Galinda and flashbacks to Elphaba (the Wicked Witch). Yay!

5. Our protagonist(antihero, really) Liir is interesting, although I wouldn't go as far as to call him compelling.

6. Ever since I've had kids of my own, I've become less and less interested in depressing literature. I certainly admire, but I guess that I just feel like the world is sad enough already, why add to that vibe? Anyway, Son of a Witch is not a tragedy, but it is ambiguous and I just wanted to warn potential readers that there are plenty of horrible events throughout the book (balanced out by some heroic acts of mercy and compassion). Interestingly, the ambiguous nature of the book (especially the ending which is in many ways a great big question mark), did not bother me. I don't mind books that end with questions, although I it made me sad to read that Maguire's next book in the series (which focuses on the Cowardly Lion) seems not to answer the questions that end Son of a Witch.

Overall, I recommend approaching this book with an open mind, studying some of the questions it addresses, admiring the Oz-craftiness and realizing that it's slow going for the first half or so.

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Reading Progress

02/21/2010 page 20
5.68% "The witches son, Liir, is travelling with Dorothy and the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow."
03/01/2010 page 200
56.82% "Kind of a sluggish plot. Nice writing though!"
03/04/2010 page 300
85.23% "The "Third Act" of this book is really good."
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Dxmaniac69 Interested to hear your take on this since I HATED this book.

Armand we shall see...

Dxmaniac69 It's been a long time since I've read this book and I can't do a proper analysis at this point as I can't remember it well enough. However, I do remember the emotions I had in regards to it. As I said I hated the book, and I found it to be a disappointment after Wicked. Primarily, I really disliked Liir as a protagonist. He was too weak for my tastes. I didn't feel like he grew as a character, and that he never really achieved much. He just wandered thru life having things happen to him. (At least, that's how I remember it.) I also remember feeling that the book did nothing to resolve the various plots and mysteries that were established in it and in Wicked. I recall feeling like at the end of the book I knew nothing more then when I had started reading it. Plus, at the time I read it, the Cowardly Lion book hadn't come out yet.

In short, I was put off by the whole book enough not to want to continue to read Maguire

Armand I probably won't read any more of Maguire's Oz stuff either, especially when I heard that the Cowardly Lion book doesn't really follow up on all the questions at the end of Son of Witch.

Although it has inspired me to maybe go back and read the original Wizard of Oz.

Dxmaniac69 I still want to know what the deal with the crazy puppet show from Wicked was. I have a feeling that Maguire is one of these author's who doesn't feel the need to explain his mysteries.

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