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Son of a Witch (Wicked Years Series #2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Son of a Witch, the Wicked Years, Book 2

Liir, the assumed son of the Wicked Witch of the West is found near death in the Vinkus, and is nursed by the maunt Sister Candle with a unique ability playing the domingon, guided by the mysterious Mother Yackle, (once again on the sidelines). Liir is a useless, not v...
Liir, the assumed son of the Wicked Witch of the West is found near death in the Vinkus, and is nursed by the maunt Sister Candle with a unique ability playing the domingon, guided by the mysterious Mother Yackle, (once again on the sidelines). Liir is a useless, not very bright, kinda plain and mundane boy who follows Dorothy back to Oz from Kiamo Ko, after the murder of the Witch. On their journey back to see the Wizard, Princess Nastoya begs Liir to promise to return to her, so that he may aid her in separating the Animal from the human in her. No matter how much he protests that he has no talent, and although he never admits that it is him doing it, he is able to fly the broom. (Dorothy's cruelty is more apparent in this sequel, as compared to "Wicked". She is mean to Liir, and annoyed by him being a part of their troop. She's kinda a bully to him.)
Liir meets the Scarecrow, Lady Glinda, and Shell in his search for Nor. Liir returns to Kiamo Ko a couple of times, while on his search for Nor. And in his reunion with Nanny and Chistery, I found it hard to accept that Chistery was able to develop a working use of language.
G.M. really touched and disturbed me when Liir witnesses the tragedy to the Piglet in Southstairs. Which was worse to me than what Shell was actually doing down there. I truly experienced the same feelings that Liir was going through.
Liir is more suited to take orders and not question them. That is why he excels so well in the military. Commander Cherrystone attempts to be a father figure to Liir, (failing to raise him properly in my opinion, by putting orders ahead of doing the right thing).
People's faces are being scraped off in the Vinkus, were the reader, (for Liir is not smart enough to figure this out for himself, he has everything told to him, always), discovers the result of the Wizard obtaining the torn page of the Grimmerie.
Graffiti-ed in the Emerald City of Oz is "Elphaba Lives!" It raises the question, is the Wicked Witch of the West dead? The answer to this, and to whether or not Liir is the son of Elphaba, and does Liir possess the same talents as Auntie, is finally answered in the last 6 pages. (I'm very glad I revisited/read again this fantastic story!)

posted by brjunkie on January 1, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not Wicked, but not Bad either

A year or so ago I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and found it pretty enjoyable and thought provoking. Enough so that I picked up the follow-up book, Son of a Witch. It took a while to finally getting around to reading the second book.....
A year or so ago I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and found it pretty enjoyable and thought provoking. Enough so that I picked up the follow-up book, Son of a Witch. It took a while to finally getting around to reading the second book...and by now I've seen the musical and forgotten elements of the first book (which are definitely radically changed for the musical).

My overall feeling is that Son of a Witch has way too much going on and isn't terribly focused. While Wicked had a moderately clear message it was trying to convey, I often felt lost as to the direction Son of Witch was going. Perhaps it was done intentionally by Maguire to help us feel just as uneasy and confused as Liir. If so, I think it went a little overboard. It also felt like many aspects of the text were there for shock value rather than substance since many of the actions and themes were just dropped in the reader's lap without any further discussion or contemplation by the narrative.

The narrative style was a bit confusing at first, transitioning between current action and dream/coma flashbacks. I got used to that style fairly quickly, but then the coma ended...apparently before Maguire was done with the backstory, because the next many chapters continued the flashback tale even though Liir was no longer in his coma. It wasn't awful, just a little unsettling and felt like bad planning from the author. Once the backstory has finalized, Liir just seems to wander idly around Oz, picking up quest after quest, but not really focusing whole heartedly on any one task. He constantly behaves like a victim of circumstance, all the while bemoaning his fate and his lack of action.

The main storyline, once extracted from all the extraneous threads in the book, was actually fairly interesting. Over the course of Liir's young life, Oz is transitioning between one political faction after another. While the changes of power are relatively free of violence, each new ruler brings new trials, disasters, repressions and violence. The flashback history while Liir's in a coma takes us through a couple of puppet governments (one almost literally with the Scarecrow...though "not Dorothy's Scarecrow") and finally leaving us with the Emperor. Liir becomes aware of the vile machinations of the Emperor and disagrees with the actions of the government. He helps uncover a mystery plaguing many travelers around Oz (a violent and tragic "face scraping" of travelers...which threatens to throw rival groups into war, or at least keep them from any form of peace). Liir even leads a small rebellion against the Emperor, but he really isn't motivated in this and just sort of wanders off.

Generally, this book felt like it was trying to make a number of political and social statements but in the end it just felt like a statement about inaction, complacency and finding your own purpose. Any statement was muddled amid too many distractions. There were many great paragraphs and "sound bites" that would make for cool one-off quotes, but the ideas weren't lasting enough to help pull the book off.

All of that said, I am still interested enough in the vivid and intriguing Oz that Maguire has crafted, such that I will likely seek out the third book (A Lion Among Men) to see what happens next. But sadly, my expectations have fallen a bit.

***
2.5 stars (out of 5)

posted by theokester on June 15, 2009

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    It Was Not Wicked!

    I was disappointed with this book! Wicked was such a great book with a complete story that actually developed as you read it. Unfortunately, the same is not true for Son of a Witch. The story lacked the elements with made us love Elphaba and Glinda. I had a hard time reading this book because it did not pull me in and I was not interested in rehashing Wicked!

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    An ok book but not so great

    It was a slow read. The plot was odd and not very enjoyable.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Blah when compared to Wicked...

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Son of a Witch came close to comparing with Wicked. It seemed to rely too much on the story line from Wicked while not developing much of a new story for a completely different story with a completely different character. The end of the book was a little dull for me, ending abruptly without much elaboration. Now, this isn't to say it's a horrible book - I still enjoyed it for the most part - I just think it was taken down a notch or ten when compared to Wicked. Hopefully A Lion Among Men will be better???

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Sadly disappointing!

    I must say that after reading Wicked, I found Son of a Witch gravely disappointing, especially coming down toward the end. Wicked was the sort of book that I couldn't put down and even after I was finished reading it, I was in a whirlwind of emotions and could not stop talking about it. What happened with Son of a Witch?

    What I did like about the book was that it stirred me intellectually. I actually kept a dictionary handy for whenever I was reading. It stimulated my brain and enhanced my vocabulary.

    However, some of the themes that I wanted more details on were too vague, while other less-appealing themes were drawn out. Also, it was too political! And some of the ideas suggested in this book, I actually found offensive! To add insult to injury, it took me 3 months to complete the book entirely. It was a grave disappointment coming after Wicked. I hope book 3 is better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Disapointing

    I love Wicked. I have recomended it to many of my friends. Unfortunately i believe that Maguire is a one-hit-wonder. Son of a Witch had a great back story but Liir's story is very scattered and difficult to follow. The story just ends with more questions than answers.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Like Milli Vanilli, Son of a Witch was a Huge Lip-Syncing Disappointment

    I really wanted to enjoy this book. Although I didn't read book 1, I've heard there was a musical based on Wicked. So when I saw this book for sale I thought I wasn't going to regret buying it. Even the concept of a mature Oz with political maneuvering, religious persecution, and impending war, had me excited. So what the hell happened? Son of a Witch promised a night full of passion but only delivers 5 minutes of humping with me still waiting to be satisfied. The first part of the book was the only interesting read. After Dorothy and co. leaves the majority of the story quickly becomes boring and slow. Liir is a lame lead character (and bisexual). The fact that this made the New York Best Sellers List is also puzzling. I guess this book is an acquired taste like Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, or Kim Jong Il - your either a fan or not.

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  • Posted January 1, 2011

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    Didnt compare

    Wicked is one of my favorite books. I almost feel like Wicked set the bar way to high; Son of a Witch may not have stood a chance. I like Lirr's story and the concept of the book, however, I was really let down. I found myself borde to tears pretty often. I still look forward to reading Gregs work. Its worth the read if youve read Wicked, I just didnt think it even compared to the orginal story of the witch.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    Wake me up when it's over

    I would really like to praise this book, loved "Wicked", but I just can't. It meanders to the extent that it is difficult to determine the story line.

    Ah ha, I can say one good thing, the last line is a winner. Or, it could just seem that way, since I was so happy to reach the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Just Okay

    Was expecting a much more exciting sequel!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Snore

    I've gotta say....this is the first book that I have put down and not finished reading EVER. I loved Wicked and I loved the idea of this follow-up, but it just was not quite there for me. I got halfway through the book and realized that I just didn't care how the rest of the story turned out; normally I push through and read a book even if it loses my interest, but I simply cannot find a reason to try again with this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    Not nearly as good as I expected it to be!!

    I am so disappointed in this book. I would not put Wicked down until I was finished. With this sequal it has taken me two years to finish it. Can we say BORING! I love the author though so I am purchasing "A Lion Among Men" for myself within the next two weeks. I'll let you know about that one! Hopeflly it will be much better than this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2007

    better than wicked

    I didn't like Wicked. I only read this book because it was a gift, along with Wicked. I did thing that this book was a step up from Wicked. Magurie tends to ramble on and not move the story along. Like he starts story lines that he doesn't finish. Liir relationship with Candle was sweet, I wish we got to see what became of her. The relationship that Liir had with Trism was very unexpected. I would have liked to see where that would go. He definitly left the story open for a sequel, but I wonder if anyone really would care to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have to say this book made me very upset. I absolutely loved Wicked, and I couldn't wait for the sequel to come out, but when I read it I felt every single question that had from both books was left unanswered. I felt cheated out of a real story, and at the end I felt I had wasted my time reading it. I was in utter disbelieve and I hope the author comes out with a third book to actually finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2007

    Not finished yet, hope it gets better

    Reading the first 100 pages, I found myself feeling lost. It's been a while since 'Wicked' came out, and I would have benefited from some more references to the previous story. I'm determined to hang in there and see this through. I'll write a new review if I find this gets better. But right now, it holds steady at disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    VERY Disappointed!

    I agree with other reviewers. This was a HUGE disappointment. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Wicked! Son of a Witch started off very awkwardly with Dorothy in the story, I was very happy when she was gone. I also agree that there were few, if any, questions answered from Wicked Nor, Fiyero's death, Elphaba, Glinda, Wizard, etc etc etc. I thought the book went way overboard in the descriptions of the landscapes,towns, etc. I found myself skipping those sections in hopes that the story would finally get interesting. Hated the ending, except for the faint idea that Elphaba's story might live on in a SEQUEL of course! I thought Liir was a weak, boring, and uninteresting character. And as with most readers I hoped for more Elphaba. I was shocked with the ending, and the lack of answers to every question the author created in both books. There were just far too many stories/characters created that were never followed through in my opinion. The reader is left feeling cheated and confused. It's obvious a sequel will follow because there is no closure to any character or storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    What a colossal waste of time!

    Like others, I also enjoyed Wicked and have read it numerous times, but I've been disappointed by all of Maguire's other forays into this genre. This book, however, was by far the most disappointing. There should be a warning lable on the cover that says, 'Warning! This sequel is nothing more than a setup for yet ANOTHER sequel.' Virtually nothing actually happens in this novel it only opens up questions for the writer to try and suck you into a series. There's nothing wrong with series, however the writer should try and make each book stand on its own. This book does not do that. There is absolutely no closure and I actually found myself angry once I had finished it. If only Maguire could give me back the portion of my life that I wasted on this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Oh, the mighty have fallen

    After reading Wicked, I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on Son Of A Witch, hoping that the mysteries and questions drawn from the first book would soon be told and I could rave and rant about the book just like I always do after I have finished a masterpiece and feel a sort of completance in myself to have read such an amazing book. But after finishing this book, I can't say I was extremely excited actually, I was quite upset about it for a couple days. The book ended in such a way that had no even relation to what I had thought it was supposed to be about. I pondered whether the author had combined the beginning of one book with the end of another they were that unconnected. I felt very disappointed after reading this book and only wish that the author was under some kind of psychiatric care during the writing of this book so he can still uphold his standings as an author in society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2006

    bland and confusing

    I read Wicked and absolutely loved it, so I was stoked when I found out there was a sequel. Too bad it was the hardest book to read that I have attempted in a long time. Random exciting things happen here and there but overall, it was pretty bland. Lots of questions remain unanswered, like is he Elphaba's son? Is he gay? Is Nor alive, and if so, why does Liir never freakin find her? I was pretty disappointed with this book, but Wicked is still an awesome read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2006

    What?

    This book was...terrible for lack of a better word. I absolutely loved Wicked (it's one of my all-time favorites) and yet this book, for me, crashed and burned. When I first saw it in the store I was ecstatic, I love Maguire- I have all (and have read all) of his books. However, this book fell very short of the standards he had set up for himself after he wrote Wicked. I admit Maguire had some good ideas, but they all just seemed to kind of fizzle out...there were too many loose ends and very little character development. Overall this book was bland. Nevertheless, I did like the ending, it was rather unexpected and charming. Now if he had kept the ending and changed everything else, I would've been one happy reader. I sincerely hope that Maguire will right himself- and soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Excellent Story, Poor Reading

    Apparently Mr. Maguire hasn't made enough money. That's the only reason I can imagine for not choosing a professional to read this book. I listen to audiobooks during my long commute to work, and I find myself lost in the world of OZ with the many fascinating characters and sub-plots. With this book, however, I often find myself jerking back to reality because the reading is so amateur it is painful to hear. I recommend this book highly. Just don't get the audio form because it's pathetic.

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