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A Lion among Men (Wicked Years Series #3)

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Overview

Since the publication of Wicked, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion.

At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men is written with the ...

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A Lion among Men (Wicked Years Series #3)

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Overview

Since the publication of Wicked, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion.

At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.

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Editorial Reviews

No Source
A New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, and USA Today bestseller
Los Angeles Times
“Maguire’s work is melodic, symphonic and beautiful; it is dejected and biting and brave. . . . In fabulous details and self-mocking language, Maguire displays his gift for whimsical portrayals of the broken, the powerless, the hopeless, the bad.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune
“The minute you open A Lion Among Men, you’re back in Maguire’s exquisitely detailed environment, caught up once again in his geography, his characters, his worldview, touched anew by the loneliness that lurks in the heart of all things.”
USA Today
“Much to savor, laugh at, and think about. . . . A page-turning fantasy and a timely political allegory.”
New York Daily News
“Engrossing...Maguire is a masterful storyteller with an uncanny flair for mixing political and personal while exploring what it means—and what it costs—to be accepted in a society.”
Booklist
“As usual, Maguire, a seasoned fabulist, populates his version of Oz with a cast of utterly fantastical characters who must face their own inner demons while tumult and uncertainty rages around them. An absolute must-read for fans of this ever-evolving dark fairy tale.”
Christian Science Monitor
“So well-crafted that readers of all ages could enjoy witnessing Brrrr’s transformation from an insecure kitten in the woods to a compassionate, engaged ‘manimal.’”
Albany Times Union
“This Oz goes far beyond L. Frank Baum’s; it’s as surreal as a dream, but as immaculately and impeccably detailed as history. Maguire’s wizardlike grasp over every aspect of this reinvented land rivals classic literary landscapes like Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.”
The American Chronicle
“The third book in Maguire’s Wicked Years is at once funny, charming, harrowing, bleak and incredibly beautiful.”
Publishers Weekly

The entertaining third installment of bestseller Maguire's Wicked Years series, a revisionist chronicle of L. Frank Baum's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, examines the tragically misunderstood life of the Cowardly Lion before and after his adventures with Dorothy and company. As all-out war looms between the Munchkinland guerrillas and the emperor of Oz's Emerald City soldiers, Brrr the lion, now working as an imperial spy, must somehow glean invaluable information from a crone named Yackle before she dies. But during his interrogation of the irritable oracle, Brrr, the proverbial loner and outsider, uncovers insights into his own mysterious past-and finally begins to understand what it feels like to belong. As usual, the author mixes some relatively weighty existential themes-the search for self, faith, redemption-into his whimsical story line. Newcomers to Maguire's Oz should probably begin with Wicked, the first entry in this darkly enchanting saga. 11-city author tour. (Oct. 14)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In this third entry in his "Wicked Years" series-following Wicked and Son of a Witch-Maguire (www.gregorymaguire.com) returns to Oz, this time homing in on Brrr, aka the Cowardly Lion. Though at times needlessly complex, the story ultimately both intrigues and entertains. Audie® Award winner John McDonough's (Grace Will Lead Me Home) performance is adequate, though Brrr's low growlings can be difficult to understand. Recommended for most fiction collections. [Audio clip available through www.harperaudio.com; the Morrow hc was recommended "for all fiction collections," LJ10/15/08.-Ed.]
—Lisa Anderson

Kirkus Reviews
The further adventures of L. Frank Baum's beloved characters are more fatefully connected with the political history of Oz in this third installment of Maguire's justly praised revisionist series. In Wicked and Son of a Witch, we were treated to engagingly comic melodramas that followed (respectively) Baum's heroine Dorothy and the fugitive son (Liir) of Wicked Witch Elphaba Thropp through an endangered fantasyland blighted by mad power struggles. This time around, the major conflict is engineered by an intellectually challenged puppet emperor addicted to waging multiple wars (hmmm . . . ). And our protagonist is the Cowardly Lion (named Brrr)-bereft of his family, Brrr is traveling through Oz undercover as an imperial spy, in exchange for immunity from draconian Animal Adverse Laws that target talking animals. Brrr's investigations take him to the Mauntery (i.e. cloister) of St. Glinda, where a moribund seeress (Yackle, who's presumably too ornery to die) unfurls information in a narrative neatly juxtaposed with Brrr's unhappy memories and compromised present plans. The cast of characters also includes a clan of forest bears, a beauteous maiden or two, the rebellious citizens of Munchkinland and a surly dwarf who (in quite Wagnerian fashion) guards an ancient book of magic (the Grimmerie) and the Clock of the Time Dragon. Most of this is superbly entertaining, but Maguire has bitten off more complex interactions than he can chew, and his story's seams frequently show. No matter. Brrr and his acquaintances are irresistible company, and issues of legitimate and responsible rule are herein really rather subtly grafted onto the venerable free will vs. predestination conundrum ("With so muchwritten in magic, how can we hope to become agents culpable for our own lives ?"). Maguire's inspired world-building strides from strength to strength.
The Barnes & Noble Review
It all began, to some degree, with Tom Stoppard.

In 1966, when Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead premiered, the type of radical literary revisionism that play embodied was just a nascent twinkle in the average postmodernist's eye. But Stoppard's recasting of two bit players from Hamlet as the leads in a new ?adventure? burst the dam holding back a flood of reimagined biographies of characters from canonical literature. (Curiously enough, 1966 also begat Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, a spin-off of Jane Eyre. There was certainly something in the air!)

Any such attempt to meddle in the imaginary universe of a classic work has to contend with twinned yet antithetical urges and imperatives. The author, if respectful, wants to honor the canonicity and continuity and tone of the original, while still offering his own unique spin and inventions, hopefully in the true spirit of the template.

Gregory Maguire achieved this masterfully in his justly celebrated novel Wicked (1995). He took a relatively undeveloped character, L. Frank Baum's Wicked Witch of the West from the Oz books, and built a Bildungsroman around her. Given a name, Elphaba Thropp, our Witch became a tragic character of almost Shakespearian dimensions, while the land and society of Baum's imagination was fleshed out with deep sophistication.

Maguire offered an Oz that was both a stage for political allegory and a weird landscape of spiritual questing. He returned to its terrain ten years later with Son of a Witch and now continues his exploration with A Lion Among Men, the third in the newly christened Wicked Years series.

Our focus this go-round is Brrr, the one and only Cowardly Lion. We've seen him glancingly in the prior installments, but now we get to plumb his depths. The real-time frame of the story is a mere 24 hours (a day some nine years onward from the close of Son) spent at the ?mauntery of Saint Glinda.? Brrr, a reluctant secret agent for the Emerald City under Emperor Shell (Elphaba's brother), has arrived to interview a mysterious ?maunt,? or nun, named Yackle, who might possess information as to the whereabouts of Elphaba's son Liir and his daughter, potential rivals to Shell. Yackle's price for cooperating is for Brrr to recount his life story, in flashback form.

It's a tale of high naive ambitions and glorious dreams betrayed by innate vices like sloth and indecision, and a fair amount of sheer bad luck and human malice. (Talking animals are second-class citizens in Oz.) As he did with Wicked's Elphaba, Maguire builds appealingly and daringly on Baum's original conception: Brrr emerges from the novel as a figure whose self-knowledge has only achingly accentuated his status as failure and misfit.

The impulse to continue or revise the literary creations of others had been around, of course, for a long time before Stoppard. No sooner was Dickens cooling in his grave than folks were trying to complete The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And the realm of folktales has always lent itself to anonymous extensions and elaborations by many disparate minds.

Genre fiction in particular seems to encourage, by some element of its very nature, a writer's desire to create (and an audience's desire to read) alternate or extended scenarios for beloved fictional personages, adventures that elaborate or revise deep continuity. The Sherlockians led the way early on, by treating Doyle's stories about Holmes as pieces of a biography, new bits of which could be uncovered by ?scholarship.? Ludic masters like Philip Jose Farmer were soon constructing enormous edifices like the Wold Newton Family Tree, which omnivorously amalgamated such diverse heroes as Tarzan, Solomon Kane, Lew Archer, and Philip Marlowe. And what are superhero comics and franchise fiction like the hundreds of Star Trek books if not the ultimate many-handed literary beast?

Of course, somewhere along the line comes fan fiction, that much-derided wart on the body of ?real literature.? Yet internet expert Bill Tancer recently estimated that fan fiction constitutes a full third of all fiction-related material available on the Web, testifying to its allure and power.

So what distinguishes a book such as A Lion Among Men from any teen's Buffy-meets-Naruto maunderings? The same things that distinguish any good book of any stripe from its amateurish counterparts: depth and clarity of vision, excellence of prose, richness of theme, intricacy of characterization, shapeliness of plot. And while A Lion Among Men boasts all these virtues in greater-than-average abundance, I have to opine that it (and its immediate predecessor, Son of a Witch) don't pack quite the punch of Wicked and indeed offer some frustrations typical of less-creative fantasy series.

While many of the events of Brrr's past will be new and intriguing to the reader, his backstory acquires an overall Rashomon aura: it's just another angle on the events of the first two volumes. True, by novel's end, we've discovered the secret identity of Liir's long-missing half sister Nor, Yackle's own secrets, and more of the motivations of the mysterious prophecy engine known as The Clock of the Time Dragon. But the book seems stuck in a holding pattern, so far as the whole series' progress is concerned.

Moreover, when characters are calling dessert ?afters? or swanning about in Oscar Wilde fashion, an Anglophile element creeps into Maguire's Oz. Now, Baum's Oz was famously an all-American fairy tale, the first real one of its kind, full of demotic vigor and frontier zest. Losing that aspect is Maguire's sole betrayal of the original books.

Happily, his prose remains an elegant delight, full of striking aphorisms and aperçus and philosophical insights into life. The dialogue is always crisp and pointed and droll. Maguire's depiction of Oz approaches at times the bizarre dimensions and heft of China Miéville's New Crobuzon, especially in such elements as the prison of Southstairs. And he obviously knows the vast Oz mythos and alludes to many pieces of the14-book original -- watch for old favorite the Glass Cat in Lion -- as well as to the film, although he revises events and characters to his taste. The overall effect of his storytelling is a blend of the best of William Kotzwinkle, Walter Moers, Ray Bradbury, and Christopher Moore.

Maguire's achievement in the Wicked Years books ranks high, right up there with the similarly inspired milestones by Geoff Ryman in Was (1992) and Alan Moore in Lost Girls (2006). The new superstructure each man has erected on Baum's foundation shines like the Emerald City seen from the Yellow Brick Road. --Paul DiFilippo

Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul DiFilippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award -- all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060859725
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Series: Wicked Years Series , #3
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 60,006
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire is the author of several best-selling adult novels, including Wicked, which was turned into a Broadway musical. His books for younger readers include the picture book Crabby Cratchitt, the novel The Good Liar, and the popular Hamlet Chronicles series. While writing Leaping Beauty, Mr. Maguire sadly became allergic to all creatures great and small. Now he lives in a house without pets, though he is the father of three happy, noisy small children to whom, at this writing, he has not yet developed allergies.

Biography

Raised in a family of writers (his father was a journalist and his stepmother a poet), Gregory Maguire grew up with a great love of books, especially fairy tales and fantasy fiction. He composed his own stories from an early age and released his first book for children, The Lightning Time, in 1978, just two years after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany.

Several other children's book followed, but major recognition eluded Maguire. Then, in 1995, he published his first adult novel. A bold, revisionist view of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz stories, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West places one of literature's most reviled characters at the center of a dark dystopian fantasy and raises provocative questions about the very nature of good and evil. Purists criticized Maguire for tampering with a beloved juvenile classic, but the book received generally good reviews (John Updike, writing in The New Yorker, proclaimed it "an amazing novel.") and the enthusiasm of readers catapulted it to the top of the bestseller charts. (Maguire's currency increased even further when the book was turned into the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked in 2003.)

In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Maguire has made something of a specialty out of turning classic children's tales on their heads. He retold the legends of Cinderella and Snow White in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999) and Mirror, Mirror (2003); he raised the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge in Lost (2001); and, in 2005, he returned to Oz for Son of a Witch, the long-awaited sequel to Wicked. He has reviewed fantasy fiction for the Sunday New York Times Book Review and has contributed his own articles, essays, and stories to publications like Ploughshares, The Boston Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Horn Book Magazine.

In addition, Maguire has never lost his interest in -- or enthusiasm for -- children's literature. He is the author of The Hamlet Chronicles, a bestselling seven-book series of high-camp mystery-adventures with silly count-down titles like Seven Spiders Spinning and Three Rotten Eggs. He has taught at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and is a founding member of Children's Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit organization that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Good To Know

In our interview, Maguire shared some fun facts with us about his life:

"While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. I built terraces with chunks of Monterey jack, had a forest of broccoli florets and a lagoon of Seven Seas salad dressing spooned into a half a honeydew melon. I made reed patches out of scallion tips and walkways out of sesame seeds lined with raisin borders. Driving to the party, I had to brake to avoid a taxi, and by the time the police flagged me down for poor driving skills I was nearly weeping. ‘But Officer, I have a quickly decomposing Hanging Gardens of Babylon to deliver....' Everything had slopped and fallen over and it looked like a tray of vegetable garbage."

"My first job was scooping ice cream at Friendly's in Albany, New York. I hated the work, most of my colleagues, and the uniform, and I more or less lost my taste for ice cream permanently."

"If I hadn't been a writer, I would have tried to be one of the following: An artist (watercolors), a singer/songwriter like Paul Simon (taller but not very much more), an architect (domestic), a teacher. Actually, in one way or another I have done all of the above, but learned pretty quickly that my skills needed more honing for me to charge for my services, and I'd always rather write fiction than hone skills."

"I steal a bit from one of my favorite writers to say, simply, that I enjoy, most of all, old friends and new places. I love to travel. Having small children at home now impedes my efforts a great deal, but I have managed in my time to get to Asia, Africa, most of Europe, and Central America. My wish list of places not yet visited includes India, Denmark, Brazil, and New Zealand, and my wish for friends not yet made includes, in a sense, readers who are about to discover my work, either now or even when I'm no longer among the living. In a sense, in anticipation, I value those friends in a special way."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

A Lion Among Men

Chapter One

The time came for her to die, and she would not die; so perhaps she might waste away, they thought, and she did waste, but not away; and the time came for her to receive final absolution, so they set candles upon her clavicle, but this she would not allow. She blasphemed with gusto and she knocked the scented oils across the shroud they'd readied on a trestle nearby.

"God love her," they said, in bitter, unconvincing voices...or perhaps they meant May the Unnamed God love her, our unrepentant sister Yackle, for we certainly can't.

"Sink me in the crypt," she said, speaking directly to them for the first time in years. "You're too young to know; that's how they used to do it. When the time came for an elder to go and she wouldn't, they settled her down in the ossuary so she could chummy up to the bones. Supplied her with a couple of candles and a bottle of wine. Let her get used to the notion. They came back a year later to sweep up the leavings."

"Mercy," said whoever was nearby to hear.

"I insist," she replied. "Check with Sister Scholastica and she'll bear me out.""She's raving mad," said someone else, chocolately. Yackle approved of chocolate, and indeed, everything edible. Since Yackle's eyesight had gone out for good a decade earlier, she identified individuals by the degree and idiosyncracy of their halitosis.

"She's always been raving mad," said a third observer, Vinegarish Almonds. "Isn't that rather sweet?"

Yackle reached for something to throw, and all she could find was her other hand, which wouldn't detach.

"She's doing sign language." "The poor, deluded dovelette.""Clinging to life so...whatever for?" "Perhaps it isn't her time."

"It is," said Yackle, "it is, I keep telling you. Won't you fiends let me die? I want to go to hell in a handbasket. Put me out of my misery and into the Afterlife where I can do some real damage, damn it."

"She's not herself," said someone.

"She was never reliably herself, to hear tell," said another.

The bedsheets caught fire spontaneously. Yackle found she was rather enjoying this, but it helped neither her reputation nor her rescue that the only liquid nearby with which to douse the flames was cognac.

Still, Yackle was not to be dissuaded. "Isn't there a Superior in the House?" she asked. "Someone who can lay down the law?"

"The Superior Maunt died a decade ago," they replied. "We work by consensus now. We've noted your request to be interred alive. We'll put it on the agenda and take it up next week at Council."

"She'll burn the House down, and us with it," muttered a novice, sometime later. Yackle could tell that the innocent speaker was talking to herself, to stoke her courage.

"Come here, my duckie," said Yackle, grasping. "I smell a little peppermint girl nearby, and no garlicky matron hovering. Are you the sentry? On our own, are we? Come, sit nearer. Surely there is still a Sister Apothecaire in residence? With her cabinets of nostrums and beckums, tonics and tablets? She must possess a sealed jar, it would be dark blue glass, about yea-high, pasted over with a label picturing three sets of crossed tibias. Couldn't you find this and pour me out a fatal little decoction?"

"Not a spoonful of it, I en't the grace to do it," said Peppermint Girl. "Let go a me, you harpy. Let go or...or I'll bite you!"

Out of charity to the young, Yackle let go. It would do the poor girl no good to take a bite of old Yackle. The antidote en't been invented yet, and so on.

Hours and days pass at elastic rhythms for the blind. Whether the pattern of her naps and wakings followed the ordinary interruptions of daylight by nighttime, Yackle couldn't tell. But someone she recognized as Broccoli Breath eventually informed her that the sorority had decided to bow to Yackle's final wish. They would install her in the crypt among the remains of women long dead. She could approach bodily corruption at whatever speed appealed to her. Three candles, and as to nourishment, red or white?

"A beaker of gasoline and a match as a chaser," said Yackle, but she was indulging in a joke; she was that pleased. She nominated a saucy persimmon flaucande and a beeswax candle scented with limeberries...for the aroma, not for the light. She was beyond light now.

"Good voyage, Eldest Soul," they sang to her as they carried her down the stairs. Though she weighed no more than sugarbrittle she was awkward to move; she couldn't govern her own arms or legs. As if motivated by a spite independent of her own, her limbs would keep ratcheting out to jab into doorjambs. The procession lacked a fitting dignity.

"Don't come down for at least a year," she sang out, giddy as a lambkin. "Make that two. I might be old as sin itself, but once I start rotting it won't be pretty. If I hammer at the cellar door don't open it; I'm probably just collecting for some public charity in hell."

"Can we serenade you with an epithalamium, as you go to marry Death?" asked one of the bearers, tucking in the shroud to make it cozy.

"Save your doggy breath. Go, go, on to the rest of your lives, you lot. It's been a swell, mysterious mess of a life. Don't mind me. I'll blow the candles out before I lower my own lights."

A year later when a sister ventured into the crypt to prepare for another burial, she came across the hem of Yackle's shroud. She wept at the notion of death until Yackle sat up and said, "What, morning already? And I having those naughty dreams!" The maunt's tears turned to screams, and she fled upstairs to start immediately upon a long and lively career as an alcoholic.

A Lion Among Men. Copyright © by Gregory Maguire. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 296 )
Rating Distribution

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(103)

4 Star

(79)

3 Star

(75)

2 Star

(30)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 297 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Too much exposition, not enough plot.

    I greatly enjoyed the first two books in the Wicked series. This only added to my disappointment with this book. While the idea of hearing the untold story of the Cowardly Lion does sound intriguing, this book lacked much in the way of a continuing storyline. Outside of retrospection, this book did very little in the way of furthering the story in respect to the first two books. While I wouldn't say not to read the book, I will say to wait for the paperback or borrow it from a friend as it was not worth the $20. In all due respect to Mr.Maguire, I think this book seemed more like a paycheck than a story. While I would love to see how things turn out for Brrr, Nor, Candle, and Liir, I would not want to spend over 300 pages to advance one day in the overall story.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Not as good as the first 2

    I loved Wicked and Son of a Witch, but this seemed to drag on and got to the point that I made myself read it and finish the book so I could get started on the 4th book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    This book fills in some of the holes left by the first two books

    This book fills in some of the holes left by the first two books. Secrets are revealed, stories are told, and futures are made. Brrr is an interesting character that both cares and doesn’t care. He wants nothing to do with society, but can’t seem to stay away from it. All he wants is love and a home, and by the end of this book he finds it in the strangest of places. Yackle has been a mysterious character throughout this series, and her story is finally told, albeit reluctantly. You won’t be able to wait for the last book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Wonderful

    Loved how this book kept OZ and its people alive!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book wouldn't have existed...

    without "Wicked" or "Son of a Witch".

    I was intrigued by the Cowardly Lion and maybe a counter novel to L. Frank Baum's Oz novel of the Cowardly Lion. It was not to be.

    The characterization of Brr was great. In the lines of dialogue you could almost hear Bert Lahr's voice for Brr. You find out that he is not so craven as much as he is a pragmatist. In times of great upheaval Brr lands on his feet. He may not land in a glorious manner; mind you. He might only gain a laughable title. He does land and not get driven out or swept away like the other Animals.

    The other characters were dropped too quickly and were swept away. I wanted more of Cubbins and Jemmsy. It may have been done by design.

    I hope the 4th book draws from the Baum novel that features TikTok, Pumpkinhead, and Mombi.

    The timeline goes back and forth from past to present without warning. Those who enjoy characterization will enjoy this novel(as with Son of a Witch). If you want a coherent plot, you may be in for frustration and disappointment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Lion Among Men

    If you read and liked Wicked and Son of the Witch, then you will definitely like this book. Just like the first two books, A Lion Among Men is sharply written, with interesting characters and a gripping plot. Not only do we find out the life story of the Lion who helped Dorothy kill the Wicked Witch, but we furthermore learn the story of Oz, the Witch, her son and other characters involved in their lives. Gregory Maguire's writing style is addictive, it was hard for me to put the book down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A good read, but its predecessors were better

    This book was good and interesting for the overall storyline, but in itself it had a lot of slow parts. It was a good story of the life of the Cowardly Lion but again was too dragged out.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    A very good book by a very good wrter

    More answers are revealed in this book of the series. Although this was not my favorite book in the series, it seemed more interspective of all the books. The Lion tried to figure out just where his loyalties belonged and where he came from, Yackle, too, tried to remember her beginning, and everybody tried to figure out where the boy, Liir, had wound up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Awwww why?

    I love all the books that gregory maguire writes but this one in particular i did not like. It was slow and hard to get into. I found it hard to follow as well. I kept reading to the end though, whether it wa my desire to find mething interesting or my drive to get it done amd over with, unfortunately i didnt fimd anything that parrticularly sparked my imaginaton except for maybe the part near the end with that twist about the cat and thebold lady whom i have plum forgotten her name. Maybe it was too political or too militaristic that made me not understand, whatever the case this was still my least fsvorite in the whole series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good. Worth reading

    Despite my reading it right after finishing the first two volumes of the Wicked Years series it took me a while to get into this volume because the Lion's character seemed so amorphous. In the end however I found it very satisfying precisely because his character was so complex and not predictable. All the characters, in fact, are flawed--rather seriously at times--and that seems to be the heart of what Maguire is doing in the series. Their faults are distressing at times but allowed me to relate and develop sympathy for them. Although religious faith and doubt (or faith of some kind) plays an important role in the series, the author allows for all possibilities in how his characters approach or reject it and this volume in particular integrates that theme with the psychology of the characters' self-doubts and frustrations. As with the rest of the series, clever references to the original Oz series by Baum and to the 1939 movie sweeten the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Great Novel

    If you enjoyed reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked and Son of a Witch, then you'll definitely love this book as well.

    The book tells the story of Oz once more, but this time through the eyes of the "cowardly Lion", Brrr. You go on his journey with him and, just like in Wicked, see how a title, and a perception of someone or, in his case, an Animal, doesn't really justify the way you think of them, considering you don't know their story and how they became the way that they are.

    Gregory Maguire did a wonderful job writting this novel, as he did with his others. The style of writting is superb, in the sense that he tells you just enough to get you to figure things out on your own and make your own interpretations concerning the story. It allows you to think and use your mind, which most books lack now a days.

    If you enjoyed any of his other books, then you'll love this one as well. Older readers will understand the novel more and fully grasp what is being conveyed, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to younger readers, as they may get confused throughout the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A hidden gem, must be read through to the end!

    I initially was going to rate this book 3 stars, but the last few chapters definitely made this a 4 star read. There were moments where I grew weary of the Lion, but such is his character. There is meaning & hidden purpose in this book, and the characters of focus are a perfect match. The biggest plus for this installation into the wicked series is this: There IS closure! Some of the lingering questions from both "Wicked" as well as "Son of a Witch" are finally answered! This alone makes the book worth reading. The rest, is simply a bonus. I for one, am glad I gave it a chance, and I think lovers of the wicked series should as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    For one grownup on fairy tales

    Maguire takes the lovely fairy tale world of the Wizard of Oz and twists the plot into a deeply intriguing and dark tale in this series. All are must reads.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Loved it!

    Not as great as the first two. I felt like this one was little harder to follow, but in the end everything came together.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Lion isn't as Wondrous as the other two.

    I enjoyed reading this, although I wasn't as smitten as with WICKED, nor with SON of a WITCH. The prose is still wondrous and the imaginations of Mr Maguire are rich and full. I'm looking forward to the 4th in the Series, although not with as much eagerness as I sought #3.
    It's good to connect and read all three in the series in order, and I'm glad I did. It's just not as fine.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Grreat!

    Another great work from the wicked years. The character of Brr (cowardly Lion) was moving and his story compelling. The story follows this lonely misunderstood creature as he learns some of life's harder lessons and attempts to find his place in the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Wicked Rules!

    OMG! I can't wait for this to come out! It is going to be amazing!!! YAY!

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Insightful

    Insightful

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Me

    Very confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Yuck

    Yuck

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