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Son of a Witch (Wicked Years Series #2)

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Overview

The long-anticipated sequel to the beloved and hugely successful novel Wicked, now Broadway's #1 smash hit musical

When a Witch dies-not as a crone, withered and incapable, but as a woman in her prime, at the height of her passion and prowess-too much is left unsaid. What might have happened had Elphaba lived? Of her campaigns in defense of the Animals, of her appetite for justice, of her talent for magic itself, what good might have come? If every death is a tragedy, the death ...

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Son of a Witch (Wicked Years Series #2)

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Overview

The long-anticipated sequel to the beloved and hugely successful novel Wicked, now Broadway's #1 smash hit musical

When a Witch dies-not as a crone, withered and incapable, but as a woman in her prime, at the height of her passion and prowess-too much is left unsaid. What might have happened had Elphaba lived? Of her campaigns in defense of the Animals, of her appetite for justice, of her talent for magic itself, what good might have come? If every death is a tragedy, the death of a woman in her prime keenly bereaves the whole world. Ten years after the publication of Wicked, bestselling novelist Gregory Maguire returns to the land of Oz to follow the story of Liir, the adolescent boy left hiding in the shadows of the castle when Dorothy did in the Witch.

A decade after the Witch has melted away, the young man Liir is discovered bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully. Shattered in spirit as well as in form, he is tended by the mysterious Candle, a
foundling in her own right, until failed campaigns of his childhood bear late, unexpected fruit.

Liir is only one part of the world that Elphaba left behind. As a boy hardly in his teens, he is asked to help the needy in ways in which he may be unskilled. Is he Elphaba's son? Has he power of his own? Can he
liberate Princess Nastoya into a dignified death? Can he locate his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in shackles in the Wizard's protection? Can he survive in an Oz little improved since the death of the Wicked Witch of the West? Can he learn to fly?

In Son of a Witch, Gregory Maguire suggests that the magic we locate in distant, improbable places like Oz is no greater than the magic inherent in any hard life lived fully, son of a witch or no.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Ten years after his tour de force Wicked, Gregory Maguire returns to the Land of Oz. Son of a Witch unspools the story of Liir, an adolescent boy who is discovered battered and comatose a decade after Elphaba melted into oblivion. Nursed back to health by the enigmatic Candle, this mysterious foundling is soon confronted by urgent questions: Is he Elphaba's son? Does he himself possess magical powers? And where is Nor, the girl who is rumored to be his half sister? A literate witchery well done.
People Magazine
"Maguire’s captivating, fully imagined world of horror and wonder illuminates the links between good and evil, retribution and forgiveness."
Wally Lamb
For Wicked:"I fell quickly and totally under the spell of this remarkable, wry, and fully realized story."
Katherine A. Powers
Though Wicked was not simply a reverse image of Baum's book or the famous movie, it depended on their depictions of Oz as a foil for its own maverick reshaping of the narrative. Those for whom potty humor is the acme of wit and foul decay is horror sublime will be happy to know that Son of a Witch is as well-supplied with those articles as the earlier book was. What it has lost, however, is the shaping vigor gained by pushing against a well-known story.
—The Washington Post
Sophie Harrison
Maguire clearly feels most comfortable when inventing freehand, and most of his novel is set after the original Oz story ends. Dorothy's presence in the text causes difficulties. She belongs too frankly in someone else's fairy tale; her arrival strains Maguire's own confident production in an unhappy way…Once he's freed himself from Baum's tenacious apron strings, Maguire begins to enjoy himself, and the story picks up.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
With a voice that sounds a bit like Richard Dreyfuss on helium, Maguire does a solid if somewhat unconventional job of narrating his own novel. His pace, like his prose, is deliberate and thoughtful. His creativity and imagination shine in his ability to provide his strange characters (not a human among them) with equally unusual voices. It is not the tonal range that makes his delivery interesting, though; it's the cadence and timbre of the voices that win the listener over. Liir, who may or may not be the son of the Wicked Witch of the West, is read with a detached, depressed air, an adolescent with ennui looking for his lost half-sister, Nor. Candle, the Munchkin girl who becomes his sweetheart, has a voice that sounds almost like backwards masking. A short interview with Maguire is an added value on the final disc; he says he enjoys the recording process and that the inspiration for the book was twofold: the many letters from young fans asking what happened to Nor, last seen as a chained political prisoner, and seeing the Abu Ghraib torture photographs. This one-two punch left an itch that could only be scratched by writing Son of a Witch. Simultaneous release with the Regan Books hardcover (Reviews, July 18). (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Nola Theiss
To quote the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, January 2006: Landing at the beginning of Son of a Witch without traveling through the previous novel, Wicked, is like unexpectedly arriving in a foreign country without a guidebook or a translator. One feels a little like Dorothy, who must figure out where she is and how to get back. There are enough references to the familiar characters and events of The Wizard of Oz to comfort the traveler, but it takes a while to get one's bearings. In this novel, we are quickly introduced to Liir, who may be the son of the witch, Elphaba, an important character in Wicked. Liir has been left for dead and is now being nursed back to life. Oz is currently wizardless and if Liir is going to regain his rightful position, he must face many adventures and find his maybe half-sister, Nor. Maquire is a superb storyteller, capable of reeling off detail after detail so his fantasy seems real and his story becomes a parable about our own world, but the reader will miss much of the richness of this tale without reading the first novel.
Library Journal
This sequel to the adult fairy tale Wicked (1995)-later adapted as the hit musical of the same name-begins ten years after the destruction of Elphaba, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West. In Maguire's dark version of the Land of Oz, there's not much to ring the bells for in the Emerald City, despite the tyrannical Wizard's departure. Corruption is rife, political factions compete for power, and radicals proclaim "Elphaba lives!" Elsewhere, a horribly injured young man called Liir wakes in the religious House of Saint Glinda to many puzzles. Who tried to kill Liir? How did an enigmatic Quadling girl revive him? Why is he expected to take up a quest on behalf of sentient Animals? Above all, was Elphaba his mother? These and other questions drive a tale that adroitly mixes drama, humor, and political satire into a well-knit examination of good and evil-and leaves several doors open for future journeys over the rainbow into this cleverly constructed dystopia. Recommended for most fantasy collections.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Son picks up where Maguire's highly successful Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995) left off, with the death of Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West. She left behind a daughter, Nor, and Liir, who may or may not be her son. After her death, he enters into a decade of listless soul searching. He travels for a time and then joins the military, enjoying the structure it provides his life. But eventually his rearing by the Witch as well as his possible heritage catch up to him and he finds himself in demand to start a new revolution against the tyranny of Emerald City. An odd series of disfiguring murders starts occurring all across Oz. Liir discovers that the new Emperor sits behind the machinations and uses the strange killings to spread distrust among the various races of the land. Wielding Elphaba's flying broom and donning her magical cape, Liir makes some small but bold gestures that help the populace of Oz and replants the seeds of hope that Elphaba spread a generation before. Son is a tighter work than Wicked, making deft use of flashbacks and varying viewpoints to create a quicker pace. And Liir's quest-both to find himself and to save the people of Oz-is easier to believe than the motivations that drove the bitter yet heroic Elphaba. A well-written, well-crafted fantasy that can stand on its own.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Animals talk, attack dragons prowl the skies and political unrest afflicts the land of Oz in this richly detailed sequel to Maguire's contemporary fantasy classic Wicked (1996). Its protagonist is Liir, the probable offspring of Elphaba Thropp, the late, mostly unlamented Wicked Witch of the West (unless Liir's birth mother was actually Elphaba's unfortunate sibling Nessarose; it's complicated). We meet Liir as he lies near death in one of Oz's outlying lands and is taken to the Mauntery of Saint Glinda, where the venerable Superior Maunt entrusts his care to beautiful gypsy girl Candle. Parallel flashbacks mix with subsequent action to describe Liir's boyhood adventures with Dorothy Gale (even if she has murdered his mother) and her nonhuman companions, various ordeals in an embattled Oz riven with rebellion (from which the Wizard has long since fled), as Liir seeks his missing childhood friend Nor as well as Elphaba's notorious book of spells, joins the Emerald City's Home Guard defense force and-aloft on Elphaba's flying broomstick-challenges the forces of both disorder and incumbency, makes peace with his past and envisions a future in which even changelings may assume their full humanity. The book works too hard to dazzle us; it's considerably more cluttered and strained than Wicked. But, like L. Frank Baum's magical land itself, it's filled with wonderful things: the neurotic kvetching of the Cowardly Lion (who disappears, alas, much too soon); a brilliant subplot involving the half-human, half-elephant Princess Nastoya; a Conference of Birds; and the political ascendancy of the Scarecrow, a puppet ruler serving a cabal of bankers. Best of all is Liir's arduous pilgrimage towardbecoming what he was meant to be. Too long, but few readers will fail to stay its magical course. Once again, the myth of Oz proves its enduring power.
People
“Maguire’s captivating, fully imagined world of horror and wonder illuminates the links between good and evil, retribution and forgiveness.”
Entertainment Weekly
“As fantastical as a novel set in Oz should be.”
New York Times
“Maguire is full of storytelling brio . . . his Oz is meticulously drawn.”
Boston Globe
“Maguire has done it again: Son of a Witch is as wicked as they come. . . . Thoroughly entertaining.”
—John Updike
“An amazing novel.”
People
“Maguire’s captivating, fully imagined world of horror and wonder illuminates the links between good and evil, retribution and forgiveness.”
—Wally Lamb
For Wicked:“I fell quickly and totally under the spell of this remarkable, wry, and fully realized story.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060747220
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/26/2006
  • Series: Wicked Years Series , #2
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 36,232
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.88 (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

Son of a Witch


By Gregory Maguire

ReganBooks

Copyright © 2005 Gregory Maguire
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060899042

Chapter One

The House of Saint Glinda

So the talk of random brutality wasn't just talk. At noontime they discovered the bodies of three young women, out on some mission of conversion that appeared to have gone awry. The novice maunts had been strangled by their ropes of holy beads, and their faces removed.

Her nerve being shaken at last, Oatsie Manglehand now caved in to the demands of her paying customers. She told the team drivers they'd pause only long enough to dig some shallow graves while the horses slaked their thirst. Then the caravan would press on across the scrubby flats known, for the failed farmsteads abandoned here and there, as the Disappointments.

Moving by night, at least they wouldn't make a sitting target, though they might as easily wander into trouble as sidestep it. Still, Oatsie's party was antsy. Hunker down all night and wait for horse hoofs, spears? Too hard on everyone. Oatsie consoled herself: If the caravan kept moving, she could sit forward with her eyes peeled, out of range of the carping, the second-guessing, the worrying.

With the benefit of height, therefore, Oatsie spotted the gully before anyone else did. The cloudburst at sunset had fed a small trackside rivulet that flowed around a flank ofskin, water-lacquered in the new moonlight. An island, she feared, of human flesh.

I ought to turn aside before the others notice, she thought; how much more can they take? There is nothing I can do for that human soul. The digging of another trench would require an hour, minimum. An additional few moments for prayers. The project would only further agitate these clients as they obsess about their own precious mortality.

Upon the knee of the horizon balanced the head of a jackal moon, so-called because, once every generation or so, a smear of celestial flotsam converged behind the crescent moon of early autumn. The impact was creepy, a look of a brow and a snout. As the moon rounded out over a period of weeks, the starveling would turn into a successful hunter, its cheeks bulging.

Always a fearsome sight, the jackal moon tonight spooked Oatsie Manglehand further. Don't stop for this next casualty. Get through the Disappointments, deliver these paying customers to the gates of the Emerald City.But she resisted giving in to superstition. Be scared of the real jackals, she reminded herself, not frets and nocturnal portents.

In any case, the light of the constellation alleviated some of the color blindness that sets in at night. The body was pale, almost luminous. Oatsie might divert the Grasstrail Train and give the corpse a wide berth before anyone else noticed it, but the slope of the person's shoulders, the unnatural twist of legs -- the jackal moon made her read the figure too well, as too clearly human, for her to be able to turn aside.

"Nubb," she barked to her second, "rein in. We'll pull into flank formation up that rise. There's another fatality, there in the runoff."

Cries of alarm as the news passed back, and another mutter of mutiny: Why should they stop? -- were they to bear witness to every fresh atrocity? Oatsie didn't listen. She yanked the reins of her team of horses, to halt them, and she lowered herself gingerly. She stumped, her hand on her sore hip, until she stood a few feet over the body.

Face down and genitals hidden, he appeared to have been a young man. A few scraps of fabric were still knotted about his waist, and a boot some yards distant, but he was otherwise naked, and no sign of his clothes.

Curious: no evidence of the assassins. Neither had there been about the bodies of the maunts, but that was on rockier ground, in a drier hour. Oatsie couldn't see any sign of scuffle here, and in the mud of the gulch one might have expected . . . something. The body wasn't bloody, nor decayed yet; the murder was recent. Perhaps this evening, perhaps only an hour ago.

"Nubb, let's heave him up and see if they've taken his face," she said.

"No blood," said Nubb.

"Blood may have run off in that cloudburst. Steel yourself, now."

They got on either side of the body and bit their lips. She looked at Nubb, meaning: It's only the next thing, it's not the last thing. Let's get through this, fellow.

She jerked her head in the direction of the hoist. One, two, heave.

They got him up. His head had fallen into a natural scoop in the stone, a few inches higher than where the rain had pooled. His face was intact, more or less; that is to say, it was still there, though shattered.

"How did he get here?" said Nubb. "And why didn't they scrape him?"

Oatsie just shook her head. She settled on her haunches. Her travelers had come forward and were congregating on the rise behind her; she could hear them rustling. She suspected that they had gathered stones, and were ready to kill her if she insisted on a burial.

The jackal moon rose a few notches higher, as if trying to see into the gulley. The prurience of the heavens!

"We're not going to dig another grave." That from her noisiest client, a wealthy trader from the northern Vinkus. "Not his, Oatsie Manglehand, and not yours, either. We're not doing it. We leave him unburied and alone, or we leave him unburied with your corpse for company."

"We don't need to do either," said Oatsie. She sighed. "Poor, poor soul, whoever he is. He needs no grave. He isn't dead yet."

In time, when the travelers had rejoined their cronies and relatives in the Emerald City -- in salons, in public houses, in taverns of exchange -- they heard more chatter about the hostilities they had managed to sidestep. Rumor flourished. Forty, sixty, a hundred deaths resulting from the skirmishes between the Scrow and the Yunamata. Barbarians, the lot of them:They deserved to kill off each other. But not us.





Continues...

Excerpted from Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire Copyright © 2005 by Gregory Maguire. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

The House of Saint Glinda

So the talk of random brutality wasn't just talk. At noontime they discovered the bodies of three young women, out on some mission of conversion that appeared to have gone awry. The novice maunts had been strangled by their ropes of holy beads, and their faces removed.

Her nerve being shaken at last, Oatsie Manglehand now caved in to the demands of her paying customers. She told the team drivers they'd pause only long enough to dig some shallow graves while the horses slaked their thirst. Then the caravan would press on across the scrubby flats known, for the failed farmsteads abandoned here and there, as the Disappointments.

Moving by night, at least they wouldn't make a sitting target, though they might as easily wander into trouble as sidestep it. Still, Oatsie's party was antsy. Hunker down all night and wait for horse hoofs, spears? Too hard on everyone. Oatsie consoled herself: If the caravan kept moving, she could sit forward with her eyes peeled, out of range of the carping, the second-guessing, the worrying.

With the benefit of height, therefore, Oatsie spotted the gully before anyone else did. The cloudburst at sunset had fed a small trackside rivulet that flowed around a flank of skin, water-lacquered in the new moonlight. An island, she feared, of human flesh.

I ought to turn aside before the others notice, she thought; how much more can they take? There is nothing I can do for that human soul. The digging of another trench would require an hour, minimum. An additional few moments for prayers. The project would only further agitate these clients as they obsess about their own precious mortality.

Upon the knee of the horizon balanced the head of a jackal moon, so-called because, once every generation or so, a smear of celestial flotsam converged behind the crescent moon of early autumn. The impact was creepy, a look of a brow and a snout. As the moon rounded out over a period of weeks, the starveling would turn into a successful hunter, its cheeks bulging.

Always a fearsome sight, the jackal moon tonight spooked Oatsie Manglehand further. Don't stop for this next casualty. Get through the Disappointments, deliver these paying customers to the gates of the Emerald City.But she resisted giving in to superstition. Be scared of the real jackals, she reminded herself, not frets and nocturnal portents.

In any case, the light of the constellation alleviated some of the color blindness that sets in at night. The body was pale, almost luminous. Oatsie might divert the Grasstrail Train and give the corpse a wide berth before anyone else noticed it, but the slope of the person's shoulders, the unnatural twist of legs -- the jackal moon made her read the figure too well, as too clearly human, for her to be able to turn aside.

"Nubb," she barked to her second, "rein in. We'll pull into flank formation up that rise. There's another fatality, there in the runoff."

Cries of alarm as the news passed back, and another mutter of mutiny: Why should they stop? -- were they to bear witness to every fresh atrocity? Oatsie didn't listen. She yanked the reins of her team of horses, to halt them, and she lowered herself gingerly. She stumped, her hand on her sore hip, until she stood a few feet over the body.

Face down and genitals hidden, he appeared to have been a young man. A few scraps of fabric were still knotted about his waist, and a boot some yards distant, but he was otherwise naked, and no sign of his clothes.

Curious: no evidence of the assassins. Neither had there been about the bodies of the maunts, but that was on rockier ground, in a drier hour. Oatsie couldn't see any sign of scuffle here, and in the mud of the gulch one might have expected . . . something. The body wasn't bloody, nor decayed yet; the murder was recent. Perhaps this evening, perhaps only an hour ago.

"Nubb, let's heave him up and see if they've taken his face," she said.

"No blood," said Nubb.

"Blood may have run off in that cloudburst. Steel yourself, now."

They got on either side of the body and bit their lips. She looked at Nubb, meaning: It's only the next thing, it's not the last thing. Let's get through this, fellow.

She jerked her head in the direction of the hoist. One, two, heave.

They got him up. His head had fallen into a natural scoop in the stone, a few inches higher than where the rain had pooled. His face was intact, more or less; that is to say, it was still there, though shattered.

"How did he get here?" said Nubb. "And why didn't they scrape him?"

Oatsie just shook her head. She settled on her haunches. Her travelers had come forward and were congregating on the rise behind her; she could hear them rustling. She suspected that they had gathered stones, and were ready to kill her if she insisted on a burial.

The jackal moon rose a few notches higher, as if trying to see into the gulley. The prurience of the heavens!

"We're not going to dig another grave." That from her noisiest client, a wealthy trader from the northern Vinkus. "Not his, Oatsie Manglehand, and not yours, either. We're not doing it. We leave him unburied and alone, or we leave him unburied with your corpse for company."

"We don't need to do either," said Oatsie. She sighed. "Poor, poor soul, whoever he is. He needs no grave. He isn't dead yet."

In time, when the travelers had rejoined their cronies and relatives in the Emerald City -- in salons, in public houses, in taverns of exchange -- they heard more chatter about the hostilities they had managed to sidestep. Rumor flourished. Forty, sixty, a hundred deaths resulting from the skirmishes between the Scrow and the Yunamata. Barbarians, the lot of them:They deserved to kill off each other. But not us.

The foregoing is excerpted from Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 499 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 1, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    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 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!)

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

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    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...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)

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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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 January 6, 2007

    As Sad as Wicked

    When I read Wicked I was loving the musical. But when I got to the end of the book it felt like Maguire just gave up. It was still a good book so I decided to read the sequal, looking for awnsers. All it gave me was more questions, a scattered plot, and a confusing of showing love between characters. In the end I was pissed. He left it open with a sad excuse for an ending. And yet again gave up towards the end.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    FANTASTIC

    If you loved Wiked you are in for a treat.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Boring

    Don't waste your money

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Exceeded my expectations

    I really enjoyed this book and an looking forward to the next installment. The writing style is wonderful and it is easy to get totally immersed in the world that Maguire has expanded upon. The story is wonderful however, the content is not appropriate for children (adult situations that may make some adults uncomfortable).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Pretty Good

    Though not quite as good as Wicked, I did enjoy reading Son of a Witch and seeing how the story continued. The ending kind of drops off a little bit and left me wondering what's going to happen next. I definitely plan on reading more of Gregory MaGuire!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not Maguire's best work

    The story line was chaotic and aimless. The ending was pointless and left you wanting more. I felt like he was setting up a sequel more than delivering a compelling story.

    2 out of 2 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 January 5, 2012

    Not bad

    Son of a witch comes up a tad short compared to wicked but overall is still a good read. Most are familiar with elphaba, the freedom fighter for Animal rights, maguire cleverly shows the high standards liir must live up to set by an assumed mother. At times, he fits them, at times he contradicts them and at times he's only fighting for survival. With clever political issues disguised throughout the land of oz, son of a witch will keep you guessing until the final paragraph.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2011

    Son of a Witch is twitched with Brrr, known as the cowardly Lion, and stunning work of beautiful sights inside.

    This is probably the best one ever out there in these "Wicked" series, it's filled with mystery, a good pace, and finding who's your kin and who are you. If you a fan of Wicked which i hope you are! You'll madly fall in love with the stroyline and the bright charaters

    1 out of 1 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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    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 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    very good

    I think that, after reading the first book in the series (Wicked), it was slightly disappointing - but Wicked was quite exceptional, after all. Son of a Witch was a great book, it just couldn't quite compare to its predeceossor. All in all, though, it was a great part of the Wicked series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Son of a Witch or Lost in OZ...

    Son of a Witch or Lost in OZ...

    I expected more from the book than what I actually got out of it. Being the sequel of Wicked the majority of the characters were already formed but seemed to be lacking substance in this volume and if possible a bit less supported. I found the best part of this book to be the preview of this book found at the back of Wicked which by the way was Chapter One in this book word for word, leaving me to feel a bit taken aback, especially when there was no preview available for the next book in this serious. As for the writing style I overlooked the grammatical errors in Wicked attributing it to a new book and bad editing on the publishers end. The same problems in this existed and lead me to question if the book was edited at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A FIVE STAR READING BY THE AUTHOR

    In 1995 many of us delightedly discovered we were no longer in Oz. At least not the Oz we remembered. Instead, we found ourselves captured by the Oz spun from Gregory MaGuire's satiric pen and fertile imagination. It was a land where the Wizard no longer held sway, and the Wicked Witch of the West, Elpheba, is green and not really wicked after all. Maguire had woven such a spellbinding tale that it soon became the hit Broadway musical 'Wicked,': which is still running. Such is the enchantment of Oz and Gregory MaGuire. Now, in his long awaited sequel to 'Wicked,' we're introduced to the idea that Elpheba may have had a son. We meet a young boy, Liir, who is hiding in the darkness of the castle where Elpheba died (sent to wherever witches go by Dorothy). He has been badly beaten, supposed near death by his attackers. As if the condition of Liir weren't sad enough, there's also trouble galore in Emerald City. One must forget the Yellow Brick Road and see a gray place with violence on every corner. No Munchkins but barbarians who are slaughtering residents. Obviously, help is needed. Now, Liir does have Elpheba's black cape and broom, but does he have her power? Maguire has created a myth with the requisite moral lessons, and he reads it with clear understanding. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful sequel to Wicked, I was entranced from the start!

    A wonderful sequel to Wicked, I was entranced from the start!




    This story picks up with Liir, the boy who came to Kiamo Ko with Elphaba, leaving his home with Dorothy and the gang for Oz.  Dorothy is not a kind person at all in this story, and I cannot help but wonder why Liir is so taken with her.  Many adventures befall the young Liir, who was totally failed by Elphaba if she was intending to "raise" this child she brought with her to her lover's home.  He is very immature and needs more from life than he has previously received.  He hopes to find this in Oz.




    Liir does become more mature over time, but it does take him a long time to reach any level of maturity, that brings me hope that he might not be such a failure as an adult with anyone in his life other than himself to care for, unlike the non-maternal-esque Elphaba.  The questions of his parentage and if he has any powers or abilities do present themselves through the book, but for some of the answers, be prepared to wait quite a while for your curiosity to be appeased!




    I am thrilled to discover that there is more to the story that Maguire has created for the people of Oz.  I will have to hurry and get book three!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Love

    Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Wickedly Good

    I got so hooked on this entire series; i didnt do anything else until i finished every book. It's a little twisted & dark, but i love the way they paint Dorothy!

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