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Son Of A Witch (2011)

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Son of a Witch (Wicked Years Series #2)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594576334
  • Publisher: \
  • Publication date: 6/25/2014
  • Sales rank: 339,361
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire
Spinning fantastical tales for adults and children alike -- from the hit kids' series The Hamlet Chronicles to the decidedly more grown-up adventures played out in Wicked and Mirror, Mirror, Gregory Maguire has cast a potent literary spell on readers of all ages.


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."

Read More Show Less
    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:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 499 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 499 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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

    more from this reviewer

    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:


    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


    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

    more from this reviewer

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    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

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    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


    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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