I never really believed in the phrase over egging the pudding, I now feel that I can apply this to Son of a Witch the latest Gregory Maguire novel. One of my favourite books is ‘Wicked’ now also a successful award winning musical. What I loved about Wicked was its originality. It added such a clever twist to a very well known tale of Elphaba the wicked witch of the west before Dorothy lands in Oz and questions how wicked she really was.
Wicked was rare in the fact that, for someone who doesn’t generally like peoples sequels or prequels to novels, I got totally re-emerged into the wonderful world of Oz that I loved so much from The Wizard of Oz. So when this novel came out on import (even though it’s coming out in paperback in the UK very soon) I had to grab a copy, the US covers are so much better anyway.
So would I love Oz as much as I did the last time? Not really. This is the tale of Liir who could or could not be the son of Elphaba. It tells of how he is found in the desert and the journey that leads him there which includes a few faces from the past. I like Maguire’s writing style. Wicked had so much imagination and involved some wonderful story telling, everything I loved in Wicked seemed completely lacking in this novel. I wasn’t interested in the characters, sub plots or references to the tales of Oz that we know and love. I felt cheated. I do not claim to think I could have written this novel better, I am just saying that the magic of Oz seems to have worn off.
I have also read ‘Mirror, Mirror’ a retold version of Snow White and have to admit I find that a lacklustre retelling of the original fairytale, so maybe Wicked just ticked all my boxes. It has mystery, witches, talking animals and a real gothic and epic feel to it, sadly its ‘son’ falls flat on its face whilst learning to crawl. A disappointment, maybe I had too high expectations. Is this something a reader can be guilty of? That sounds like the next blog to me…