Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Life and Times of the Witch of the West ( Years)

68%

22 Critic Reviews

Being a writer myself, I frequently take a mediocre book and think about how I could make it better as I’m reading it. Let’s just say I’d have to write my own version of Wicked entirely and yes, I think I could do it better. I’m not trying to brag – just stating how awful I thought this book was throughout.
-The Lone Writer

Synopsis

This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn’t nearly as Wicked as we imagined.

 

About Gregory Maguire

See more books from this Author
Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by William Morrow. 406 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Horror. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 19 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Wicked
All: 22 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Good

Her journey along this road is a captivating, funny, and perceptive look at destiny, personal responsibility, and the not-always-clashing beliefs of faith and magic.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Oct 30 1995

Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should, despite being far removed in spirit from the Baum books, captivate devotees of fantasy.

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Publishers Weekly

Good

Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should...captivate devotees of fantasy.

Read Full Review of Wicked: The Life and Times of... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Excellent
on Oct 10 2006

Maguire creates a full and detailed world. In his hands, Oz has climate, ethnic groups, competing religions, and mythology.

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Blog Critics

Good
on May 31 2005

This is no child’s tale. Read it, and I guarantee you’ll never see the Wizard of Oz in quite the same way again.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Brian Triplett on May 17 2011

Even if you need to rely on Wikipedia to understand all of Maguire's obscure references to Baum's books, "Wicked" is still an interesting study of the nature of good and evil.

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The Independent

Good
on Mar 08 2006

...Elpheba becomes a true Wicked Witch, and also a genuine heroine. This makes the last section of the tale - from the death of Elpheba's sister under a falling house to her own melting-away - as moving and tragic as it is refreshing and scurrilous.

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Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Teabelly on Feb 15 2010

I also couldn't shake my previous knowledge of Oz, no matter how limited. I thought the story would fit into what we already knew...I was really disappointed with this, because I had so enjoyed the beginning, and then became reluctant to even finish it.

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Pajiba

Good
on Oct 21 2008

...you become in a way her travel companion on the strange, sad road of her life and in being privy to those bumps and missteps along the way that shape her persona, you view her as not so much a hook-nose wretch but a scarred, lost soul.

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Tor

Above average
on Dec 16 2010

I cannot love this book—it is too emotionally cold, too harsh. But I can admire it, and I can become utterly absorbed by it, and enjoy the many quotable bits.

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SF Site

Below average

I found this book to be an implausible prequel to The Wizard of Oz. From an improbable childhood to her college days I found the development of Elphaba to be ridiculous.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Robkingett on Feb 16 2015

In Wicked, Gregory Maguire has re-created and populated Oz with the power of his own imagination. Fantastically real, after reading this novel you will be unable to see the Wizard of Oz in the same way again.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by WalkingOnTheMoon on Nov 01 2014

Maguire’s masterpiece impresses upon us that there just might have been a little bit more behind her famous last phrase, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”.

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Gather Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Trudy Parks on May 03 2008

Mr. Maguire has created a truly great — and flawed — heroine in a novel that is a psychological analysis on one of the most "evil" characters of the twentieth century. WICKED is one good book, and be warned, you will never look at Oz in the same way. I highly recommend this book!

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Curled Up

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing on Feb 16 2015

I made this book my in-store staff recommendation twice when I was a bookseller, in hardcover and paperback, and my evident love for Wicked caused nearly half our store staff to read it for themselves. Two things we all agreed on: Wicked is one hell of a good book, and we will never look at Oz in the same way.

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Fangs For The Fantasy

Above average
Reviewed by Sparky on Jun 04 2012

In total, this book has a lot of depth, it has some amazing twists and it raises a lot of questions that can make you think for a very long time. And for half the book, it was a hard read, but it was a deeply rewarding read – it was worth the effort by far.

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Literary Exploration

Good
Reviewed by MICHAEL KITTO on Aug 28 2014

What I enjoy about Wicked is the way the reader gets to explore these concepts of good and evil. I am reminded of Frankenstein with the approach to this topic.

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It's Time to Read

Above average
Reviewed by Katie on Jul 28 2012

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t enjoy this book much. I found the book very long and really confusing. There were several reasons why I was confused for most of the time and didn’t really like the book...I’m rating this 3 out of 5 because there were some parts of the book I enjoyed and because it isn’t the worst book I’ve read this year.

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Angela's Anxious Life

Below average
on Sep 19 2013

Honestly this book has a lot of stuff going on. I like the parts of the books that have to do with Oz...On the other hand this story is stuffed with lots of political themes and well lots of lessons for us all to learn. That is the part of the book I just don't enjoy.

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A Good Stopping Point

Above average
on Oct 30 2011

I didn’t quite buy into the intensity of Elphaba’s desire for her sister’s ruby slippers which unfortunately is the driving force of Elphaba’s story in the last act. Still, I plan on reading more in the series to discover what else is in store for the remaining characters...

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Once Upon A Bookcase

Above average
Reviewed by Jo on Sep 11 2006

...it's amazing how Maguire took a children's story, and expanded it so much to make an intricate and believable adult story, while still sticking to what we know of The Wizard of Oz. Fantastic!

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The Lone Writer

Below average
Reviewed by Shannon Yarbrough on Jul 16 2012

Being a writer myself, I frequently take a mediocre book and think about how I could make it better as I’m reading it. Let’s just say I’d have to write my own version of Wicked entirely and yes, I think I could do it better. I’m not trying to brag – just stating how awful I thought this book was throughout.

Read Full Review of Wicked: The Life and Times of...

Reader Rating for Wicked
66%

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