It has been a while since I’ve written a book review, and to be honest, it’s because it has taken me well over a month to tackle and eventually conquer Gregory Maguire’s final book in the four part ‘Wicked’ series. The fourth and final chapter, ‘Out of Oz’, is a masterpiece in fantasy writing, and stayed incredibly true to the original characters that millions of people the world over have fell in love with; Lady Glinda (The Good Witch) and Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West). I have read the original book in the series, Wicked, more than once have seen the musical a fantastic FIVE times, so naturally I was eager to see how Maguire would eventually cap off this incredible saga that has spanned well beyond the original characters, delving into the lives of their children and eventual grandchildren.
I’ll be honest, if you haven’t read the original three books; Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men, then I strongly encourage you to do so before picking this particular book up. While the timeline is important you could probably get by without, the back-story really does make this particular piece of literature that much more impactful. Having read all of the books myself, it’s hard for me to admit that this final chapter of the franchise was my least favourite of the books. While the writing style was completely in sync, and the story consisted of all my favourite characters, it came across too much as a wrap up for several story lines with a few additional grandchildren added in to the mix. I knew going in to this book that the author would more than likely wrap up the story on a positive note, leaving the reader with a sense of fulfillment. Maguire did just that, and in retrospect, I’m grateful. If the ending had been left open, or even a unanswered question for us readers to ponder, I probably would have been a little miffed.
If you’re a fan of the series, I strongly encourage you to read this book and form your own opinion. Heck, I could be wildly off the mark and be missing a key lesson that I just happened to skim over when reading while a bit sleepy at the end of the night a few weeks back.
There was one character and storyline that was re-address in Out of Oz that was originally introduced in Son of a Witch that I was ecstatic to see back in the plot. For those of you who have read the second novel in the series, you are aware that Elphaba has a child, a son, named Liir. The book obviously focuses on his life (hence the title of the book), which includes a love affair with another man, Trism. The unexpected gay storyline was written with such passion that I found myself yearning for more and desperately hoping they would end up together. Throughout the course of the book they eventually part ways (without ruining the story for you) and Liir finds a woman, Candle, that he eventually falls in love with, and they in turn have a child.
Liir and Candles child, a daughter named Rain, eventually becomes the focal point of the fourth book. Sadly, it took about 250 pages to get to that focus, which is a grueling amount of time when awaiting a story’s climax in a book. Throughout the telling of Rain’s story, the eventual truth of her father’s love of a man resurfaces, and the impact this has on the story is impeccable. My heart truly began to flutter whenever the relationship was revisited. If you hadn’t guessed it, I love me a gay storyline written in to any piece of literature, and once again, Maguire nailed it.
The excerpt from inside the cover:
“Hailed as ‘bewitching’, ‘remarkable’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘engrossing’, ‘amazing’, and ‘delicious,’ Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years series – a sophisticated fantasy cycle inspired by the classic children’s novel The Wizard of Oz – became national bestsellers and the basis for a hit Tony-winning Broadway musical. Now, Maguire returns with the final installment in his transformative work, a thrilling and compulsively readable saga in which the fate of Oz is decided at last…
Once peaceful and prosperous, the spectacular Land of Oz is knotted with social unrest; The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on the run from the law. And look who’s knocking at the door. It’s none other than Dorothy. Yes. THAT Dorothy.
Yet amidst all this chaos, Elphaba’s granddaughter, the tiny green baby born at the close of Son of a Witch, has come of age. Now it is up to Rain to take up her broom – and her legacy – in an Oz wracked by war.
The stirring, long-awaited conclusion to the bestselling series begun with Wicked, Out of Oz is a magical journey rife with revelations and reversals, reprisals and surprises – the hallmarks of the unique imagination of Gregory Maguire.”
For more information on the author and all of his literary works, check out his website; www.gregorymaguire.com