FROM THYSHELF - Wickedly good!

Wicked , The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Author: Gregory Maguire

Wicked is a story about a green skinned woman named Elphaba and how did she become the infamous wicked witch. This is a somewhat prequel to L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. Baum's classic tale tells only the story of Dorothy. But how about the witch's side? Gregory Maguire creates a world so vivid and rich that you will never look at Oz the same way again. This novel was the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical (one of my favorite musicals ever!!). 

Ever since I have learned about the musical and this novel (about three years ago), I have been on the search  for this book. Constant visits to different bookstores and endless searching in the internet but to no avail. The only closest thing I saw was the second book in the series (The Son of the Witch). Finally, I saw a copy and I immediately bought it. Of course, I started on it immediately and here is what I thought about it:

The story is very different from the Broadway play. Although the characters are the same and settings are the same, the flow of the story is very different. The play tells how Elphaba and Glinda were very good friends and how they both loved the same man and their different political views which is why they grew apart. The book, although states that both girls are friends, did not tell that they share the love of Fiyero. Their political views are very much the same until Elphaba decides to do it alone. I thought the musical had a mature story line until I read the book. I never imagined how a fairy tale could be filled with tyranny, murder sex and romance. The reviews were right, I will never look at Oz the same way again.

Here are some of the characters of the story:

Elphaba - The Wicked Witch of the West. Daughter of Frex and Melena. Sister of Nessarose and Shell. She was born with green skin and shark like teeth. She was a student at Crage Hall in Shiz where she met Glinda. Elphaba was a student of life sciences under Doctor Dillamond, a goat, who was fighting for the rights of Animals. 

Glinda - The Good Witch. Glinda was Gillikinese. She was Elphaba's best friend at Shiz. She studied sorcery under Madam Morrible. Pretty and ambitious Glinda, whose real name was Galinda before she changed it, gave the ruby slippers to Dorothy when she came to Oz and led her to see the wizard.

Boq - a munchkinlander, Boq was Elphaba's good friend. Boq was in love with Glinda. He gave up on her because he knows he doesn't have a chance. Boq helped Elphaba in her research to fight for Animal rights with Doctor Dillamond.

Fiyero - a Vinkus. Fiyero was the Arijiki Prince of Kiamo Ko. He was also a student at Shiz and was once Elphaba and Glinda's friend. He was the lover of Elphaba althoug he had a wife and three kids in Kiamo Ko.   He was the one who found Elphaba after she left Shiz.

Nessarose - The witch of the east. Nessarose was Elphaba's younger sister. Nessa's parentage was quite unknown since their mother, Melena, had an affair. Nessarose was a paraplegic due to a medicine her mother was drinking so that she may not be green skinned like Elphaba.. All her life, Nanny was there to take care of her until Glinda placed a spell on her ruby slippers. She inherited her grandfather's place as Eminent Thropp when Elphaba ran away and was into hiding. She was killed when Dorothy came and Dorothy's farmhouse landed on her.

Madam Morrible - headmistress of Shiz. She was skilled in sorcery and rumored to be working closely with the wizard. Elphaba planned to kill her because she believes that she is the one who killed Doctor Dillamond to stop him from his work on Animal rights

Nanny - She was Melena's old nanny who took care of Elphaba when she was little and of Nessarose. She came to Shiz with Nessarose to look after her and her sister. She left Nessarose when the ruby slippers was magicked. She came to live with Elphaba in the west.

Wizard - the wizard was the most mysterious character. Stories and gossip form his persona. Some people say that he arrived in a balloon and took the place of the ruler of Oz. Although there is a surprise part of who he really is near the end of the story.

Liir - a young boy who came to live with Elphaba. Liir's identity is still unclear although Elphaba suspects he is her son with Fiyero.

Sarima - Fiyero's wife. Sarima live with her sisters in Kiamo Ko. She was wedded to Fiyero when they were seven years old. She accepted Elphaba to live with them because it is customary in the mountains to always accept visitors although I think she knew about Elphaba and Fiyero.

So there you have it. I hope i can find time to read the other books in this series. Gregory Maguire did a fantastic job in creating an alternate world for Oz.