Son of a Witch: Volume Two in the Wicked Years

By Gregory Maguire
Son of a Witch: Volume Two in the Wicked Years

Started reading: 30th December 2010
Finished reading: 31st January 2011


Rating: 5

Son of a Witch is the second book in Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked” series. It chronicles the life and coming of age of Liir, who may or may not be the son of the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba).

Son of a Witch is a deeply frustrating book, on many levels. I listened to the audiobook version, and disliked the narrator. Nothing is worse than slogging through a book with an annoying narrator. But that isn’t the end of the frustrations. The books characters feel half formed. Take Liir, for example.

Whereas the first book in the series follows a fascinating individual, Liir is most definitely not his “mother.” He lacks her drive and ambition, in addition to her depth. He is conflicted about everyone, doesn’t understand his place in the world, and allows himself to be manipulated and misused. Yet, he still accomplishes great and terrible things. The two pieces don’t seem to match up very well, and Maguire doesn’t make much effort to make them fit.

Other characters, such as Glinda, are treated similarly. She is written off as a society airhead, yet is a markedly capable ruler of Oz. Huh?

If you enjoyed Wicked, you might find yourself (like me) deeply conflicted about Son of a Witch. It’s a very different book than Wicked, which might not be all bad. However, in the end, I found that the frustrations outweigh the attractions.