I love my physical edition of this novel...while the reading experience wasn't as good as always thought that it would be.
MANY SHADES OF GREEN
A thing that I got amazed when I started to "label" this book, in the process of my review, in my virtual shelves of Goodreads was how many different genres the novel touches... Politics, Religion, Romance, Humor, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery and even Espionage.
And I was very tempted to select Military too but I opted not.
And certainly the mood and themes of the story embraces all those genres and maybe more.
I knew about this book series some years ago while I was researching about the topic of Oz in general and since then I thought that it could be good to read it.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT... FOR A BOOK'S EDITION
Some months ago (2013), by chance, I found this edition in a shelf of a local bookstore. I recognized the title of the book and I took it by impulse. The cover was gorgeous with the poster of the musical version BUT what stunned me was the detail that this particular edition has the edges of the pages colored in green...
Ah?! Honestly I can't think in something cooler to make irresistible this edition.
Those marvelous green edges on the pages of the book sold me the novel right away and I couldn't took back the book on the shelf. Thanks goodness the wicked magic of the credit card allowed me to go out of the bookstore with the novel.
THIS IS NOT KANSAS!
Certainly when I started to read the book, I knew that I wasn't in Kansas anymore! Geez! The Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodman kiss their mothers with those filthy mouths?! The introduction of the book is like a slap to the readers to make them understand quick and hard that this is indeed an adult book.
You know? I am not a prude, not in the least, but I think that Maguire made a hard effort to make sure that this will be an adult novel since I think that many of the issues touched here could work just the same without the need of some big words and sex scenes, while the drugs had to stay, hehehe, since indeed here the drugs played an important purpose on key moments.
It was like: "well since we have sex, drugs and rock n' roll (well no, no rock n' roll, really, not even on the musical version) this is a story for only we, the adults, sorry kids, you will have to keep busy with the Baum's cute books meanwhile you grow up some years."
Well, C.S. Lewis said that any children's tale that it can't be enjoyed by adults just the same, it's a poor children's tale.
So, facts of life... first, kids aren't dumb, they can understand heavy topics, even more the new generations that grow up with internet as nanny, and second, adults don't need sex, drugs and r... (you got it) to enjoy an intelligent story.
IT'S NOT EASY TO BE GREEN
Since this is a really smart tale, but maybe I had some expectations that affect my final rating of the book.
First, there are really big "jumps" between the chapters and while there some unexpected turns and twists (that one can think that it's something good) but some of those twists were... ah? With him? Really? Geez! And romance left the building!
Later, I really expected an explanation of how a person can turn to be evil or be seen as evil, but Elphaba turned out to be wicked not as evil but as crazy and for reasons really odd.
Also, since the beginning there is something that I don't understand. Elphaba born with green skin, okay, HERE, in our beloved Kansas and the rest of the Earth around, it could be a real trouble but hey, they aren't in Kansas anymore, that's Oz, a land where animals can talk and people can do magic!
How odd really can be a person with green skin over there?
Honestly I could be more freak out for a talking goat or lion than watching a person with green skin.
Also, the green skin resulted an odd issue again at some point, you see, Elphaba is in hiding, but hey, she is walking around the city... how good can be in hiding for "several" years if she is supposed to be the only woman with green skin in all Oz?!
What? The Gale Force recluted colorblind people?! Geez!
Also, I have my theories about the physical problem of Nessarose (Elphaba's sister) but since it wasn't approached beyond of being just a birth defect, I don't see the point of her problem.
Even I think that the story was evolving quite fine until Maguire tried to put together his own story with the original story when Dorothy arrives to Oz.
Besides all my complaints, the book is still a smart vessel to touch sensitive topics of politics, religion and social interaction without worrying to be subjected to harsh critique since he smartly uses characters and themes in Oz and you have to deduce those allegories on your own and at the end, they will be your own ideas and not necessarily what the author wanted to say.
However, the book lacks of some action, all stuff happened in a very appeased tempo.
Nevertheless, I want to try in the future the other books by Maguire, on this Wicked series and his other stand-alone novels based on retellings of classic children's books.