I finally got around to reading the second installment in the Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire, and naturally, just enough time had passed for me to forget what had happened in the end of Wicked, the first book.
I’ll recap for those of you who want it.
In the beginning of Son of a Witch, we find an unconscious Liir brought to the mauntery from whence Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, had set out with him years ago. As a young may-be maunt takes care of him, Liir’s mind relives everything he has been through since Dorothy tearfully and regretfully killed the witch.
During this time, Liir has visited the Emerald City and searched for Nor, his maybe half sister who was kidnapped when they were young. He joined the army and did things he regretted.He rediscovered Elphaba’s cloak and broom, the latter of which allows him to fly.
Throughout the story, Liir is wrestling with several questions; was Elphaba his mother? What should he do with his life? Are any of the things he has done meaningful, or did they just seem that way in the moment?
This second installment was very much about developing Liir’s character. He is showing himself to be, to a degree, complacent and cynical, allowing events to happen, even participating in them, but with no motivation or conviction. Yet, when he goes to the Birds’ convention, when he takes on the dragons, and when he returns to Apple Press Farm to find Candle, the young not-maunt who nursed him back to health, he shows signs of changing that character. He is aware of his limp nature, and knows he wants to be something more. At the end of the book, he is primed to pursue that path, with a (his?) green baby at his side.
Son of a Witch is a fun book. It’s got some adventure, and even if you kind of look back and think the book didn’t have anything particularly huge or groundbreaking in it, it’s still well worth the reading. And leaves the stage set for a lot in the third book (which I don’t have, so by the time I read it, I’ll have forgotten everything pertinent in this book. Series are a love-hate thing.).
If you’re looking for something fun, something new, something with character development and growth, the Wicked Years series is the place to go. You’re not likely to be disappointed.