Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire has created a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again.

Topics: Magic, Witches, Outcasts, Animal Rights, Folk and Fairy Tales, Speculative Fiction, Talking Animals, Tetralogy, Sisters, Revenge, Friendship, Wizards, Love, Politics, Animals, Alternate Universe, Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous, Female Protagonist, Female Friendship, Antihero, Exciting, and Allegorical

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061792946
List price: $6.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
I love the new look on the wicked witch.more
A clever idea that is written well but is sometimes bawdier than necessary, sometimes more twee than necessary, sometimes more transparent or contrived than necessary. Unlike Baum's work this is neither for children nor an American fairy tale. That can only mean the author wrote it for himself, or for adults raised with "The Wizard of Oz" and derivative movies. The book series begun by Baum more consistently expands the Emerald City and environs into a fully realized world. Still, if you are an adult who loved Oz, you will be pleased by how readably "Wicked" tucks in to the empty spaces between the lines and chapters in Baum's story.more
Great book! This book offers a fresh take on a beloved story. It really makes one think about how any tale has multiple points of view.more
One of my favorites. This is not your grandmother's Wizard of Oz or your child's for that matter. It gets you thinking about prejudice and injustice, and the parallels between Oz and our world. We should all be a bit more Elphaba. That being said, it's also a fun read for reading's sake.
more
My oldest daughter talked me into reading this and i'm really glad she did; it is a wonderful look at the possibilities of what is on the other side of the story and really helps you to look at others in a different lightmore
This book, while interesting, was a kind of difficult read. It was very complicated and convoluted, and even a bit disturbing. I was keen to read it after seeing Wicked, the musical. The musical is much better than the book.more
Ugh, this book was SOOO BORING!! It was a chore to read this thing. I had to take 10 pages at a time, and even that was too much. Elphaba had such potential to be an amazing character - what a disappointment. She did have a few great moments of dry humor, and I could identify with her occasionally, but I could just never understand what she was all about or even how exactly she turned into the person everyone came to view as a witch. This is one of those rare cases where the "movie" (musical, actually) is better (in this case, WAY better) than the book. The only reason I gave this book 2 stars was because I thought the whole Animal rights thing was really interesting, but even that seemed to be covered better in the musical. *sigh*
Maybe most of what this book was about is just over my head or something. I just wish there would have been more heart in this story to accompany all the allegorical stuff.more
Book club choice...

So the second time around my opinion remains the same. The author writes all of this (what I feel is unnecessary) description, but then stops short of actually completing his point. THEN it just gets boring after Fiyero dies. I mean, all that time in the Vinkus is just bland. Even despite the almost hitting on a point then shying away, I still like the beginning. But once I get to part 4 it's hard for me to keep going.more
Great remix of a story I grew up with.more
It was okay, but not as brilliant as people assured me it was. I've tried to read the sequel, but I get nowhere with it.more
The Musical is better. Not often is the popular medium version of a book better, but this time it was. The musical better weaves some of the details of the novel throughout the whole story (eg the Galinda/Glinda name change) and makes a good long story wondefully succinct.

And the soundtrack to the musical is excellent!

But still a good book.more
The idea of telling the back story to "The Wizard of Oz" through the eyes of the Wicked Witch of the West seems fascinating, but frankly, I got bored as Maguire worked it out in practice. One problem may be that he didn't fully realize his alternative take on the mythic world created by Frank Baum, I'm not sure. I am sure that I had to push myself to read to the end.more
This was so cool. Honestly, not a big Oz fan here, so I picked this up with some trepidation. It came so highly recommended that I chanced it, however.

I am so glad I did.

Beautiful use of characterization, superb descriptive ability and a fantastic talent for not only engaging the reader, but engaging their sympathies.

Read it. Trust me, it's awesome.more
A revisionist backstory to The Wizard of Oz, A study of the three religions of OZ (pagan, cannonized, and scientific) and how they all had a hand in creating Elphaba. Maquire is essentially a pessimist, I think, but his story transcends that to enchant and challenge.more
I was really looking forward to reading this, but I was so disappointed. This is as dull as dishwater.more
Very slow-going at first, but once you get into it, it captures you. If you can battle through, it's a worthwhile read.more
This was definitely not what I expected. I thought the concept was good. In the beginning chapters I was really into the book, then it turned political, Wizard of Oz political. That's when I started to lose interest. After the middle chapters I lost the desire to even pick up the book. It took me awhile to finish and I was glad when it was over. Over all the story was not bad, but I wished it wasn't so heavy on the politics.more
A truly awesome book - Maguire's "Wicked" is the stunning prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" and after finishing the book, there is no doubt regarding the legitimacy of the hype surrounding it. Although somewhat confusing (as most science fiction epics are), the background to Oz provided by Maguire is compelling and fascinating, much the same as the author himself. Definitely wanting to read the sequel, "Son of a Witch" soon!more
I can't even be bothered to review this book. It is so disjointed and inconsistent (with unnecessary sex). Good idea with no concept of "plot".more
Couldn't get more than a hundred or so pages into this one. Not sure if it was completely lack of anything entertaining or the rather...confusing twists that the author makes his dialogue perform, but every time I opened it to read, I found myself intently interested in doing anything but.more
After all the hype I'd heard about this book, I have to admit that I was a bit let down when I finished it. Much darker than I'd expected, the book is a thick read. But I love the retelling of the Wicked Witch story, and all of the characters and intrigue. I'd recommend the book to pretty much everyone except young kids--there's violence, and a bit of sexual content.more
First off, this is nothing like the Broadway musical, so if you're reading this book hoping for a story just like it, you're going to get something so much more! Gregory Maguire is a master storyteller, especially when it comes to subverting classic tales. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that before Dorothy dropped in, Elphaba (who will later be known as the Wicked Witch of the West), had a very interesting life. The book follows her from childhood, to college life, and beyond, all while giving us a depiction of a girl who is way more complicated than The Wizard of Oz ever let on. By the end of the novel, I was unsure about whether I liked Elphaba or not. And to me, that is a sign of great character writing.This novel can be challenging and complicated, but I was so fascinated by the characters and the plot that I found myself blazing through the book. It's a lot more dark and intriguing than the musical. I can't recommend this book enough!more
I love it when authors remake fairy tales for adults, this is a wonderfully written book. The series i think has been stretched a little to far but i would most definitely recommend this first adventure/interpretation. I am impatiently waiting to go see the broadway reenactment as well. Tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, and makes you fall in love with the character who has lived such a rough and wronged life and basically despise all the originally heroic characters. A must read for any one who loved the Wizard of Oz adventures as a kid.more
A great adult book about the true story of the Wicked Witch of the West. An entertaining and sometimes deadly serious backstory of the Wizard of Oz which can be much more bloody and dark you had ever think......more
Having waited for some years until I was in an “Oz” mood before reading this novel, I must say that it has lived up to its reputation and then some! It is as if Maguire has grabbed the rich imagination of the original Oz books, of which I’ve only read the first few, and then run rampant with it. The novel was an (ebook) page turner, with morals and ethics, religion and love and friendship analyzed at every turn. There were very dark moments and moments of inspiration. Truly well worth reading.more
Loved this book, and I'm planning to read it again. I have no idea why it's currently #3 or the goodreads Worst Books list.more
Read all 345 reviews

Reviews

I love the new look on the wicked witch.more
A clever idea that is written well but is sometimes bawdier than necessary, sometimes more twee than necessary, sometimes more transparent or contrived than necessary. Unlike Baum's work this is neither for children nor an American fairy tale. That can only mean the author wrote it for himself, or for adults raised with "The Wizard of Oz" and derivative movies. The book series begun by Baum more consistently expands the Emerald City and environs into a fully realized world. Still, if you are an adult who loved Oz, you will be pleased by how readably "Wicked" tucks in to the empty spaces between the lines and chapters in Baum's story.more
Great book! This book offers a fresh take on a beloved story. It really makes one think about how any tale has multiple points of view.more
One of my favorites. This is not your grandmother's Wizard of Oz or your child's for that matter. It gets you thinking about prejudice and injustice, and the parallels between Oz and our world. We should all be a bit more Elphaba. That being said, it's also a fun read for reading's sake.
more
My oldest daughter talked me into reading this and i'm really glad she did; it is a wonderful look at the possibilities of what is on the other side of the story and really helps you to look at others in a different lightmore
This book, while interesting, was a kind of difficult read. It was very complicated and convoluted, and even a bit disturbing. I was keen to read it after seeing Wicked, the musical. The musical is much better than the book.more
Ugh, this book was SOOO BORING!! It was a chore to read this thing. I had to take 10 pages at a time, and even that was too much. Elphaba had such potential to be an amazing character - what a disappointment. She did have a few great moments of dry humor, and I could identify with her occasionally, but I could just never understand what she was all about or even how exactly she turned into the person everyone came to view as a witch. This is one of those rare cases where the "movie" (musical, actually) is better (in this case, WAY better) than the book. The only reason I gave this book 2 stars was because I thought the whole Animal rights thing was really interesting, but even that seemed to be covered better in the musical. *sigh*
Maybe most of what this book was about is just over my head or something. I just wish there would have been more heart in this story to accompany all the allegorical stuff.more
Book club choice...

So the second time around my opinion remains the same. The author writes all of this (what I feel is unnecessary) description, but then stops short of actually completing his point. THEN it just gets boring after Fiyero dies. I mean, all that time in the Vinkus is just bland. Even despite the almost hitting on a point then shying away, I still like the beginning. But once I get to part 4 it's hard for me to keep going.more
Great remix of a story I grew up with.more
It was okay, but not as brilliant as people assured me it was. I've tried to read the sequel, but I get nowhere with it.more
The Musical is better. Not often is the popular medium version of a book better, but this time it was. The musical better weaves some of the details of the novel throughout the whole story (eg the Galinda/Glinda name change) and makes a good long story wondefully succinct.

And the soundtrack to the musical is excellent!

But still a good book.more
The idea of telling the back story to "The Wizard of Oz" through the eyes of the Wicked Witch of the West seems fascinating, but frankly, I got bored as Maguire worked it out in practice. One problem may be that he didn't fully realize his alternative take on the mythic world created by Frank Baum, I'm not sure. I am sure that I had to push myself to read to the end.more
This was so cool. Honestly, not a big Oz fan here, so I picked this up with some trepidation. It came so highly recommended that I chanced it, however.

I am so glad I did.

Beautiful use of characterization, superb descriptive ability and a fantastic talent for not only engaging the reader, but engaging their sympathies.

Read it. Trust me, it's awesome.more
A revisionist backstory to The Wizard of Oz, A study of the three religions of OZ (pagan, cannonized, and scientific) and how they all had a hand in creating Elphaba. Maquire is essentially a pessimist, I think, but his story transcends that to enchant and challenge.more
I was really looking forward to reading this, but I was so disappointed. This is as dull as dishwater.more
Very slow-going at first, but once you get into it, it captures you. If you can battle through, it's a worthwhile read.more
This was definitely not what I expected. I thought the concept was good. In the beginning chapters I was really into the book, then it turned political, Wizard of Oz political. That's when I started to lose interest. After the middle chapters I lost the desire to even pick up the book. It took me awhile to finish and I was glad when it was over. Over all the story was not bad, but I wished it wasn't so heavy on the politics.more
A truly awesome book - Maguire's "Wicked" is the stunning prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" and after finishing the book, there is no doubt regarding the legitimacy of the hype surrounding it. Although somewhat confusing (as most science fiction epics are), the background to Oz provided by Maguire is compelling and fascinating, much the same as the author himself. Definitely wanting to read the sequel, "Son of a Witch" soon!more
I can't even be bothered to review this book. It is so disjointed and inconsistent (with unnecessary sex). Good idea with no concept of "plot".more
Couldn't get more than a hundred or so pages into this one. Not sure if it was completely lack of anything entertaining or the rather...confusing twists that the author makes his dialogue perform, but every time I opened it to read, I found myself intently interested in doing anything but.more
After all the hype I'd heard about this book, I have to admit that I was a bit let down when I finished it. Much darker than I'd expected, the book is a thick read. But I love the retelling of the Wicked Witch story, and all of the characters and intrigue. I'd recommend the book to pretty much everyone except young kids--there's violence, and a bit of sexual content.more
First off, this is nothing like the Broadway musical, so if you're reading this book hoping for a story just like it, you're going to get something so much more! Gregory Maguire is a master storyteller, especially when it comes to subverting classic tales. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that before Dorothy dropped in, Elphaba (who will later be known as the Wicked Witch of the West), had a very interesting life. The book follows her from childhood, to college life, and beyond, all while giving us a depiction of a girl who is way more complicated than The Wizard of Oz ever let on. By the end of the novel, I was unsure about whether I liked Elphaba or not. And to me, that is a sign of great character writing.This novel can be challenging and complicated, but I was so fascinated by the characters and the plot that I found myself blazing through the book. It's a lot more dark and intriguing than the musical. I can't recommend this book enough!more
I love it when authors remake fairy tales for adults, this is a wonderfully written book. The series i think has been stretched a little to far but i would most definitely recommend this first adventure/interpretation. I am impatiently waiting to go see the broadway reenactment as well. Tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, and makes you fall in love with the character who has lived such a rough and wronged life and basically despise all the originally heroic characters. A must read for any one who loved the Wizard of Oz adventures as a kid.more
A great adult book about the true story of the Wicked Witch of the West. An entertaining and sometimes deadly serious backstory of the Wizard of Oz which can be much more bloody and dark you had ever think......more
Having waited for some years until I was in an “Oz” mood before reading this novel, I must say that it has lived up to its reputation and then some! It is as if Maguire has grabbed the rich imagination of the original Oz books, of which I’ve only read the first few, and then run rampant with it. The novel was an (ebook) page turner, with morals and ethics, religion and love and friendship analyzed at every turn. There were very dark moments and moments of inspiration. Truly well worth reading.more
Loved this book, and I'm planning to read it again. I have no idea why it's currently #3 or the goodreads Worst Books list.more
Load more
scribd