So, I finished reading A Lion Among Men today. This is the third of what is currently going to be four books in "The Wicked Years." I've read the first two, Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Son of a Witch. Because of this, I had mixed feelings about Lion. I didn't really like Wicked, the biggest reason being it was one of the first heavily adult novels I'd read, and another being I love Baum's Oz, and felt that Maguire ruined it. When I read Son in 2005 (about three or four years after my reading of Wicked), I surprisingly enjoyed it. Probably because Maguire rarely dealt with Baum's characters and used his own.
Now, when I started Lion, I'd finished reading a number of books for adults (and all of them non-Oz), so I'd given myself a better-rounded idea of the intended audience of Maguire.
Lion begins with the maunts in the Cloister of Saint Glinda trying to put Yackle to her rest. Her body won't die, but she wants to. Brrr, the Cowardly Lion, arrives on the scene, asking for information about Elphaba and the Grimmerie. In return, Yackle asks Brrr to reveal his story about his life. Brrr does, revealing a life of crushed hopes and utter failures.
Also, we learn more about the Time Dragon Clock, which featured in key scenes of Wicked, but was absent from Son. Introduced is a young woman who is with the band who takes care of the Clock, and I immediately guessed at her identity: she was Nor, the girl the titular Liir initially looks for in Son, who is his half-sister; Candle, the female lover of Liir who disappears after giving birth to a baby at the end of Son; or a resurrected Elphaba. One of my guesses, and the one I thought was most likely, was correct.
Overall, I didn't really enjoy the book. I knew what to expect from Maguire, but I found his writing style to be dry. It was an interesting story, it comes to a nice conclusion, but it almost felt as if it was told without the author having a real interest in the story. Really, I can't recommend this book for anyone who hasn't already read the first two, which aren't too high on my recommendations list anyways.
Opinions expressed here are solely those of Jared Davis and were shared with no one prior to this posting.