It's been almost two years to the day that I first read "A Lion Among Men" (309 pages) by Gregory Maguire. In fact tomorrow would be the exact date. My first impressions of the book can be found here. It's amazing that I can remember exactly what I was doing the day I received this book (helping a friend move) but I had forgotten many of the details of the novel. From Goodreads:
"While civil war looms in Oz, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, a figure known as Brrr the Cowardly Lion arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. Abandoned as a cub, his path from infancy is no Yellow Brick Road. In the wake of laws that oppress talking Animals, he avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the warmongering Emperor of Oz.
A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City's approaching armies. Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?
Gregory Maguire's new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics."
As with my other readings of any of the "Wicked Years" novels, I find the second time through to be much more enjoyable. Freed of any expectations I can take in the book for what it is. Though fans commonly like this book the least, I now consider it to be just as strong as "Wicked" or "Son of a Witch," an opinion that is new. True, the book moves along at a much slower. What the pace of the story lacks, it makes up for it with answers to questions readers have wondered about since the first novel. And as I've said before it opens up a whole new can of worms to wonder about.
Having re-read the "Wicked Years" saga, I'm very eager to get down to reading "Out of Oz," which was released last Tuesday, the final installment in the series. From what I've read online the last novel should tie up all the loose ends and storylines proposed in the last three volumes.
"The Wizard was revealed as a mere mortal, and a bit of a charlatan at that. As clever with his hands - all those tiktok inventions, those terrifying images he projected - as he was with his diktats and fiats and fatwahs. Oh my."