Wicked is the book that is the basis for the well-known Broadway musical of the same name. While this book elaborates on L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz, creating a fantastical realm of talking Animals and magic, it also alludes to many though-provoking controversies, from animal rights activism and conspiracy theorism, to the dichotomy of good and evil.
Maguire spins the backstory of the “wicked witch of the west,” giving her a name—Elphaba—and taking the reader through the trials of her life. His humanization of a character previously always considered “wicked” forces the audience to examine the very meaning of what it is to be wicked. Elphaba’s cleverness and quirkiness make her an intriguing character that the reader can’t avoid empathizing with. Maguire reworks the famous story of The Wizard of Oz and surprises the reader with his interpretation of Dorothy’s adventures in Oz. Wicked is a wonderful read for lovers of fantasy and philosophy alike.
Haley Smith (W&L ’13) Biology & Environmental Studies major, Asheville, NC