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  • Wicked

  • The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
  • By: Gregory Maguire
  • Narrated by: John McDonough
  • Length: 19 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (320 ratings)

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Wicked cover art

Wicked

By: Gregory Maguire
Narrated by: John McDonough
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Summary

Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

Elphaba is born with green skin, a precocious mind, and a talent for magic. An outcast throughout her childhood in Munchkinland, she finally begins to feel as though she fits in when she enters the University in the Emerald City. While she hones her skills, she discovers that Oz isn't the Utopia it seems. She sets out to protect its unwanted creatures, becoming known as the Wicked Witch along the way.

Narrator John McDonough draws you in to Maguire's magical world of witches and talking animals, making it possible to believe in a land somewhere over the rainbow.

©1995 Gregory Maguire (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic reviews

"A staggering feat of wordcraft." ( Los Angeles Times)
"McDonough's excellent portrayals of Elphaba's outspoken, gravel-voiced nanny, Glinda's snobbish friends, and the wide-eyed, soft-spoken Dorothy make this excursion to Oz worthwhile." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Wicked

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Still one of my absolute faves.

I've listened more times than I can remember now and each time I spot something I've missed. the narration is fab. the storyline speaks to my soul. Just brilliant 👏

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely not for children

Not at all what I expected, but a detailed, shocking story of Oz.
I haven’t seen the musical but I imagine there’s not a lot of this book in a family show.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen

Puts a totally different light on the original story, just begs the question" who was really Wicked ?????? " it's up to you to decide !!!!!!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story

much darker than the musical but it was extremely enjoyable and i would recommend it

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disregard what others say about the narration

John McDonough does a fantastic job of not only the narration but also the depth and variances of each character. Galinda/Glinda sounds vastly different to Elphaba. Boq and Fieyero are easy to tell apart etc.

The book itself is of course brilliantly written. If you enjoy the show, you’ll love the book although be warned there are plenty of differences and is a lot darker (I’d recommend doing research on potential triggers if you’re so affected) but if you’re prepared for a darker story with so much depth and lore into the “wonderful” world of Oz, then pick this title up.

I would recommend this book to anybody interested in fantasy although I would also venture to say that anybody interested in politics, semantics, philosophy or even religious arguments would enjoy this title as it has very interesting views on matters that can easily be translated into our own, slightly less magical, lives

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

So slow. So long

Having seen the musical multiple times I decided to read the source text. At first it was fascinating the differences and extension to the story universe. But after getting ⅓ of the way through it still feels like the story is yet to start. It’s verbose and the narration is a drudge. Such a shame. It’s a book I want to have read, not one I want to read.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Overall it’s a good story

It’s a good story. However it is a little slow in places. The narrative is good. It’s interesting to hear the story behind the musical.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Relly good writing and carachter development

Bizarre gaps, the protagonists last chapter sudden derangement (ummm like Game of Thrones). Without spoiling, iMagine the witch descending on her broom to confront Dorothy then...She is waking from a hangover. Sorry thats a cheap cheat. The final ending results in the witches encounter with the film version bucket of water. but only after acting like a complete lunatic...this from the most rational carachter in the story. I was hoping for a better finish, the book is exceptional otherwise, truly so.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting, quite shocking, and insightful. (Not for children.)

I loved that this is the original version of the story.
The first time I read it, it was not what I was expecting. I did not like it at all. I felt the language very crude and the character of Elphaba hard to like. I had wanted to read this with my children and quickly realised from the get go how inappropriate that would be. There are a lot of sexual references.
On reflection the second time it made a lot more sense as to where the characters and story for Wicked the musical came from. I was able to understand, appreciate and actually like the characters more. The back story was more detailed and insightful. Especially about the political events involved.
I enjoyed the historic events and now appreciate the differences to the musical.
It is a total contrast to the Disney movie Wizard or Oz and the happy go lucky sentimental, feel good musical of Wicked.

It was well read and overall of you are a wicked or wizard of oz fan this is a must read.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but not captivating

I read this a long time ago, and was excited to re-experience it through audio. The performance was pretty good I thought! I could tell characters apart easily enough. The story has so much more potential than what we got on the page though, and many questions are left unanswered. It’s a frustrating listen. But even so, an enjoyable one.

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