A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
I have this tendency, if I like the first book I read from an author, to keep trying his or her work over and over again, even if I don’t like ANY of the subsequent books I read by said author. I may need to stop doing that.
In this case, I really, really liked “Wicked” when I read it. I know that some people find it slow, but it really clicked for me, I loved the politics of it. I then tried some of Maguire’s other fairy tale books, “Mirror, Mirror” and “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.” I found both of them pretty ‘bleh’. They weren’t bad per se, but I didn’t enjoy them in the least. Even so, I decided to read “Son of a Witch” sometime back because, even if I didn’t like his other work, I wanted to continue in Maguire’s version of Oz. I did enjoy “Son of a Witch” more than the non-Oz books, but really didn’t love it. Regardless, when I heard about “A Lion Among Men,” I knew I wanted to read it.
It took me awhile, but I finally got around to “A Lion Among Men,” borrowing the audiobook from the library. It tells the story both of Brrr, the Cowardly Lion, and Yackle, the witch who figured prominently in Elphaba’s life in “Wicked.” On one hand, I did want to know more about both figures and how Maguire saw them fitting into Elphaba’s story. On the other hand, I was about as interested in this book as I was in Maguire’s non-Oz books, even with my desire to piece together the story, which means that I probably actually liked the book itself LESS than his others.
No more Maguire for me, I think, other than possible re-reads of “Wicked.”
If you have liked Maguire’s other work and want to continue his Oz story, read this by all means. The problem isn’t poor writing, it is just that, other than “Wicked,” something about these books rubs me the wrong way. If you’re not crazy about Maguire, learn my lesson and don’t bother.