Author: Gregory Maguire
Publishing Information: October 16th 2008 by William Morrow
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Fairy tales
Series information: Book 3 in The Wicked Years
Format: Hardcover, 309 pages
Recommended For: Fans who have read Wicked and Son of a Witch and want to see more characters in the Wicked universe.
A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City’s approaching armies. What does the Lion know of the whereabouts of the Witch’s boy, Liir? What can Yackle reveal about the auguries of the Clock of the Time Dragon? And what of the Grimmerie, the magic book that vanished as quickly as Elphaba? Is destiny ever arbitrary? Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets–cowardly, wicked, brainless, criminally earnest–to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they’re skinned alive?
Here we are again representing all things Wizard of Oz to celebrate Project Fairy Tale! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!
I can’t lie, it was hard to pick this one up twelve years after reading Wicked, I couldn’t bring myself to re-read and there was a little bit of confusion as I tried to remember where we were in the story. As I said before, these novels read more like companions while also working toward the major story arc so thankfully once I started reading it wasn’t a major issue that I couldn’t recall specific details from book one and two. A Lion Among Men provides another piece to the puzzle that is Elphaba and Oz. The reader follows Brr as he grows and learns how to be both Lion and “man.” Though I enjoyed the story enough, I did feel a little lost and confused as to why most details were important to the main story. That is, for the most part I was conflicted that we weren’t learning what happened after the huge bomb that was dropped at the end of Son of a Witch or what any of this had to do with Elphaba and her sacrifices. The last quarter of the book, however, tied everything up in a way that had my mouth on the ground. Maguire is a genius storyteller. He invokes so many feelings in a reader and does it so subtly that as I was reading I wasn’t realizing how much the story was affecting me but as the bomb was dropped I was left feeling hurt and raw, as if I was the one betrayed. The reader learns more about Yackle and she provides much comic relief to an otherwise dramatic and serious story, I did enjoy her parts very much though much of the back story on Brr wasn’t as entertaining as I had hoped.
It seems as if Maguire is giving us miniscule pieces to a very large puzzle. Though I was entertained enough to want to read the last book in the series, I have to be honest and say that my main reasoning is because I felt as if I couldn’t abandon the series after coming so far. Overall, I felt as if Maguire took a very long time to tell a not so long story. That being said, I do look forward to sharing my feelings about Out of Oz next week. I found that like myself, many readers were upset at how little this story has to do with Liir or Nor, but I am happy to say that the conclusion of The Wicked Years ties together every open story thread and brings the characters together so that the reader is able to better understand their stories throughout the first three novels.