Monday, March 16, 2009

book review: the wicked series thus far

Usually I put my books over on Goodreads, but it bugs to always have to review books in a series as distinct entities--sometimes I have thoughts about the series as a whole, and I don't know which book to tack them to.

On the whole, the Wicked series is very good, and I liked each book. A very original story, and Gregory Maguire's version of Oz is now what I picture, for better or worse. I didn't read the Oz series when I was little, so it's not like having a childhood friend die as much as it is like discovering your childhood friend has the Krippin virus. Maguire is a very gifted descriptive writer, and you become very involved in the story. However, there is a juvenile air that pervades a lot of the books, because although there is not a lot of sex described in the stories, the sex there is portrays humans as little better than beasts, for whom any port in a storm will do, gender and species providing no constraints. It's as though Maguire's sexual nature never matured beyond that of a LARPing 15-year-old, so he wrote this terrific, unique story, and then tacked on all his unfulfilled sexual fantasies, because he was a big boy now and could get away with it. It seemed sophomoric to me. The characters are also more often weak and treacherous than courageous and loyal, which bothered me as well. It's strange that I love Kurt Vonnegut for his dystopian view of humanity, and I find it so annoying in these books, but I don't make the rules.

I just finished A Lion Among Men on Saturday, and was irritated to realize that the series is going to continue. There needs to be more forward movement in the plot for me to stay engaged. The books do get less prurient as they progress, so there is that. Maybe he's becoming more invested in the story as a whole, rather than interspecific threesomes.

I suppose I'll read the next book and hope it's the last, because although I find the story very entertaining, I don't have energy to read series anymore. Too short of an attention span.


Sarah said...

I started the first Wicked book, and had to stop after the first few chapters because of his weird sexual "stuff." I was bummed because I like the musical (which I will finally see in May - whoo hoo!), but the book made me feel all squeamish-like and grossed out. I'll stick to my musical version.

tipsybaker said...

I never totally got into Wicked, and I don't even remember the sexual stuff. On the other hand, interspecies sex is practically all I remember from the one Ursula Le Guin book I read, and it creeps me out just remembering.