Friday, September 28, 2007

#52 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I was looking forward to reading this because I'm going to see the musical in Boston on November 3rd, and I wanted a more concrete understanding of the story before seeing it.

I enjoyed this take on The Wizard of Oz, as seen from the viewpoint of the Elphaba, later to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba was born in Munchkinland, a province of Oz, daughter to a Unionist minister and his privileged wife, a woman with what some called "loose morals". She was born with green skin, extremely sharp teeth, and a very temperamental manner. Her father, Frex, thought Elphaba was his curse to bear, and Elphaba grew up feeling this guilt her entire life.

Eventually Elphie, as she was known to her friends, heads off to school at Shiz University in the Emerald City, where she meets Galinda, who later becomes known as Glinda the Good Witch of the North, and some other key figures relating to Oz politics. Elphie has a very strong personality and develops some strong ideals for which she fights. After her sister Nessarose, who was born without arms and eventually becomes the Wicked Witch of the East, joins her at Shiz, and their Ama is killed for witnessing something she shouldn't, Elphie runs away, fearing that as the headmistress predicted, she's being used as a pawn for the evil Wizard of Oz.

So Elphie begins a campaign of her own to right what she believes is wrong in the world. Her actions eventually cause the death of her lover and her life seems to go downhill from there.

I really felt for Elphie in this book. Maguire portrays her not as the evil witch we have all become so familiar with through the famous movie, but instead as a misunderstood but headstrong character with strong ideals which she defends to the very end!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

#51 Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this going in... would it be just another silly chick-lit paranormal wannabe? Fortunately, that wasn't the case here. Shanna Swendson has some talent, and this book didn't come off like a standard chick-lit trying to jump on the paranormal bandwagon either.

Katie Chandler is just your ordinary girl living in New York City... so ordinary in fact, she's actually pretty special. As an Immune, magic has absolutely NO effect on her; all the glamour and illusion used throughout the world to mask the use of magic doesn't work on her at all. She can see right through it, which makes her a hot commodity to MSI, Inc., that's Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc.

After being recruited by Rod and that hot guy, Owen, from R&D, Katie goes to work for MSI as a Verifier, and learns that all the things she used to try to write off in her head as "that's NYC for ya" really are there!

And to top it all off, she's just learned that an evil wizard who once worked for MSI is attempting to introduce a number of manipulative spells to the market, which will cause all kinds of chaos and mayhem. And if that happens... oy, our entire world as we know it could come to a screeching halt! Fortunately, it's Katie to the rescue!

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Friday, September 07, 2007

#50 The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Ian Kennedy is a private investigator in England, who's been hired by Laura Lensky to find her missing daughter, Peri. Ian's got a thing for missing person cases since his first case which sent him to England and Scotland in the first place. There he did indeed find Amy, the young girl he was seeking on behalf of a family friend, but he also discovered a whole otherworld he hadn't realized existed. Now he thinks Peri's case seems a bit too similar to Amy's, and he wonders what he'll find this time....

I enjoyed this book, though I found it a bit difficult to follow at times due to the way the author inserted relevant short stories from the past between chapters. I realize they were put there to get the reader thinking on the right track, but combined with how it sometimes jumped back into Ian's past as well—the Amy case or his relationship with Jenny—I still found it a bit disconcerting at times. But overall, still a very interesting read. :)

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