Here is simply one of my all-time favorite books. The one responsible for an acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name, much lighter than this book, and a great novel. Though criticized for its adaptation of the novel The Wizard of Oz by L ( Lyman) Frank Baum, its strange writing style, or dark themes, this fabulous tell-all about an iconic movie villain is graved in memories and minds.
This is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and though there is eventually the matter of ruby slippers and a little girl from Kansas, we have to go waaaaay back in the past, way before the Wizard settled in this magical land and ruled on it. His arrival actually coincides with Elphaba's first word: ''Horror''.... and that's saying something.
Oh right, who is Elphaba? Fae, Fabala, Elphie is the Wicked Witch herself, with green skin, sharpy teeths and a desire to protect Animals at all cost.
Animald are creatures given the right to think and talk while animals are well.. what their names indicate.
It's during her time in college that Elphaba find herself passionate by this cause and work with one of her Animal teachers; Doctor Dillamond to make sure their rights are respected.
Her life experience will shape her into the person we thought we knew... as her original character is nothing but a caricature and the true Elphaba is revealed here: passionate, cold, reserved, determined, loyal, brave, a Deadpan Snarker with magical powers that fight against oppression, society and tries to be forgiven for the sins of others that she eventually considers as hers.
Characters are either intriguing, compelling or bitchy but they really dive the plot and the story.
Nanny, Frex, Boq, Nessarosse, Glinda ( yes, the Good Witch), Fiyero, Alaric, Liir, Madame Morrible, Sarima, Nor, Alma Clutch and of course the Wizard, not forgetting Dorothy herself ( and her little dog, too)!: they all enchant or digust us with different motivations and backgrounds.
This book is part of a series of fourth books: the second one is Son of a Witch and follow Liir, the third one is about the Lion and the last one entitled Out of Oz concludes the storyline.
The book divides itself into five sections with a sort of chapter illustration beautifully artworked by: The first one tells us all about Elphaba's birth and early childhood, the second one sends us in Elphaba's first two college years at Crage Hall University then we meet her again as a rebellion in the Emerald City. The fourth part is about her ''redemption'' and her burning desire to be forgiven as she travels to Kiamo Ko to seek this pardon. The last and final section reprises the events of the Wizard of Oz, with behind the scenes moments.
* Could Elphaba be really alive given the reference to the story Sarima used to tell to Nor?
*Will Nor be rescued? Is Nanny okay? Will Liir decide to stay in Kiamo Ko and learn the truth about his parents?
* I'm still unsure about the whole spell situation... Was Mrs Morrible a real witch or did Elphaba, Nessa and Glinda picked their own fates? You could venture to say it's a mix of both.
Rating: 5 out of 5 flying monkeys/ Safran cream pots.