A fresh concept - take a common childhood tale, and tell the story behind the story. Talk about the motivations and the story behind some of the non-core characters, and best of all, turn the concepts of good and evil upside down.
Wicked starts off well enough, with the birth of the Wicked Witch of the West to an ordinary enough family, with a bored, unfaithful heiress as a mother, and a stiff boore of a minister as a father. The story quickly deviates from the expected with its exploration of adult themes, ribald humour, and extensive political commentary.
Oz loses much of its magic, with the magic made mundane through its commonality and ultimate futility - in fact, magic doesn't play much of a role at all in the book.
However, as the book starts to move towards the familiar plotline of the Wizard of Oz, there is a feeling of events rushing headlong to inevitability. The reckless, but lovable character of Elpheba (the witch) strangely disappears, to be replaced by an almost characterless stereotype. Many lovingly developed characters, such as Glinda and Fiuro, are essentially tossed into the trashbin.
Ultimately, the story leaves us wondering still about the motivations of some of the characters, so fails as an expose of these events. It definitely left me scratching my head at the unresolved plot points.
Also, there is a common theme of homosexual tension throughout the book, which felt artificially inserted unnecessarily. I certainly understood the context, but it just didn't seem to make sense.
A good read, but disappointing in the end.
Another good read by LMB. I've been happy with every one of her Vorkosigan novels so far (well, except for the first one, the Vor Game, which was probably the weakest). Her characters are believable, and have depth of character. This chapter of the Vorkosigan saga finally takes Miles closer to his personal fulfillment, and I wish him the best of luck in his future adventures (I have only two more left to read!).
The book has an interesting premise, discussing the world of superheroes and villains from the perspective of the world's greatest super-villain. He's the smartest man in the world, but he's also trite and can't help falling into the super-villain stereotypes. The book seems to waver between an almost serious and a mocking tone as the perspective switches between the two main characters, who are linked. An entertaining listen, but the ending was a little too abrupt.
Poor Odd Thomas. Tortured by his visions of the dead and the "bodocks", his rest and recovery is interrupted by more tragic events that require his special skills and intervention. He's a sweet, loveable hero, but I just don't see how he's equipped to succeed so many times - he should be dead by now with his lack of any type of believable training or skills. He's a fast-food diner cook for heaven's sake!
The setup for the sequel at the end is intriguing, and it makes me hope that the author has a cool follow-up already in the works.
Much better than the second novel, which was kind of confusing, but not as good as the first.
An interesting story, with some clever premises. However, the main villain is revealed very early on, and seems like a very shallow character, and many of his scenes are really rather childish and gratuitous. The reason why is revealed nearer the end of the book, but there are very few redeeming characters. The ending was a bit too neatly tied together for me, kind of anticlimatic, but I guess it shows you, the best laid plans of mice and men...
But I just can't believe that Koontz wasted a rare visit to the land of Odd (Thomas, the protaganist) with such a shallow, and ultimately pointless story. The plot was extremely thin, there were really no surprises or twists, and the characters were trivial.
I demand that Mr. Koontz write another, proper Odd Thomas novel, and this time, spend more than 30 minutes developing the plot!
Since this is unlikely (its been a couple of years since the last one), get this book for a (short) light read.
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