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Wicked Audiobook

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

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Publisher's Summary

Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

Elphaba is born with green skin, a precocious mind, and a talent for magic. An outcast throughout her childhood in Munchkinland, she finally begins to feel as though she fits in when she enters the University in the Emerald City. While she hones her skills, she discovers that Oz isn't the Utopia it seems. She sets out to protect its unwanted creatures, becoming known as the Wicked Witch along the way.

Narrator John McDonough draws you in to Maguire's magical world of witches and talking animals, making it possible to believe in a land somewhere over the rainbow.

©1995 Gregory Maguire; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"A staggering feat of wordcraft." (Los Angeles Times)
"McDonough's excellent portrayals of Elphaba's outspoken, gravel-voiced nanny, Glinda's snobbish friends, and the wide-eyed, soft-spoken Dorothy make this excursion to Oz worthwhile." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (6049 )
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4.0 (3572 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 11-06-08
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 11-06-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent writing, excellent vision."

    This book was well written, first and foremost. The language itself is beautiful. The story it tells is complex and involved, and the fully fleshed characters are consistently believable in their world. Excellent book if you like fantasy of Tolkein quality, or if you liked The Wizard of Oz and want a more detailed view of the world.

    My only complaint was that the ending seemed forced, and there was a point near the end where the narrative seems lost, as though the writer had had so much fun with his story that he suddenly realized he wasn't sure how to get back to The Wizard of Oz story. It starts seeming a little more contrived then, and I found the ending a bit weak in comparison to the rest. Minor flaw, really, in the context of such an impressive achievement.

    A note of caution: I got this to listen to with my kids. Mistake. This is not kid friendly. Lots of sexual innuendos and some outright sex. Not bad for adults, but you might blush while wondering how much of that your child understood.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nina Olney, MD, United States 11-12-08
    Nina Olney, MD, United States 11-12-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Sometimes Hard Listening, but I Couldn't Stop"

    I found Wicked facinating. The author managed to make Oz a complex land. The narrator was terrific - can't imagine the book being read by anyone else. However, I didn't care for the sexual content. It was sometimes perverted, but never graphic. Saw no reason for some of the sexual references & scenes. ALso, I wish that characters had been better developed.

    The book as a whole was disturbing. It was occassionally funny and often depressing. I wasn't expecting a "FUN!" read, but some of the brutal things that happened were over the top from my POV. Overall, this was a good & highly imaginative book, and I recommend it with reservations.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Wife Louisville, KY 02-08-06
    The Wife Louisville, KY 02-08-06 Listener Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Would this book ever end!"

    Don't be deceived by all the good reviews! This book was interminable, and I usually love a nice long audiobook. I kept waiting for something significant to happen or for something interesting to come of the endless details. Just when you thought, "Oh, I'll bet this will explain something in the Wizard of Oz", the detail would fall so flat and be so unimportant that you realized you never really cared all along. No insights into the witch's thinking were really provided. Boring, boring, boring!! Do not be tempted to get this book.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Groton, CT, USA 12-01-05
    Carol Groton, CT, USA 12-01-05
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    "Pure Magic!"

    Maguire fills in all the blanks, answers all the questions, and steps up to the plate for all those who wanted to know all of the "why's" to all those unanswered questions in The Wizard of Oz. Maguire skillfully winds the tale of yellow brick road making it difficult to do anything but focus 110% of this skillfully written tale.
    Contrary to one recent review, this is a tale that NO ONE should skip the opportunity to read and become thoroughly immersed.

    21 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron gilbert Pearland, TX United States 02-27-14
    aaron gilbert Pearland, TX United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2013

    Christian, Texan, electrician, lover of reading-I lean towards Sci-fi/fantasy but enjoy the classics, history, and science titles also.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is not the Oz you're looking for."
    Would you try another book from Gregory Maguire and/or John McDonough?

    Probably not. The narrator was ok but the story was hard to swallow. The author spent way too long describing the color of tea, whether or not said tea should be consumed, and what the weather must have been like while the tea leaves we're growing and not enough time explaining what the wonderful magical beings of oz were like. After listening to the whole thing I am still not certain why the witch is green, why she hates water, and why she is such a grouch.


    What could Gregory Maguire have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This book did not tell a story it just told about simple mundane tasks and life decisions that brought each character to where they ended up.


    What aspect of John McDonough’s performance would you have changed?

    Mr. McDonough read this in a matter of fact way that felt a little one dimensional. I am however betting it was due mostly to the story content.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Wicked?

    Perhaps I could have done without the image of the wicked witch of the west having sex.


    Any additional comments?

    This book repeatedly represents the witch as an animal lover and even describes a distinctly Toto like dog in her possession. What gives?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert R. San Francisco, CA 08-06-13
    Robert R. San Francisco, CA 08-06-13 Member Since 2015

    Bohemian Bon Vivant

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extremely Amateurish, Convoluted, Poorly Plotted"
    Has Wicked turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    What does John McDonough bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    John McDonough was the one saving grace of listening through the tedium that is Wicked. His narration is both entertaining and masterful, and far better than the material he was given.


    Any additional comments?

    What a terrible, poorly constructed and thought out hodgepodge of notions and little more, all glommed together inartfully, in search of a story, a plot, and of universal and resonant themes that never come.

    The book starts out well and is mesmerizing in the beginning chapters when the witch is a baby. After that, it's a complete mess, and not particularly satisfying on any level.

    To say it's half-baked would be generous.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Columbia, MS, United States 05-29-13
    Craig Columbia, MS, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read This Before Buying Wicked, Please."

    I'm going to be quick about this review. This was a terrible book. The narrator was good, not great, but good, but after an hour of listening to him, I seriously wanted to strangle the man. I blame most of this impulse/need on the writer. His material is just SO terribly overdone, that it stretches and stretches and stretches on, for days, weeks, years. Some writers can do detail in such an interesting manner that it draws you in and keeps you there, keeps you interested in the story. This writer does not do that. His story sucks you in and tries to drown you. Overall, the story itself is dull, lacking, overinflated (How can it be lacking and overinflated at the same time? Trust me, it can.), and a downright insult to actual Oz-related literature. OK, not as quick as I should have been but I can't say enough how much I really disliked this book. Please read this, please take to heart what I've said, please, for the love of Oz, DO NOT listen to this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 02-15-12
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 02-15-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Nope. Did not finish it."

    I am a big fan of the stage version, have seen it three times. i was well aware that the book and the stage were very different. the artistic quality of the book simply is not as high as the stage adaptation. i knew it would be darker, etc., and that would have been fine, but ultimately it dragged too much or was too depressing. Fine use of language to tell a story, but not enough to keep me going. DNF = did not finish.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 01-26-12
    Rachel MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 01-26-12 Member Since 2010

    part time gourmet, full time nerd

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    "Stale and hard to listen to"
    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the Wizard of Oz books and loved the stage adaption and had high hopes of this story. Sadly it was not what I expected. The heavy religious and political plot was clunky and lacking in sophistication. It was also so hard to like any of the characters; I was apathetic for most of the story.

    The first time I tried reading the book I gave up about two chapters in, the next time I made it halfway. I hoped that listening to the story would make it more interesting and it did, but it still grates on my nerves.


    Any additional comments?

    My annoyance was amplified by the poor audio quality of the recording. Every time I hear the narrator gulp I want to throw my ipod out the window. Even the Audible intro and announcements sound like it was recorded in someone’s bathroom.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan M. Picerno 05-24-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wish I'd read the reviews first...."

    I always wanted to read this book, so I didn't bother to check the reviews. But as the others said, I'm several chapters in to the book and it's chapter after chapter of the main characters having sex or talking about having sex, described in the cheapest, lowest way--this is NOT a romance novel. It's more like a junior high locker room novel (like Bennie Hill), with no plot. After all this time we are only up to the main character saying her first word. Don't know if I will bother to finish it--probably won't.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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