We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West | [Gregory Maguire]

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

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.
Regular Price:$41.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

3.6 (4298 )
5 star
 (1394)
4 star
 (1162)
3 star
 (847)
2 star
 (495)
1 star
 (400)
Overall
3.7 (2006 )
5 star
 (731)
4 star
 (468)
3 star
 (391)
2 star
 (223)
1 star
 (193)
Story
3.9 (1981 )
5 star
 (806)
4 star
 (582)
3 star
 (351)
2 star
 (124)
1 star
 (118)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 12-19-11
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 12-19-11 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2373
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    703
    162
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1013
    20
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I was not sure for a while then......."

    Yes, I'm taken with this novel. Humor, intrigue, and overall a good story. It's not the type of book I'm typically drawn to, but this time I'm glad I was.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Memphis, TN, USA 07-30-08
    Kathleen Memphis, TN, USA 07-30-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "It's not easy being green"

    From reading the reviews, this looks like a book that few are lukewarm about. Listeners either really loved it or really hated it! I'm of the group who loved it. And I feel compelled to say so after writing a negative review of the disappointing sequel Son of a Witch. I didn't truly appreciate John McDonough's excellent narration until listening to the author narrate the sequel. No comparison.

    I'll admit that I didn't take to the story right away. It took about an hour. But a person driving a long distance is a captive audience and by the time Elphaba got to Shiz I was hooked. It's an odd story that takes place in an odd place and is certainly not for everyone. But it was for me.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeri United States 10-02-08
    Jeri United States 10-02-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    636
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    4
    Overall
    "Fabulous!"

    This book had a profound effect on me. I will never be able to think of The Wizard of Oz, especially the wicked witch, in the same way. My heart goes out to Elphaba.

    Wicked is wonderfully written and the narration excellent. I found myself eager to get back to it whenever I had to stop. This reimagined story is so much more believable than any other I have come across. It is well worth the time. And I would listen to it again.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracee Arlington, TX, USA 01-31-06
    Tracee Arlington, TX, USA 01-31-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great reading, okay book..."

    I'd heard so much about the book, I'd built up wonderful expectations for it. I did enjoy the listen, but I am quite disappointed in the novel overall.

    First, I have to say the narrator was absolutely wonderful. The quality of voice and character was delightful, and I never tired of hearing him.

    The story captivated me for about the first 2/3 and then started losing focus and the characters seemed to tumble out of control. By the end, I had absolutely no idea what the point had been. I had fallen in absolute love with Elphaba, and felt that her character was completely abandoned by the author in the last act. Some of the character turns were unpleasant, but necessary; others seem completely random and confusing.

    Plot devices were introduced in the beginning, and then abandoned until the absolute end, when they addressed in a peculiarly obscure fashion, answering virtually none of the questions that were the basis of the story.

    Since I have already purchased "Son of a Witch", I can only hope that the questions left unanswered are addressed there, and that its characters are treated with more care.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara San Rafael, United States Minor Outlying Islands 06-13-09
    Barbara San Rafael, United States Minor Outlying Islands 06-13-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Surprising and Exciting"

    This story is dark, sarcastic, funny, sad, and, at times, racy, with a seductive (and surprising) beginning, climax, and end. Maguire's characters were engaging and as a listener, I felt like I connected with not only Elphaba, but all of the colorful cast. The narrator made the storytelling fun and hard to put away (he's a close second to Josephine Bailey). I'm already into my second listen. Be warned... this is nothing like the musical, but you won't be disappointed.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Reichel Hillsboro, OR USA 03-15-09
    Suzanne Reichel Hillsboro, OR USA 03-15-09 Member Since 2008

    Suzanne Reichel

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Wicked Delight!"

    I've been a Wizard of Oz fan for far too many years to count, and a couple of years ago had the opportunity to enjoy Wicked on the London stage. I was very excited to find the audiobook here on Audible, as it goes into so much more rich detail than could ever be delivered in the stage version. Don't get me wrong, both were awesome, but the audiobook just delivered so much more and kept me enthralled for hours at a time. I literally could not wait to listen to more!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kamal Brampton, Ontario, Canada 01-24-06
    Kamal Brampton, Ontario, Canada 01-24-06 Member Since 2001

    Management consultant, video game player, avid reader of all types of books, and happily married father of four. I'll read just about anything, from Fantasy and SciFi, to mysteries and ChickLit.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    281
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "A long slide into inevitability..."

    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.

    43 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle Friday Harbor, WA, USA 10-11-09
    Danielle Friday Harbor, WA, USA 10-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting Spin..."

    A bit of history of the well known Oz.. but VERY little... subtly tied to Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion and Scarecrow and of course, the Emerald City and the Wizard. This book has a hint of the obscure land of Oz where different cultures co-exist, magic is an accepted talent, and the land is ruled by religious zealots, religious heresy, and fear. The awful green child grows to become a beautiful independent thinking, strong-willed young woman. The well-known beautiful Glenda, her ex-roommate during her college days at a University where 'animals' are both Professors and barnyard pets.

    An interesting suggestion that the 'wicked witch' was not wicked at all and simply assumed the role that whispers thrust upon her during her quest to do the righteous thing confessing to her murdered lover's widow. A touch of sex, rebellion, mysticism and destiny. Not at all like the Broadway musical by the same name...a bit unnerving but a must finish ending.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 11-06-08
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 11-06-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    869
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    244
    87
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    98
    0
    Overall
    "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 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Houston, TX, USA 01-20-06
    Kristi Houston, TX, USA 01-20-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    152
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Decent, but not great"

    The concept for this book intrigued me - what an original idea! The moral and ethical questions raised are thought provoking and this should be a great book. However, I found that it didn't keep my attention. It was one of those "reads" where you suddenly realize that you haven't been listening for several minutes. I found myself constantly rewinding and relistening to parts because my mind wandered off. The narrator is good, so that wasn't the issue. I think part of the problem is that the writing is a little stiff, or, as the author would say, "the prose is a tad stilted".

    Still, I listened to the whole book and probably got my credit's worth, so I rate it a 3.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 293 results PREVIOUS1230NEXT
Sort by:
  • Kirsty
    Derby, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
    3/20/08
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    A fantastic retelling of the life of Elpheba the wicked witch of the west in Baum's world of Oz. Detailed and rich this is evocative and draws you in instantly. A great reading too.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Craig
    Denny, United Kingdom
    6/22/09
    Overall
    "Hard Going"

    I found this audiobook really hard going and it turned into more of a chore than a pleasure, i found that the story was really hard to keep track off at places moving to quickly and at others dragging out. Overall I didn't really enjoy this book and wouldn't recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    1/2/10
    Overall
    "A nice twist"

    I love anything that gives a new twist to an established classic and Wicked didn't dissapoint. It's just unfortunate that it is keeping company with the Musical Version which to my mind was it's better is terms of characterisation, plot and twists. It just didn't seem as neat and clever as the musical but well worth a read!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ollie Crook
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great audiobook"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I've always loved the book Wicked, and listening to it as an audiobook was a new experience entirely. I would recommend this to a friend as it really makes the story come alive.


    What other book might you compare Wicked to, and why?

    I don't think you can really compare Wicked to anything - it's a reworking of The Wizard of Oz, making a child's story into an adult novel.


    What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

    The narrators pacing was very good, and he got the humor of the book well - be prepared for a few snorts of laughter when listening! There were lots of characters who's voices he managed to make individual and memorable, so you can recognise them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending of course is memorable, and with the narrators pacing he manages to make it moving.


    Any additional comments?

    I had already read Wicked before listening to the audiobook, and I would definatly recommend it! It really brings the book to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nya H
    UK
    4/15/13
    Overall
    "Keep listening"

    This book starts off quite weird and you have to keep ploughing through, until you get to the good part. Im not sure I would have pursued it if i hadnt have seen the play and knew the story line. - its a prequel to the wizard of oz. That in itself was enough to keep me listening. How the wicked witch became wicked

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.