Book Review: SON OF A WITCH (2005)
So, 10 years after the sequel to the original WIZARD OF OZ story, comes the sequel to that, as SON OF A WITCH. I mentioned in my review of WICKED, that the novel runs on the steam of the original Oz story. However that novelty wears off very quickly with SON OF A WITCH.
Focusing mostly on the events directly after the original WIZARD OF OZ, this book tends to become very, symbolic and at times utterly boring. Following the adventures of the son of the Wicked Witch of the West, Maguire’s second novel about the world of Oz removes us from the overall tone of the story and holds back a lot that, in my opinion, would’ve made the story a lot more interesting.
Directly after the events that lead to the Wicked Witch’s demise at the hands of Dorothy, Liir, her alleged son decides to escort Dorothy to Oz. Considering he has no one anymore after the Witch’s death and party due to his crush on Dorothy, the young boy goes along to see if he can find out the fate about his possible half-sister who was abducted by the Oz regime years ago.
Partly told through flashback, the entire story of SON OF A WITCH leads to some un-interesting moments, and some very cool details about the current state of things. The novel starts out with a bunch of nuns, finding an aged Liir in the dessert, fighting for his life. As they nurse him back to health, he recalls out what’s happened to him through the flashbacks. The best moments of the book are the moments leading up to how he was in the dessert, as those are the events that directly follow what happened in the original WIZARD OF OZ. After that it’s pretty downhill.
The greatest thing about WICKED was that it gave us insights into the first Oz story from a different perspective, with origins of all the characters. That novelty is gone in this book as we have to go through Liir’s incessantly whiny and self conflicting nature throughout. He has powers inherited from his mother, but is constantly doubting himself, whining about his lack of background or love, and all that crap. It gets annoying after a while. I might’ve been more interesting if he did inherit some form of magical powers or destiny from his mother or if he became more involved in the inner working of the political situation of Oz, as he was, in a way… heir to the Wicked Witch and the family that was so involved in shaping Oz.
But alas, none of that happens in SON OF A WITCH. The kid doesn’t even find his half-sister. Hooks up with a peasant girl who he knocks up, but who disappears. Liir has some uncomfortable homosexual moments as well which are implied but never stated explicitly. His contribution to the overall events are minimal, as the story is more of one about his inner journey as he tries to fulfil promises made by his mother. Oh, also he constantly doubts if the Wicked Witch was his mother, even though all signs point to ‘yes’.
That confirmation is the basis for the abrupt and dramatic ending of the novel, when it’s revealed that his own daughter is born with green skin, like that of his mother.
SON OF A WITCH is a pretty boring read. The story advances at a pretty good pace, but all in all is pretty uninteresting beyond the events of WICKED. It doesn’t really provide any significantly new insights into the original characters as WICKED did. Some minor tweaks in story could’ve made it a very good book as well as bringing about some closure from the original WIZARD OF OZ with the family connections made to the new Wizard.