Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Book Report: Wicked
Something that always bothered me about the musical was how artificial and forced the ending seemed to be. The book is much darker and sticks truer to the characters' fatalism, making the Elpheba-Fiyero more poignant and relevant to the traditional story than a nonsensical conspiracy to run off together. If there is one thing Maguire absolutely nails, it's the finish, which is haunting and resonant down to the ending phrase. It's the struggle to get to that point that gets the author in trouble.
Maguire is a consummate overthinker, which leads to over-writing and meandering in the dense forest of details that he and he alone finds relevant. There is way more time hacking through the weeds of Oz's history and political movements than serves the story. It is cruel to compare any writer to George R.R. Martin, but Maguire could learn a lot from his economy and forward momentum in crafting sprawling words with thick, dense lore that informs every scene. Maguire's characters and intrigues wither on the vine because he chokes away their momentum too often.
The Oz that Maguire crafts is handsome and rich, but also staggeringly dull. I want the Cliff's Notes of the rest of his Wicked Years saga, but lack the energy to plow through the full experience. Guess I'll wait for the musical adaptations, even if they have fake ubeat endings.