A Lion Among Men is another one of those Gregory Maguire books that I waffled about for the first half, but was compelled to finish reading before the end. I would venture to say that I liked it better than Son of a Witch, except that this novel is pretty slow-paced. It's told mostly in flashbacks, a retrospective on the important events of two characters. So at times it bogs down with its own morality questions.
The Cowardly Lion is at first hateful, then pitiful, as he bumbles through life with a self-centerdness and short-sighted naivety that made me want to throttle him. But his character journey does, like Liir's, eventually come around to decent. Thinking about all of Gregory Maguire's books, I think the only one with a main character who wasn't, for at least half of their life, a horrible person, was Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.
I can see where the retrospective would be frustrating if you're looking for an escape into fiction. But if you pick this one up and start plodding through it, I promise there's a payoff at the end. There are still loose ends (a fourth novel coming, Mr. Maguire?) but frankly I'd also be happy to leave the rest to my imagination.
It's another nod to political intrigue, but the primary focus is on self-development, how we become moral creatures (or how we justify our morals, at any rate), and the nature of Fate/Coincidence.
I definitely recommend it for anyone who has read the rest of the series in any amount. Not much is going to make sense if you didn't read Son of a Witch, at least.
Great book. I need to read the books in the series more closely together so that I can remember more. I'm wondering what's in store in the next book.
Easy to read and answers a lot of open questions from "wicked" and "son of a witch". But the story doesn't really move forward very much with this novel.
Overall, it was a good book and filled in missing details from Wicked and Son of a Witch, but it was not as great as they were. I found myself bored at some parts but really enjoyed the ending. The story of the Cowardly Lion just was not exciting to me because I expected him to do so much more. A Lion Among Men was okay, and worth a read for a Wicked fan.
The third volume of Maguire's Wicked series focuses on the Cowardly Lion. Brr has been sent by the authorities to interview Yackle in order to find out what has happened to Elphaba's book of spells, the Grimoire. In order to get the information he requires, the lion is forced to barter stories from his past. Through this we find out how a lion can become a coward and how intertwined Brr really is with Elphaba. Great story and a good read.
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