No disrespect to the other reviewers but the 'disappointment' in this book is no less than genius. In spite of the weird musical Wicked, Son of a Witch and Wicked the novels do not conform to Hollywood pretensions, which contribute to the overall charm and mystery of this wicked work. Macguire writes in an easier, fluid way in his second work, as if confident now that he can say what he wants, and to great effect. The ideas are not stunning, but I feel as though that is the point; he is not trying to write a Tolkien epic, but keep to the boundaries of agreed comment, while darkly dividing new scenes. Literarily, the characters have enormous depth, and the tale is as vivid and accessible as common reality. The constant reference to Elphaba was irritating, manifesting in one corny incident without much purchase, but other than that, the built relationships and the ones that dropped off the map entirely do not need further explanation. Overall, a wicked, excellent read.