Ha! Finally finished Son of a Witch. The title alone was interesting because the main character, Liir, wasn’t sure who his parents were. Maguire hinted that Liir’s father was Fiyero in Wicked, but it was never confirmed that Elphaba was his mother (it is confirmed by the end of the book. Oh, that’s a spoiler, isn’t it?).
Again, getting ahead of myself, sorry. The story starts with Liir, who has been attacked by an unknown assailant, being found by Oatsie, the woman who guided him and Elphaba to Kiamo Ko in the first place. And he is brought back to St. Glinda’s, where Elphaba spent many years after the death of Fiyero. While he is in a coma, one of the novices plays for him. While Candle plays, Liir relives the last decade, from leaving Kiamo Ko with Dorothy to joining the service to travelling to the Conference of Birds. His life includes searching for his half-sister Nor, who wasn’t killed with the rest of Fiyero’s family, and trying to find a cure for Princess Nastoya, an Elephant who wears a human disguise.
Much of the decade is filled with political turmoil. The Wizard leaves with Dorothy and neither are mentioned again. Which is interesting because the Wizard ruled nearly forty years and then everyone just forgot him when Glinda took over for a short period of time, and was replaced by a puppet government with a Scarecrow at the helm. Liir wanders around for a while, briefly searching for Nor in Southstairs (the prison) and running into another familiar character, Elphaba and Nessarose’s younger brother, Shell. He joins the service, which he enjoys, following the orders and carrying out duties.
His assignment in the service eventually brings him to Quadling country, the same country that Elphaba spent most of her childhood. The soldiers eventually become comfortable there, until new orders come from the Emerald City. The new leader wants to cause trouble and Liir is sent out to burn a Quadling town. Although he deserts the service, the repercussions were far-reaching as another Quadling town rebels and is put down by a new arm of the army that very few people were aware of. Later, it is discovered that the new attackers are dragons, who attacked the Quadling town, then randomly attack people in the Vinkus wildlands to prevent the Vinkus tribes from uniting. The dragons are what attacked Liir.
Did you know, this entire time, he holds onto Elphaba’s broom and cape? He does, although the dragons take it when they attacked him. He’ll eventually get them back, after he wakes up. When he first wakes from his coma, he and Candle escape to Apple Press Farm and eventually find out that the new leader of
Oz is the Emperor Apostle, who he met earlier in the book. Elphaba’s brother Shell has become the latest dictator of Oz and has been using the dragons to keep people in fear of the Unnamed God.
But Liir doesn’t just stay at the farm; he leaves the pregnant Candle to travel to Emerald City where he meets the dragon trainer. Eventually, he gets back the broom and cape and kills the dragon. By this time, he has begun to accept that he might be Elphaba’s son, even though he isn’t green. After he kills the dragons, he signs the note as Liir, Son of the Witch. He and the trainer, Trism, escape from Oz with the army after them. They make it back to St. Glinda’s, where Liir meets Mother Yackle, who has been involved in Elphaba’s life.
After St. Glinda’s, Liir escapes and reunites with the Conference of birds; the birds make a plan to fly again now that the dragons are dead. He flies with them, gathering more birds as they travel to Emerald City. The Conference briefly stops at Kiamo Ko, where Chistery and Nanny still live. Chistery, Elphaba’s flying monkey, can speak clearly now, after years of Elphaba trying to teach him. He and Nanny house the Conference before the Birds and Liir fly over Emerald City, with Liir as the Eye of the Witch. Liir has also figured out how to help Princess Nastoya separate her human and Elephant forms, using Candle’s ability to see the present and his ability to clearly see the past. He also uses the faces of the people that the dragons scraped the faces off of. But he is still being hunted by the army, and while he helps the Scrow tribe bury the Princess, Candle gives birth and the army comes to the farm. When Liir returns, everything is displaced and only the “body” of the baby is there. Liir takes care of what he believes is a corpse, but come morning, the baby is alive and she is green. Elphaba lives.
Again, I have left a lot out; reading Son of the Witch was different, because I remembered more of it than I did of Wicked, kind of like when I read Red Hood’s Revenge. So at times, I would forget to really read and just skim and then I would go back to re-read that section. And there were things that I missed the first time around and I picked up this time. And I didn’t pick up on as much of the underlying political and social issues this time around. There was more story to Son of a Witch, as opposed to the social and society issues that made Wicked. And it isn’t that this is bad, just different. And I think I liked Son of a Witch better because it was a completely new story. With Wicked, many of the characters were somewhat familiar- Elphaba, Nessarose, Glinda, the Wizard, Dorothy were characters that I knew. But in this, Shell, Liir, Candle, the maunts, the dragons… these were all new and people that Maguire created for The Wicked Years and they forged their own paths, rather than re-imaging their pasts.
And now, I venture into new territory. I’ve never read Lion Among Men or Out of Oz, so the next two books will be new. And I’m in the process of reading The Hunger Games as well, but I don’t know if I’ll post reviews on those just yet. I think I’ll wait for the movie to come out and maybe do a review of the movie and the book. But we’ll see.