A Lion Among Men Book Review

I’ve decided to being my book reviews of what I read in 2009 with the first that I could remember reading. I am a fan of Gregory Maguire having started reading his OZ series in 2004. I loved Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and  Son of a Witch, and I eagerly awaited the release of A Lion Among Men. I actually bought this on the release date-a rarity for me outside of the Harry Potter novels.  I started this shortly after I bought it and immediately put it down. There seemed to be a heaviness to it that the other books lacked. The prose was so dense I could not wrap my head around it.

I restarted the book this past May. The book is split between two narratives, Yackle and Brrr’s  separate tales with some interconnecting parts mixed it. Yackle’s part was informative and shed more light on incidents in the previous novels. She is a hilarious and outlandish character whose frankness dismisses her bad memory. It was Brrr’s narrative I had the most trouble with. I understand that he has no memory of cubhood and he was abandoned but the rambling searching in the forests for literally nothing did nothing for me as a reader. It was only the parts where Brrr was most focused on his search for truth about Elphaba that I found a connection with him.

Of the three books in the series thus far this is the most convoluted and tangential of the novels. It does not wrap up or touch upon anything that Son of a Witch left unanswered and it leaves more questions than answers in a big jumbled pile. I really wanted to read more about Glinda, Liir, and Candle whose fates were very much muddied in Son of a Witch and held in suspension when they were mentioned in this novel. There is supposed to be a fourth planned book in the series and I hope that it returns to the story and the strength of the first two novels.


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