After seeing the musical Wicked, I welcomed the opportunity to read Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch. It's the story of Liir, a young man who confronts the possibility that he is the abandoned son of the Wicked Witch of the West. Found on the point of dying, he is magically restored through sex and music by a novice maunt in the Cloister of Saint Glinda. Healthy again, Liir sets off on a quest to save Oz from the unknown scourge which flays travellers and terrifies the countryside.
I was expecting Son of a Witch to be a light read with little substance. True, this is not reportage. Reality is 2000 leagues below the airy conceit of OZ but the characters ring true to life. I found this odd world, inhabited by witches and munchkins, to be touching and real.
This page-turner is effective; it's world, unique. Despite the magical surroundings, the reader is confronted by human nature and politics. There are plenty of ugly details in Oz, enough to make this fantasy world a warped mirror of our own.
I recommend Son of a Witch to fantasy fans or anyone who wouldn't be put off by dragons or talking birds.
For more info, check the auther website at http://www.gregorymaguire.com/books/sonofawitch.html