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on June 14, 2017
Lion has no past and seeks to find it, even if those are not the questions he asks of Yackle when he enters the mauntery. she, too, seeks her past and together they find much more than they bargained for; they find they find their futures.

it is great to have an unknown character given life. greater still that this character is drawing together the strings which will bring the whole story together so well
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on May 20, 2016
{4.25 stars}

ALAM doesn't have quite the impact of WICKED, but that is to be expected, WICKED being the first of the tetralogy which laid out Maguire's entire alternate mythos of Oz. Still, this third book holds its own in the series. The characterization of the Brrr the "Cowardly" Lion is keen: He's not cowardly, just thoughtfully indecisive, ambivalent about loyalties, and subject to blame no matter what he does, qualities often confused with cowardice. His low status as an Animal in Oz's caste system has obvious parallels in our world. ALAM has all the layers of the first two books, richly expanding on certain details and locations of Maguire's Oz. The separate threads of the book often seem unrelated to each other, but it all comes together in the very satisfying ending. The biggest detraction is the amount of space spent on Brrr's interrogation of Yackle, which could have been condensed a bit.
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on April 24, 2013
As you probably already know, this third volume in Maguire's Wicked Years series focuses on the Cowardly Lion's life growing up as an Animal (Capital A indicates a talking animal, whereas a lower-case "a" indicates animals as we know them - mute in human language) in Oz's turbulent political atmosphere.

Here is what I liked about the book:

-We finally get to learn about Yackle, the mysterious oracle from the previous books, although this does raise more questions than it answers.

-There is a really interesting side story about the dwarf, the keeper of the Clock of the Time Dragon, and the mysterious girl in his company.

-The book sheds a bit more light on the events that occurred in Wicked and Son of a Witch, but don't expect too much illumination as to the fate of Liir and Candle in this volume.

-We get a little more detail about Dorothy's interactions in Maguire's version of Oz.

Here is what I disliked about the book:

-Brrr, the Cowardly Lion, is not a likeable character, much like Liir and Elphaba. A lot of his flaws are due to his naivety towards the world, which can be forgiven, but even after he gains some experience, he does some questionable, often selfish, things.

-Similar to the two previous books, nothing is really resolved in this book. Any answers we do get tend to create more questions. This may be because this is part 3 in a 4 book series, but as for this novel, do not expect any resolution.

In summary, I cannot recommend this book. Although there are some interesting parts, these are not worth the time reading the entire book. The book is slow-paced without any satisfying payoff.

Now onto "Out of Oz" (book 4) where hopefully we'll get some answers...
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on May 7, 2017
Did not think I was going to like this series but have very very surprised. A great read for even those that did not like Wizard of Oz. Gives you more insight to think about with the original story.
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on May 1, 2017
It took awhile to really get into the book for me. I liked the author's other books , Confession of an Ugly Stepsister " and "Wicked" a lot better than this one.
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on September 27, 2015
I find Maguire's writing to be self-indulgent, and often needlessly vague. He creates complex, deep characters and then refuses to reveal them to his reader. He sets up subplots that don't seem to go anywhere. He created a fully-developed world with a political scheme, mythology, and socioeconomic structure, then forces you to try and guess what is happening with it based on his chosen narrator's limited point of view.

This book, particularly, felt needless, as it only barely touches on the Elphaba story. For me, Maguire has chosen to hand the story over to a witless, un-compelling character, forsaking the reason for his original success.
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on August 14, 2017
This is a series of books that you need to read. It brings up a lot of philosophical questions in ways that truly makes you think and see things from an unexpected perspective. It forces you to accept the reality that everything is multifaceted, and not so black and white or cut and dry as we all want to believe they are. These books remind us that heros are not always all good and villains are not always all evil.
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on August 2, 2015
Maunts and maunteries. Emerald city armies attacking munchkin land. This is Wizard of Oz on LSD and it is frightfully amusing. Maguire is a master of language and prose.
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on August 15, 2017
I read the first two books in the series and found them fairly hard-going. This one, however is absolute rubbish. Total nonsense and 100% unreadable. Needless to say, I won't be reading any more of Mr Maguire's books.
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on August 1, 2012
If you were as excited by the style and language as much as the story of the first two installments of the series, "A Lion Among Men" will be another delightful read for you. Clearly, this volume in Maguire's "Wicked" series deals with the Cowardly Lion, Brrrr. As with the previous books, Maguire suffuses his characters with life and meaning that runs against what appears to be his natural inclination for glibness. As the book progresses, many of the questions that "Wicked" and "Son of a Witch" present are answered and moved forward to the next step.

Maguire's language is as enjoyable and fluid as ever, though it feels as though his characters are increasingly more likely to use modern colloquialisms as the series goes on. In every instance, the linguistic anachronisms cause the eye to catch just a little bit longer on the words than necessary. This is most pronounced with Dorothy's dialog, of which there's perhaps more than in any of the other books.

Misplaced colloquialisms aside, I loved this book. For me, Maguire's writing falls in that same space as is occupied by Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams in its ability to combine the sublime and the comical into one neat and surprisingly profound package.
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