This is a gorgeous novel. The writing is beautiful, every scene dances off the paper and paints itself like a magnificent oil portrait in your mind. The characters are three-dimensional, gripping and endlessly interesting. Elphaba (Maguire's name for L. Frank Baum's "The Wicked Witch of the West" is probably my favourite female protagonist of all time. She is fiercely intelligent, strong willed, and passionate, but these very traits make her unsure of what is the best path in life, hesitant, and she gains a cold and harsh façade as a result. The world of Oz itself has never seemed to fleshed out or tangible and critical fans of fantasy novels and world-building will have little to complain about.
WICKED is a prequel to, and inversion of, L. Frank Baum's children's classic THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (1900) but it is also a complex observation of society, politics, religion, humanity, and the nature of "good" and "evil." The characters are beautiful and you can't help but fall a little bit in love with them, the dialogue is perfect, and the language haunting. This is going to be a classic.