Version: Unabridged
Author: Gregory Maguire
Narrator: John McDonough
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction & Literature
Publisher: HarperAudio
Published In: August 2005
# of Units: 16 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
Tell Your Friends:


When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Performed by John McDonough.

Reviews (77)


Written by SRC from Cathedral City, CA on December 20th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 3/5

All I can say is don't think the Wizard of Oz until near the end of the book. This was, hands down, the strangest book I've ever read. I needed a map to keep the lands in the right place, as well as the movements of the characters. I did like the history of Alfaba as a character and what defined her. Galinda or Glinda was not as well developed and the author dismissed her as a bit of a simpleton. The animals versus the animals was also difficult to difficult to understand. The author was making a statement here but didn't complete it by the end of the book. For me, I was a bit disappointed in the book.

WICKED part 1

Written by Anonymous on February 21st, 2012

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Wicked was a very slow start and I almost stopped listening, but now I'm glad I didn't. I'm on the 2nd set of CDs and am very intrigued! I can't wait see how it ends :)

Better than expected

Written by Anonymous on January 14th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This book was very well written and much better than I expected. I began listening out of curiousity and became completely enthralled by the story! It's humorous and written very well.

Rewarding Listen

Written by blueelectrc on October 25th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I have listened to this audiobook three times as of today. I have read reviews of this book criticizing both the pace of the book and the narrator's performance. The first time I listened to it I had similar thoughts. During the first quarter of the book I wondered if I had just wasted my money on the purchase--the narrator's voice is definitely different, and the pace of the storyline is stagnant. But once the book adopts the main character's point of view things get interesting...really interesting. By the end I was immersed in this fantasy world, so much so that I immediately re-listened from the beginning. Having knowledge of the characters and events, the beginning was actually fascinating! If you have trouble staying focused in the opening pages, give this book a chance--it's really quite fun.

Go see the musical

Written by txtami from Hewitt, TX on July 28th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Narrator was hard to listen to... Just couldn't get into his rhythm.

Wicked Boring

Written by Christine B. from Monroeville, PA on September 8th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I found it strange how much focus was put onto supporting characters for Elphaba; I understand that the little girl was still very little, but some POV from her angle would have made the first discs less dreadfully boring. I couldn't finish the book. When I realized I didn't care about the characters and I knew the ending (if you've seen the movie Wizard of Oz, you know too... HELLO) I just gave up. And I will echo other people's sentiments that this is possibly the worst narrator I've ever encountered.

Strange but engaging

Written by Anonymous on August 24th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I had heard the premise, but the story wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I was surprised at how "adult" the book was, but I was quickly enthralled with the story.

Interesting Premise

Written by Elorah Dannon on August 19th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I found that the book had an overall interesting premise but I felt underwhelmed and disappointed in the end. It felt like this HUGE buildup of background that was rather interesting but it led nowhere. No watershed moment of understanding or reason for life. No point or purpose to all that came before. Maybe I've just come to expect my books to make sense of it's characters lives in some way that is missing from everyday life but I still felt let down in some way. Not to mention that the first hour or so of the book I had a hard time not thinking that it was narrated by Winnie the Pooh.

Go see the musical instead

Written by Anonymous from Richmond Hill, ON on July 8th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

This book was way too long and way too detailed to hold my attention past disc 3 or 4. (and there are 16 discs!!) Save yourself the time and go see the musical instead!

Good book- bad reader

Written by Anonymous on June 13th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I think the book must have been pretty good. Millions of copies sold and it was eventually turned into a smash hit Broadway Musical. I, on the other hand, just couldn't get into it. My feeling is that one of the reasons was the reader. He had a nice voice, but it was one that made me want to sleep, not stay up and listen to a story. I had trouble with the book as well. Sometimes I wondered where it was actually going. There didn't seem to be a cohesive point, at least not one that struck me. All in all, I couldn't finish the first half so I sent it back and canceled the second one. Just my opinion.

Author Details

Author Details

Maguire, Gregory

Gregory Maguire is the author of five novels for adults and more than a dozen novels for children.

His adult novels, all published by HarperCollins, are Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995), praised by John Updike in the New Yorker as "an amazing novel," Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999); Lost (2001); Mirror Mirror (2003); and Son of a Witch, the sequel to Wicked, published in 2005.

Wicked has been developed as a big-budget Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, etc.).

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was filmed for ABC/Disney and aired originally in the Spring of 2002. It starred Stockard Channing and Jonathan Pryce.

Mr. Maguire's work for adults and for children has been published abroad in England, Ireland and Australia, and various works have been purchased for translation into French, German, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

His children's novels include The Hamlet Chronicles, a projected seven book series including, to date, Seven Spiders Spinning, Six Haunted Hairdos, Five Alien Elves, Four Stupid Cupids, and Three Rotten Eggs. A Couple of April Fools is next. Though he is best known as a fantasy writer, Mr. Maguire has also written picture books, science fiction, realistic and historic fiction.

For the Sunday New York Times Book Review Mr. Maguire has published signal reviews of significant fantasies by J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and Maurice Sendak. He has also contributed articles and essays in journals such as the Boston Review, the Christian Science Monitor, The Horn Book Magazine, and others.

Mr. Maguire has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships. He was artist in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and has received fellowship residencies at Blue Mountain Center, New York; the Hambidge Center, Georgia; The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Vermont. In addition to writing, Mr. Maguire is a national figure in children's literature education. He was a professor and associate director of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, 1979 through 1986. Since 1986 he has been codirector and founding board member of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a nonprofit that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Mr. Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature at Tufts University (1990). He has lived abroad in Dublin and London, and now makes his home in Massachusetts.