I read this book awhile ago, shortly after it was released in hardcover, and decided to read it again before I picked up the rest of the series. In Wicked, we read about the life of Elphaba, eventually known as the wicked witch of the west. We visit the shocking circumstances of her birth - the first green child ever seen. We follow her as she grows up, a fairly normal childhood, and then leaves for school. While at school she meets the rest of our cast of characters and becomes very politically active. Here is where the book really becomes interesting so I won't say too much more and risk giving too much away.
I actually loved the young Elphaba and enjoyed seeing her grow up and learn. Maguire shows us a side of her story that does not stray from the facts of the original Wizard of Oz, but gives us an alternate viewpoint where evil may not really be so evil. Elphaba is just like any other person in the land of Oz, but gets a bad reputation by standing up to the Wizard and the things he does that she feels are wrong.
Wicked is a quick read with enjoyable characters throughout. While the story is familiar, it is told in a way that makes it seem brand new. I hope to start Son of a Witch soon.