A Lion Among Men
336 pp. William Morrow. $26.95
Pub. Date: 10/14/2008
Reviewed by Lindsay Stotts
“The time came for her to die, and she would not die; so perhaps she might waste away, they thought, and she did waste, but not away…”—"A Lion Among Men”
Some stories tell of great adventures with heroes that sweep in and save the damsel in distress. Some stories tell of frightening mysteries that keep you guessing until the very end. And some stories tell of great romances that transcend time and space. “A Lion Among Men” by Gregory Maguire is none of these.
Instead, “A Lion Among Men” is essentially the memoirs of Brrr the Cowardly Lion. Dispatched by the
That said, I have now just summed up more or less the entire plot of this “A Lion Among Men,” which as you can see only took 132 words, 9 lines and one paragraph. The other three hundred and eight pages of the book, less one paragraph, were unfortunately about as exciting as what the quote above described. The book would just not die, even though it was way past its time. So maybe it would waste away leaving behind a good story. Ultimately, it did waste away, just not into a good story.
The rest of “A Lion Among Men”, a supposed accounting of the Cowardly Lion’s life, consisted of Brrr (not the most creative of names and Maguire doesn’t even give a great explanation for it) wandering through the woods trying to find Yackle, or some goal along those lines. Now for anyone who has ever read a book that was comprised of the main characters walking endlessly through the woods, you know it can be a potential disaster, or even worse, an exercise in extreme boredom. Well, “A Lion Among Men” was no different than every other novel that has crashed and burned at the roots of the boredom tree. A tree that the characters, I wish, had tripped over, for it would have been more exciting than what was going on in the plot line. (Note to authors: characters walking through the woods for the entirety of the story is fictional suicide. So spare all your devoted readers and think of something with a pulse!)
Aside from the wandering-in-the-woods syndrome “A Lion Among Men” seems to suffer from, it’s also plagued with a myriad of other issues. What little plot line there is in the novel is entwined with a sickening amount of flourish, producing garish prose that says nothing at all. Any part of the story that could be deciphered was often buried in painful dialogue that accomplished absolutely nothing and was incomprehensible to those of us who live in the real world and not Munchkinland.
“A Lion Among Men” can’t even claim to have the same vulgar and appalling nature that ran rampant through Maguire’s other two books in the series, “Wicked” and “Son of a Witch.” It was immensely disappointing that the novel didn’t even have these less than kosher aspects to possibly enliven it. At least the inclusion of these adult qualities may have provided a reprieve to a storyline that ended up being less exciting than even watching paint dry.Last word:
“A Lion Among Men” is reputed to be the story of Brrr the Cowardly Lion’s life. So based on the novel then, Brr must have lived an incredibly mind-numbing and dull life. By the time I finished trudging my way through this snooze-fest, I could not find any redeeming qualities to the novel. If only I could get those hours of my life back…
Final Score: 48 out of 100