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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Next Queen of Heaven

As the new millennium approaches, the eccentric town of Thebes grows even stranger. Clocked by a Catholic statuette, Mrs. Leontina Scales begins speaking in tongues. Her daughter, Tabitha Scales, and her sons scheme to save their mother or surrender her to Jesus - whatever comes first. Meanwhile, choir director Jeremy Carr, caught between lust and ambition, fumbles his way toward Y2K.

Only a modern master like Gregory Maguire can spin a tale this frantic, funny, and farcical. The ancient Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries join with a gay singing group. The Radical Radiants battle the Catholics. A Christmas pageant hoes horribly awry. And a child is born. (excerpt back cover).

Yes, all this is included in the 347 pages in the latest novel The Next Queen of Heaven, from Gregory Maguire, who is the best selling author of such books as Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, Matchless, and Wicked.

I had to say this was one of the most challenging books for me to attempt to get through as a reviewer and have no particular preference for any genre of book, however this one had me struggling to get through the first half of the books, with harsh profanity from the character of Tabitha who seems to think that such behavior is a shock value for her mom despite all her attempts at prayer to save her. Her pastor at the church suggests that she role model appropriate behavior for her to follow while praying for her to change. When Tabitha disappears in a store to purchase a CD, her mother waits and then shows up screaming profanity at the top of her voice while making a huge scene in front of Tabitha's friends.

When Tabitha hurries to make her purchase and later condemns her moms behavior, her mother is more than happy to point out how uncomfortable Tabitha makes it for her. So much for role model behavior. There are so many characters introduced throughout the book, that it's hard to maintain focus on just a handful. What disappoints me the most besides the language and references to Tabitha's many sexual encounters is that the book didn't do much to hold my interest. This was a huge let down for me after expecting a better book from Maguire after writing such hits like Wicked, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men.

While this book may appeal to some readers, it did not appeal to me. I had the most difficult time attempting to read this book in its entirety to provide an honest review. Trust me when I say that the excerpt on the back does lay the story out for you and tell you the general content of the book, but let the buyer beware.

I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and have to say this one is a 2 out of 5 stars. For more information on the book, the author and where to read more reviews about this book, click on the title below:


  1. I felt the same way after reading Wicked. I had seen the musical and loved it and then I read the book and I was like, "How could someone read this book and think - yes, let's make it a musical - AND THEN make such a good musical??!!" Wicked the musical is 20 times better than the book.

  2. I felt the same way, I was so close to giving up on this book the whole time I was reading it and if it was not a review copy I would have. BLAH.

  3. Thanks so much for the honest review. I found myself loving Wicked so I may have to try this one in the future.

  4. I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. It seems that Maguire went in a totally new direction with this book, and that direction isn't "comfortable" for all his readers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as part of the tour though!


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