Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

This is not the Oz you remember. Dorothy has found her way back to Oz and taken over, becoming an evil dictator. She’s no longer the sweet little girl from Kansas – now she has magic, draining Oz of most of its power to fuel her own. The Scarecrow is conducting creepy experiments in his science lab, the Tin Woodman is so enamored with Dorothy that he has become her head of security, and the Lion’s courage has made him the vicious leader of an animal army. And with Glinda on Dorothy’s side, it doesn’t look like there’s much hope left for Oz.

Enter Amy, the other girl from Kansas. The kids at school call her trailer trash, and her mom is a drug addict who cares more about drinking with her friends than being with her daughter. When a tornado drops Amy’s trailer into Oz, she isn’t sure what to think, other than noting how different Oz is from the movie she’s seen. Post-apocalyptic, even. Before too long, she is captured by Dorothy’s forces and thrown into prison, but instead of being executed like she imagines, she is rescued by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, a group of “wicked” witches who need her help. They want Amy to kill Dorothy and return the magic to Oz.

I read this at the same time the TV show Once Upon a Time tackled the Wizard of Oz storyline, so I was eyeballs deep in witches and hearts and Dorothy. Despite this book being a product of Full Fathom Five, I enjoyed reading it. Amy is a pretty likeable character, although she is set up as the typical loner girl with pink hair being teased by the popular girl at school. Once she gets to Oz (and it happens pretty quickly, the tornado hits in Chapter 2) and begins meeting more colorful characters, I really got into the story.

The characters we know from The Wizard of Oz were developed in super interesting ways. Besides our three main sidekicks, we see the fate of the flying monkeys and the enslavement of the munchkins. Because this is the first book in a series there is a lot of world-building, but it didn’t slow the book down. In fact, learning about this new Oz was one of my favorite parts.

The “relationship” aspect of the story (I won’t say who it involves so I don’t spoil things) seemed a bit forced and unnecessary to me. There wasn’t much of it, and it was touched upon so little that I felt like we didn’t need it at all. I was having plenty of fun reading about Amy training to become Dorothy Assassin Number One that I didn’t need a romance subplot. There’s already enough going on in the not-so-wonderful land of Oz. The only part that really irked me, though, was the back cover:

That sounds SO COOL, right? Well, don’t hold your breath waiting for this plotline…it takes a LONG time to get to it. Like, a LONG time. Because I was waiting and waiting for it to appear, I found the middle of the book kind of slow. I think I’m going to enjoy the next book a lot more, now that it’s focused on what I thought was the plotline of this book. Darn you, James Frey and your false advertising!  

I definitely recommend reading the prequel novella, NO PLACELIKE OZ, before DOROTHY MUST DIE if you have an eReader. There’s a lot of Oz history unpacked in it that was helpful to know when reading the novel.    

If you’re looking for a dark twist on a story you know well, DOROTHY MUST DIE is the book for you! I’m interested to see how this world develops even more in future books.

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