Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Genre: YA, fairy tale retelling
Published on April 1, 2014
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 452
Read From: 4.2.15 - 4.5.15

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. 
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know? 
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling. 
What happened? Dorothy. 
They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe. 
My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas. 
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission.


Dear Dorothy Must Die,

Never has a book title spoken so thoroughly to my soul. As a survivor of all fifteen original Oz stories, I could not agree more: Dorothy must indeed die. I am not a fan of Oz; I never shall be. The books were torture. So, Dorothy Must Die, you are exactly what I needed.

You tell the story of Amy Gumm - the other girl from Kansas. Just like Dorothy Gale, Amy is swept up by a cyclone from her depressing life in Dusty Acres and to Oz. But this isn't the Oz Amy has read about. Dorothy came back, and now she rules with a tyrannical hand, enslaving Ozians to drain the world of magic to feed her ever-growing need for power. As the other Kansas girl, Amy may be the only one who can stop Dorothy and restore Oz to what it used to be. But first, she has to get past Dorothy's three famous traveling companions, who aren't the same, either. And then, Dorothy must die.

The original Oz was nightmarish in its garish colors, bizarre inhabitants, and annoying moralistic lessons. But this Oz is nightmarish like a dark, twisted, brutal bad dream. It was awesome. Around every corner, we meet familiar characters that have been warped and twisted. The punishments are cruel and disturbing. There was nothing whimsical and light-hearted about this Oz.

As someone who has read all fifteen books, it was really fun to spot all the references, parallels, and deviations. It's obvious from the start that your author knows her Oz. And a lot of the concepts - magic being banned, the Lion Dorothy's law enforcement - are taken directly from the original books. This actually made me view the originals entirely differently, and I can see how they could turn dark.

Your characters, Dorothy Must Die, are awesome. Amy is spunky and sassy without having an attitude. It was easy to get behind her, and there wasn't any moment where I disagreed with her actions. Pete and Nox are both rather mysterious and awesome guys. I definitely see Nox as a future romantic interest, and I'm okay with that. He's serious and quiet and tough - the "dark, broody" sort actually done right. The witches - Mombi, Gert, Glamora - are all awesome. I don't know if I trust any of them, but that's partially why I like them. Even Ollie, the flying monkey, works - and animal sidekicks usually don't.

As for your villains. . . .Oh my gosh, Dorothy is downright terrifying. She is certifiably psychotic, and just when I thought she couldn't get any worse, she would do something that totally tripled her insanity. Dorothy actually made it to my Top Ten Villains list.

And her henchmen aren't much better. The Tin Woodman is a warped, creepy steampunkish cyborg with scissor hands and an army of other cyborgs. The Scarecrow experiments on people and animals in his laboratory, stealing their brains so he can become more intelligent. He also comes across as a pedophile and has button eyes. And the Lion. . . .well, he's not remotely cuddly or cowardly - and for some reason, freaked me out the most.

Dorothy Must Die, you present one very brutal, very twisted, very dark Oz. Your plot, even though it mostly consists of Amy's training, can't be called slow because so many horrifying things happen. As far as "training the hero" scenarios go, Amy's is pretty interesting. And then she's sent to infiltrate the palace and things get creepier.

The ending I sort of saw coming. But that's mostly due to: with two more sequels coming there's only so many ways it could end, and I've read all fifteen originals. It was an epic end, though.

Dorothy Must Die, you delivered on every level. Great characters, great plot, an author who knows her Oz, and creepiness and blood and psychotic villains all around. You were unbelievably good.

Feeling thrilled,
~ Mara A. ~

Others in This Series:
1)Dorothy Must Die
2)The Wicked Will Rise


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