Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: The Wicked Will Rise - Danielle Paige

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #2
Genre: YA, fairy tale retelling
Published on March 31, 2015
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 293
Read From: 7.1.15 - 7.6.15

My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas. After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz. 

But it wasn't like the Oz I knew from books and movies. Dorothy had returned, and she was stealing magic from the land. The Wizard was back. Glinda could no longer be called the Good Witch. And the Wicked Witches who were left? They'd joined forces as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they wanted to recruit me. 

My mission? Kill Dorothy. 

And when a group of former - possibly still - Wicked Witches tells you to do something, it's kind of hard to say no. Except my job as assassin didn't work out as planned. Dorothy is still alive. The Order has vanished. And the home I couldn't wait to leave behind might be in danger. 

Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, I have to find Nox and the rest of the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down - and try to figure out what I'm really doing here. But in a place where the line between good and evil shifts with a strong gust of wind, who am I supposed to trust? 

And who is actually wicked?


Dear The Wicked Will Rise,

You are actually a really hard one to review. I was more than extremely eager to start you the moment I could. I absolutely loved your first book - Dorothy Must Die - and I could not wait to return to your twisted, dark, evil version of Oz. I'll say this right now: you didn't disappoint me in the least. But I read you so quickly that I didn't really absorb anything. And that makes it hard to write a review.

You pick up where Dorothy Must Die left off: Amy and Ozma are being taken to the queen of the flightless monkeys by Ollie after a failed attempt to assassinate Dorothy. The Order is scattered to heaven only knows where, and on top of having to track them down, Amy must also steal back from Dorothy's three henchmen what the Wizard originally gave them: the Lion's courage, the Scarecrow's brains, and the Tin Woodman's heart. One is already crossed off the list; now the other two remain. And only then can Dorothy be killed. But there's much more going on in Oz than Amy and even the Order realize.

You waste no time in getting into the action - and yes, you got even darker than I thought possible. It seems like the moment I think, This can't possibly get any more gruesome and twisted and upsetting and awesome, Danielle Paige pulls something to totally trump everything else. You opened up with just such a scene and it wowed me while simultaneously causing my mouth to literally fall open in shock. Did not see it coming!!

I loved each and every character you introduced: Lulu, queen of the Wingless Ones - monkeys who cut off their own wings as protest against Dorothy's reign - was disappointing and tragic and brave all at once; Ozma completely off her rocker yet intimidating when her true nature showed through; Button Bright and Polychrome such awesome renditions of the two classic characters that I practically squealed when they showed up. Let me reiterate that I hated the original Oz books and all the characters in them (except Toto), but I'm positively thrilled at how Danielle Paige has portrayed them, especially Bright and Polychrome. They are true to the original characters while being new and unique all at once.

You threatened for a while to have a potential future love triangle with Amy, Nox, and Pete - which I was not happy about. I like Nox and I like Pete, but I like Amy with Nox and Pete as a friend. Thank goodness, Wicked Will Rise, you pay close to no attention to the romance and also resolve this "potential" love triangle that completely worked. It could have gotten awkward and weird on so many levels.

So where did I have issues? I didn't, really, other than you were super short compared to Dorothy Must Die. My misgivings have to do with where the third book is going. That ending, I'll admit, I didn't really see coming. I guessed aspects of it, but not the overall conclusion. And I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It worked and was brilliant and was by no means a bad ending. But I worry how it's going to effect the next book; whether it will make it a little disappointing. I'm just not sure how I feel about it.

You are everything a second book in a series should be, Wicked Will Rise. You furthered the world and the plot and the characters. I loved all of the old characters and all of the new ones, and I love the direction this series is taking. Amy grows so much as a protagonist and is, to borrow the words of one of my friends, one of the most real protagonists I have ever read in YA fiction. Her struggles are understandable, her misgivings, her fears, her stubbornness, her distrust, and her fighting spirit. Dorothy continues to be a terrific villainess, as does Glinda, and this is an Oz that I really enjoy exploring. I can't wait to see what happens next, even if I'm a little worried about it.

Feeling intrigued,
~ Mara A. ~

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