Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Becky's View: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: April 1st, 2014
♦hardcover, 432 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Dorothy Must Die, book 1
♦source: ARC for review from publisher, via San Francisco Book Review
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 blue birds. 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 the yellow brick road, though—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:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Review: Diehard fans of The Wizard of Oz, guard yourselves. Danielle Paige’s new twisted Oz is about to take that beautiful technicolor world we all know and love, and turn it on its head. There’s a new Kansas girl whose landed over the rainbow, and she’s about to find out that not only is the land of Oz real, but a lot has changed since Dorothy clicked those fancy red heels to get home. Dorothy later returned to Oz; Ozma made her a princess, taught her a little magic…and in doing so, created a tyrannical, power-hungry monster. When Amy lands in Oz, she’s taken in by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and the job of taking Dorothy down falls on her shoulders.

Dorothy Must Die is a dark and sometimes gory reimagining of Oz. Those lovable and hopeful characters from the original story, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and sugar-sweet Dorothy herself are now the stuff of nightmare, performing barbaric experiments and mercilessly plucking out eyeballs. I loved the reoccurring theme of the blurred line between what it means to be “Good” and “Wicked”. During her time with the formerly-wicked witches, Amy struggles to reconcile what she knows of their past reputations and what they seem to be fighting for now. Have they really changed for the good, or is there something deeper and darker going on?

Amy is a great complex character. She is love-starved due to a negligent mother and a runaway father. She’s also defensive, but tough and sarcastic from years of being the target of bullying from the school princess. This plays strongly into her Oz adventure, her kindness toward the tortured creatures of Oz and her willingness to help overthrow Dorothy. However, even with this in mind, her quick transition from regular girl to killer still seems a bit jarring. Some of the other characters are maddening in their twisted logic and cryptic advice, but this makes it all the more easy to empathize with Amy’s predicament. Poor Amy, she was often left feeling frustrated and lost, and rightfully so. When mistakes were made, she was scolded like she should have known better, even though plans are never fully explained to her, and I was glad to see her stand up for herself in those situations.

With all the action, training, and the impending assassination going on, the romance is fairly minimal.  There were moments when I feared a typical love triangle was brewing, but that fear was laid to rest by a shocking twist that I never could have seen coming! With this being a high-action trilogy, a cliffhanger ending is pretty inevitable.  The writing style has the casual feel of an authentic teen voice without trying too hard and the description and storytelling just flows, making this a fast-paced and easy read. If you can stomach a bit of violence and gore well enough to really enjoy all the magic, nostalgia, and creativity that fills these pages, then Dorothy Must Die is great fun and a fantastic kick-off to this new series.
Find Danielle Paige online:   Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Dorothy Must Die: Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I'm not really a fan of the wizard of oz, but I feel like I might enjoy this book! Maybe even because of that!

    1. You're right about this---this will also be the perfect read for people who thought Dorothy was annoyingly sweet in the original and just want to see her taken down! LOL

  2. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this. I've been dying to read it, and was afraid it might not live up to my expectations. I love that it takes the Oz that we all know and flips it around. Gore and darkness doesn't bother me at all. I'm am bummed, though, that it ends with a cliffhanger. I've really been struggling with my desire to start yet another series, but I know I don't have the will power to wait until all of the books are out to start this. Great review!

    1. Never fear, Natalie! It is a cliffhanger ending but I would say it ends at a good spot, a spot that makes sense. I hope you give it a try! It's a fun one! :D

  3. Ohh. I'm glad you loved this book :D I think it sounds amazing. So happy you liked it. And ohh. Small romance? But so happy there is no love triangle :D Might have to read it, hih. <3 Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Yes, there is really so much else going on, it is light on the romance, but I don't think many will miss it!

  4. I've always loved The Wizard of Oz, so I've been sort of worried about the premise of this book, but I'm really excited despite that. It sounds like a really intense, exciting kind of book. Great review!

    1. I've always love Wizard of Oz, too and I really enjoyed it---but I do wonder how some Oz fans will reacts to the changes to their beloved characters!

  5. I've been curious about this book, so I'm glad that it ended up being great! It sounds so twisted, dark, and fascinating. Amy seems like a great MC, too.

    Fabulous review :D

    1. It was definitely twisted and dark, and I actually wasn't expecting as much of that! When the first really dark, kind of gory thing happened my jaw actually dropped! LOL I hope you enjoy this one, Lea!

  6. Wow, just wow!!! This book looks amazing!! I'm not a huge fan of retellings but if it's dark and twisted I need to read this! Love the cover too. Amazing review!!

  7. I've seen this book a few times whenever I go to the store and I have to smoosh down the urge to book splurge like always. But I'm definitely going to buy it at some point. This story just sounds super interesting and I grew up watching the original movie. It will be interesting to see what has changed in the world of Oz other than the characters. I also want to get to know Amy more and the mysterious love interest not mentioned above :D