Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
by Danielle Paige
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a paperback
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I avoided this book for awhile when everyone was raving about it. Not only am I trying to avoid purchased pretty hardcovers that I'm unsure about, but I actually kind of hate The Wizard of Oz and most spin offs, retellings, and other similar type of things. So I thought that I knew this book was NOT for me. When the paperbacks showed up at Barnes and Noble and I didn't have much in my hand to buy, I opened the book and read the first few pages.
Dorothy Must Die intrigued me from page 1. The main character was basically trailer trash (or so she described) with a tough life and I enjoyed her cynical attitude. The reason this stuck out at me was because one of the things I hate about The Wizard of Oz is Dorothy and her sweet little naïve Kansas attitude. Amy Gumm was a breath of fresh air. I figured I'd be open minded.
I'm so glad I picked up Dorothy Must Die. Even though I didn't enjoy Wicked, part of my problem was that it was just so wordy and boring (sorry, rest of the world.) I liked the idea of Wicked, but not the execution. And I think the Wicked Witch of the West is also kind of boring and lacked dimension, so I wasn't as interested in getting her side of the story necessarily. Dorothy Must Die took place after the events of The Wizard of Oz, in Dorothy's Oz. Which meant no Wicked Witch of the West since she melted and completely different kind of story.
To my surprise, the Oz after Dorothy was terrifying and insane. I love when I read retellings of fairy tales and there's something disturbing and violent about them, so I loved this aspect of Dorothy Must Die. The Tin Woodsman was something out of a horror movie. So was Scarecrow and his terrifying experiments in the lab. And Dorothy was sickeningly sweet, perfect, and she forced all of Oz to be happy and cheery all of the time, while subjected them to manual labor and magic mining. I was SOLD by this world. Everything I hate about the original story was morphed into this grotesque and horrible version and it was up to Amy to kill Dorothy and fix Oz.
The book has mixed reviews and it did get a lot of hype, which typically means that the reviews will always be mixed. Also, it's a retelling of something that is near and dear to a lot of people's hearts. I think it was an intelligent twist, but I understand that lovers of Oz might have some issues. Also, the first book left a lot to be desired. I was frantically adding book two to my cart online before I realized that it will probably leave me equally dissatisfied and it'll just keep doing that until the finale. It isn't that bad of a cliffhanger, but it is obvious that this is a story meant to be longer and book one is just the build up.
Dorothy Must Die is YA. Amy is a teenager with annoying habits, the ability to blindly trust and blindly distrust people. She doesn't do the right things, she develops feelings quickly, and she misses and hates her mom at the same time. These things don't bother me too much, but I think it's worth mentioning that Dorothy Must Die, while being smart about the execution of Oz and it's inhabitants, is also a YA novel that will suffer from YA tropes. But it was a hell of a fun read and I highly recommend it.
Labels: Dystopian, Fantasy, retelling, Review, YA