Today, I'm thrilled to be reviewing Dorothy Must Die, one of my most anticipated titles from last year.
The sequel is out soon, and I figured we'd revisit just why I think this book is fun and inventive, while also presenting a new spin on an old tale!
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by HarperTeen
Format read: ARC via Publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
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!
I've been rereading the book in anticipation of the release of The Wicked Will Rise, and figured I'd review the book and remind everyone just why this series continues to remain a must-read for me.
Things that worked:
It's kind of hard to compete with an iconic character like Dorothy, but Danielle does so with Amy. While much of Amy's background consists of the standard YA tropes - single-parent household; poor upbringing - it's perfectly fitting in this case. Amy has the street smarts and the gumption to immediately deal with her situation, and quickly adapt to a pretty hard-to-believe environment.
Paige pays fitting tribute to Oz's heritage with secondary characters as well, liberally sprinkling the story with well-known characters and ideas of her own. It's hard to describe Paige's secondary characters without giving spoilers away, but let's just say that Paige gets what makes Oz the land that it is.
Like any book with an adventure and a quest involved, Dorothy Must Die unfolds quickly. Amy is literally thrown into Oz without warning, and picks up on the problems and her role in lightning speed.
While Amy's actual training does take awhile - something noted by several reviewers - I think it's time well-spent. The reader needs to learn that not everything they've assumed about Oz is true, and the various roles that people like Amy can influence and play.
Once we move past that part, the action picks up again, and Paige's plotting leaves the reader wondering just what she has in store next.
The political landscape
There are a lot of internal and external struggles at play in Amy's Oz, and Paige does a nice job of showing the different factions and roles who are all struggling for power.
She also does a great job of incorporating the idea that absolute power does corrupt absolutely, and how that has driven the factions to evolve into what they are today. Paige has clearly taken the time to consider political cause and effect, and it's evident throughout the course of the novel.
The darker issues
Even though Dorothy Must Die is very much a dark fairytale, Paige makes it a point to include some pretty serious issues on how people and magical beings are treated in a post-Dorothy Oz.
Again, without getting too much into spoilers, it's nice to see that Paige has clearly considered how Dorothy may abuse her power, and shares that accordingly.
I totally book two already, okay?
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
It's written in a way where it gives the reader the impression that Amy's about to do a whole lot of ass-kicking in the book, when in fact, it's only the first step of her journey. However, this is more of a marketing/copy concern than anything to actually do with the book, and doesn't take away from the reading experience.
Just figured I'd put it out there for those who are picking the book up basedly strictly on the synopsis.
Recommended for readers who like creative books that build upon established stories, and for those who have always wondered just how Dorothy's life could have played out.