June 17, 2014

Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source/Format: Gifted by Margot (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my 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!
(from Goodreads)

I have fond memories of The Wizard of Oz, particularly when it comes to wanting those red shoes. (By the way, there’s an animated reboot that’s coming out, and I am so there because Lea Michele is voicing Dorothy!) I also happen to be a huge Wicked fan, a clever retelling adapted from novel to Broadway show. Curiosity about yet another Oz retelling drew me to Dorothy Must Die.

(I must admit that being in Margot’s fauxto inspired by the novel was also another reason I wanted to read it!)

You can certainly expect to encounter familiar people, places and objects, as there is plenty of awesome material that Paige pulls from the original. However, everything has been turned upside down on its head, as what once was good is now wicked, and vice versa. The idea might seem ludicrous, but it also happens to be fresh and fun to think about!

The entire novel becomes a crazy romp, as we return to Oz (a very different Oz, mind you) along with main character Amy. Honestly, it is the type of read where you have to be willing to come along for the craziness, to let go of pre-conceived notions and just enjoy yourself. (And if you were able to do that in the original – where a tornado takes Dorothy to Oz – you won’t have a problem!) From yet another tornado that bring Amy (and her trailer) to Oz, to a rebellion from the monkeys clipping off their wings, to the uncertainty of which side is right or wrong, to the assassin training – there is definitely a lot to wrap your mind around.

The thing is: it just so happens to be fun. Who cares if it occasionally tends toward the fantastical or the ridiculous? At the end of the day, I enjoyed myself, seeing how everything would unfold for Amy as she is tasked with her mission (which is obviously to kill Dorothy). Did I connect to her or any other character really well? Nope. Did everything appear to have a logical explanation? Nope. Did I mind? Nope.

It is wicked (pun intended) fun to see everyone shifting sides. The witches, some of whom are very much like the Wicked Witches of the East and West, are seemingly good, as they support Amy, teach her what she needs to know and seem to just want to take Dorothy down for the balance to return to Oz. 

Dorothy herself is vain, petty, selfish and greedy – a far cry from the sweet girl who first arrived in Oz. She’s recruited Glinda to her side, as well as her faithful companions the Scarecrow (who just keeps wanting more intelligence, and does experiments on various beings), the Lion (who sucks up all the fear out of everyone until they’re dead) and the Tin Man (who is just plain scary with all the weapons and his army with tin ornamentation). They’re a seriously scary gang who have taken control of Oz, putting Ozma (the true ruler) is some sort of trance. 

Then there is Nox, who flirts between being good and evil, and the Wizard, who has an angle no one can quite figure out yet. It’s seriously just fun to try to figure out whose side you would be on.

I did have a few reservations. Amy's life in the real world (Kansas) is very heartbreaking, what with the mean (pregnant) girl at school, and her mother's behavior. The situation obviously defines Amy as a person, but it felt too conveniently laid out as a plot device.

There is also a point where everything becomes dull, a heavy lull somewhere in the middle of Amy’s training and her first couple of days at the palace. Even though I knew that she was doing all this stuff to train for her assassination attempt, it kind of just fell flat.

I also nearly screamed with frustration at the ending (even knowing it was a series!) because it felt too abrupt for my liking. Plus, as I’ve said, I didn’t particularly find myself attached to any of these characters. But even with these opinions, I still thought it was a fun reading experience!

Dorothy Must Die is definitely a tale inspired by the original Wizard of Oz , though all the elements have been shaken up and poured out different by Danielle Paige. Her changes are clever, her plot pretty fun and it really is just a novel I would read for pure entertainment. If you want something fun and are willing to suspend your belief for a little while, then you’ll definitely want to check this out.


  1. I so agree about the middle and the ending! I got quite bored halfway through, especially during the training parts. That said though, I also had a lot of fun with this book overall. It may not be flawless, but like you said, it is definitely a book that can be read for pure entertainment. :) Great review, Alexa.

  2. I'm definitely still interested in this one but I'm a bit afraid of the lulls since it's on the heftier side! I just love retellings though and it sounds so unique and creative!!

  3. There has been so much hype surrounding this book! I'm glad I was able to read your thoughts on this book. To be honest, I'm not really familiar with the story of Oz itself, so I think I would be fine reading this book. This book seems like one that shouldn't be taken seriously at all, and although you didn't connect with any of the characters, you enjoyed it just fine! I'm just not sure if I'm going to be happy with that abrupt ending.. hmm. I'll have to look into more reviews of this one, but thank you so much for the wonderful review, Alexa!

  4. I had the same feelings. The lull in the middle almost made me give up on it at one point, but it was a fun read. I'm still not sure if I'll pick up the second one when it's available, we'll see! If you didn't pick up the novella that preceded it that one is definitely worth the read, I actually like it more than the actual book! It sheds some light on what happened to Dorothy to get her where she was in the book.

  5. You and I share quite a few feelings, I think. It will be interesting to see what lies within the second book now that the world is built!

  6. I'm glad you liked it! I've been hearing some nt so favourable things about it and am curious to see what I'll think of it :) But knowing that you just have to go with it will help!

  7. I have a finished copy at home and have been so intrigued by everything I've heard about it. Time to read it, I guess!

  8. This sounds just as exciting as I'd hoped it would be! Can't wait to read!


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