Review: Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige

Review: Dorothy Must Die – Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Published by HarperCollins
on April 1st 2014
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

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!

thoughts1 I have basically had this book on my radar since it was announced last year and had it preordered since the October before it came out. I was a little excited about the potential on a twisty, dark version of The Wizard of Oz. Both Oz movies are two of my favorite movies from childhood so I was curious how a newish version would go. Would it change everything I knew and make it unfamiliar? Would it ruin a classic story and leave me feeling disappointed? Or would it be one of those stories that creates something new out of something old and makes a reader interested? Well my friends I can tell you one thing. Danielle Paige’s Oz was like nothing I have ever read about the fictional place yet everything I knew about it. Basically she made a classic her own but kept important key elements making Dorothy Must Die a fantastically creepy read that makes you want more.

Dorothy Must Die is a version of the Wizard of Oz that you have never fathomed. It’s been years since Dorothy went over the rainbow and saved the magical fairytale land from evil witches and dark magic. She was a hero and wanted to be treated like one. Only she never was when she went back to Kansas. So when an opportunity arises, she goes back to Oz. Only this time Dorothy isn’t the same sweet girl she was. Now she is power and magic hungry and will allow nothing to stop her. Enter Amy Gumm, a girl much like Dorothy from Kansas that dreams of bigger and better places. She is tired of being trash in her small Podunk Town and of taking care of her useless mother. When a tornado hits her trailer park Amy is transported to Oz but nothing is like she heard. Days are nights; magic is forbidden; and the citizens of Oz are terrified of their ruler, a girl named Dorothy Gale. Knowing she doesn’t like this Oz but has no idea how to get home Amy is at a loss. That is until the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked help her and convince her she has a reason to be in Oz and one reason only. Dorothy Must Die. Now Amy has to figure out who to trust, what to believe and what’s really the difference between wicked and good.

I guess where I’m going to start with this one is the ‘new’ Oz world building that is a huge chunk of the book. Dorothy Must Die is over 450 pages and when all is said and done I would say about 300 of that is showing this deranged Oz. But honestly this is what I loved most about the story. Sure I loved the relationships that Amy found herself forming and the action scenes and even the Kansas stuff. But this book for me was all about Oz and what power can do to a person that can easily destroy a place. The way Paige wrote this new Oz was equal parts captivating, sad and just down right creepy weird, and I loved every second of it. All of the main elements were there from The Wizard of Oz. You had good and wicked, munchkins and talking trees. You had the flying monkeys and talks of witches, and you had Mombie and the Gnome King. But you also had the demented Scarecrow, the maniacal Tin Woodman and the homicidal Lion. You had magic in unexpected places and maybe even a hint at romance. It was all there and it was all there in a way that made me want to read more and lose sleep to find out what was going to happen. Truly it was a remarkable feat that Paige accomplished.

I’m sure I could go on and on and tell you more about what I loved about this book, but I don’t want to take away from the magic of Dorothy Must Die. It was a book that I was excited for that met my expectations (phew!) and made me excited for the next part of the series (that ending was a doozy I didn’t see coming!). It was one of those great takes on a classic to make it more modern but also the same that was done really well. It was a book that I think you should think about reading because it was a book I would definitely recommend.

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  1. I really loved this book! I went going into it thinking that I wasn’t going to love it because I have issues with pulled to publish fanfiction, so was sort of lumping this into that category of unoriginal. I know–really bad of me but I’ve been burned. Anyway, the retelling was REALLY good! I’m really excited for whatever Danielle has up next :))

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