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.
©2014 Full Fathom Five, LLC (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
First off, if you're looking for a 100% standalone novel, this is not it. While it doesn't exactly end in what I would term a cliffhanger, the conclusion raises a lot more questions than it answers and the main character narrating the story puts it right out there that it's not over. Another small warning if you're buying this for your kid -- while this appears to be firmly in YA territory, be aware that there are several bloody bits and language that would get a movie rated R. So if that bothers you, consider carefully before you buy.
So about the book itself. I found this one to be a rather mixed bag. There are a lot of interesting concepts going on in this book, but I didn't really feel like any of them were fully realized or explained. Since there are apparently going to be sequels to this book, I realize you can't spill all the beans straight off, but at the end of this book my knowledge of how Oz came to such a pass is still pretty negligible. You learn early on that, surprise! Dorothy and cohorts are now the evil rulers of Oz. What never gets explained satisfactorily is why. It's suggested throughout the book that the Oz books we know and love weren't wrong, that everything did happen that way and that Dorothy used to be good and has changed. There's a hint that she developed an addiction to magic, but her becoming a sort of magical junkie doesn't fully explain the depths of corruption and sadism to which Dorothy has sunk. To be fair, I have just noticed today that there is a prequel novella available for the Kindle on Amazon which may answer some of these question.
Several other things bothered me about this book as well. Our narrator and main character gets bullied from page one and that pretty much goes on throughout the book. She gets bullied into joining the revolution, she gets bullied for being rubbish at training in the beginning (like, wow, you're a teenager from a world in which you don't have to defend yourself from anything more serious than a high school shoving contest, why aren't you the uber warrior we need?!), she gets bullied for not being the hard as nails, nothing before the cause soldier that she was kind of forced into training to be. Adversity makes a story, but seriously? Do we need to ream the girl at every turn when there can be no reasonable expectation for her to have adapted so well to this world in so short a time?
Overall, I'm giving this book 3 stars across the board. The narrator wasn't bad and did seem to bring across the teenager attitude the main character had. This was occasionally annoying as teenagers are occasionally annoying, but I can't fault her for playing her part to a tee. The premise of this book was and still remains intriguing to me and the writing itself was adequate. It could be entirely possible that the sequel to this book, whenever it comes out, will kick much more butt than this one did. I really hope it does. I'd love to see Amy Gumm come into her own, start making her own decisions and her own plans. I'd love to see her fight back on her own terms and not just follow someone else's idea of what's best. She definitely didn't do those things in this book, but I think there's still hope for her yet.
Words. Words. Words.
I would compare (as I said in the title) this book to American McGee's Alice. It is a dark twist on a classic world that we all know.
My favorite scene is one of the first that takes place in the land of Oz where Amy climbs a hill to get her first view of what Oz has become. A crazed looking Glenda the good witch is hovering high in the sky while she forces the munchkin people (Enslaved by Dorothy and her minions) to harvest the magic from the land which has turned the Oz landscape into a grey, barren wasteland.
Murder, over the rainbow.
The Emerald City is about to be painted red.
Lions and tigers and bears will die!
This is a fun YA novel for those that enjoy the twisted fairy tales. The author actually has a handle on the English language and doesn't pander to people who don't know how to speak it. (I'm looking at you Divergent)
The reader chose to use a very sarcastic, snarky tone for Amy, which didn't work for the entire book. I definitely saw Amy as sarcastic in the beginning, but I felt that she underwent many transformations in Oz, which made the snarkiness annoying. I wanted to click my heels three times to end this book.
I had so much hopes for this book, but none of the characters were likable. I really wanted to like Amy as a heroine protagonist, but the sarcastic voice used in narration prevented me from forming any sort of relationship relationship with her.
I'm 50/50 on this one. The book was okay and the writing wasn't bad. I wasn't impressed but I liked it enough to finish it.
Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, Gert, and Amy were very distinct. Everyone else was so so.
I could totally see this turn into either one. The story is interesting, there's a lot of guesswork, and of course there is the twisted version of Oz, which is very appealing for the screen. I can't really think of who should play the characters though...
Overall it's a decent book. The pacing needs improvement; the romance between Amy and Knox should be better developed; there were several scenes were I felt like throwing a shoe at Amy for being so dang on stupid. But other than that, it's good.
When reviewing books I try to be fair; I appreciate that not everyone will be looking for the same things in a book.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige was one of my most anticipated reads of the season. I read and loved the prequel - No Place Like Oz - and indeed my desire to read Dorothy Must Die sent me into a reading slump for a while as nothing else hit the spot. Having read it, I can say that, while there was a lot to enjoy about Dorothy Must Die it didn’t quite live up to my anticipation.
What I liked
The protagonist. I really liked our protagonist, Amy Gumm, and enjoyed following her journey. She is a strong, kick-ass heroine, yet is dealing with her own internal demons and has her own buttons that can be pressed. Coming from Kansas as she does, she is the reader’s inroad to Dorothy’s Oz. Many parallels are drawn between Amy and Dorothy; both are originally from Kansas, both were feeling trapped in their mundane lives with little escape from their farm/small town before their arrival in Oz. Both are sensitive to the magic that is all around in Oz.
The worldbuilding. While it’s fair to say that L. Frank Baum did a lot of the heavy lifting in his creation of the world of Oz, Paige has added her own twist to the world. Baum’s Oz is clearly identifiable in the book, but there is a much darker twist to it with Dorothy’s influence. It’s based on the children’s novels rather than the 1939 Judy Garland film in that there are characters mentioned who are in the books not in the movie, and also that the original slippers are silver not red. I would suggest you read No Place Like Oz first before coming to Dorothy Must Die to get an idea of the background.
Good vs Wicked and Trust. The question of trust and whom to trust and whom not to trust comes up too many times for it not to be a major theme in the series. Amy is working for the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and is repeatedly advised by the operatives not to trust anyone. It’s clear that they don’t trust Amy either, keeping her in the dark until the last possible moment. It’s a common trope in good vs evil fantasy that the good guys always win because they trust their colleagues to have their backs and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good whereas the bad guys are too busy looking out for themselves to implement any cohesive plans or trust their colleagues to work with them. Although the so-called wicked have come together in Dorothy Must Die they don’t have that trust that good guys have. It’s an interesting twist and I look forward to seeing how it plays out in subsequent books.
Writing style. I did enjoy Paige’s writing style. It came across as fresh and immediate and really brought me into the story.
What I didn’t like
Pacing. Here we come to the main problem I had with Dorothy Must Die; the pacing was off. For a significant chunk of the first half of the book Amy is training with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked yet, due to trust issues mentioned above, has not been given a goal to work towards except the vague Dorothy Must Die. This section drags on far too long and really slows the book down. I would encourage you to work past this section though - it improves a lot once Amy is working on a more specific goal.
Misleading marketing. HarperCollins’ blurb for Dorothy Must Die contains the following:
"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!"
If that is the blurb you’re using to hook readers into the book, it might be a good idea to have your protagonist actually work towards that goal in that book and not have it be a supposed finale twist that Dorothy can’t die until the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow and Lion have been neutralised. Clearly, it’s a blurb for the series as a whole not just Dorothy Must Die. When reading the book please bear this in mind so that you are not frustrated at the end.
The audio narration. In general I really liked Devon Sorvari’s narration. She really brought out Amy’s strength of character and kick-ass attitude. However there were long pauses left at the end of each paragraph - long enough to be very noticeable and very irritating. I kept wondering if I’d reached the end of a chapter.
In general though I really enjoyed Dorothy Must Die and will definitely continue with the rest of the series. Amy is a really great character and I love the world of Oz. I look forward to seeing more.
I gave Dorothy Must Die four stars out of five.
The land of Oz has been turned on its head and it's up to the girl from Kansas to set things to right... No not that one, she's the problem and must DIE. Danielle Paige has delved into the dark side of magic in the first of her Oz series.
The mystery of who is good, who is bad and what or who really controls Oz is fascinating with twists and turns keeping me on the edge of my seat. The reveal at the end of Dorothy Must Die leaves me intrigued and impatient for book 2.
As Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time says "magic always has a price." What is the price Dorothy must pay for her use of magic? Only Daniellle Paige can say.
I like seeing Amy blossom as she finds her potential
The reveal at the end of the book had me jumping out of my seat
I loved the dark Oz that Paige created from the blacken fields, silent forests and enslaved monkeys. Gone are the smiling tin man and adorable cowardly lion. The Scarecrow will make you shiver. We meet Dorothy, the Wizard and spend time in the Emerald City. As a child, I dreamed of traveling to Oz, but Paige’s Oz will make you long to click you fuzzy slippers as you cry, “there is no place like home.”
Amy does not live on a farm. She lives in a trailer park with her drug-addicted mother and is tormented by the high school “mean girl.” She does not have a lot of confidence and we get to see growth in her throughout the novel. At times, she is a little abrasive, but I felt her frustration at being thrust into a battle and not knowing the players. There is a hint of romance and at first; I thought we were going to get a triangle, but no worries on that count. If romance is necessary for your reading pleasure, you may be a tad disappointed as this one takes a back seat to the action, suspense and mysteries of Oz, Dorothy and the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
While not without flaws, I had to admire Paige’s take on Oz, and hope the next novel gives us more answers as to what went wrong and who is responsible. The tale’s ebb and flow for the most part was well paced. It dragged a little in the middle, and I felt it lost direction. However, the ending was deliciously paced and intense. Paige weaved in magic, contraptions, and spells while giving me a panoramic view of Oz. Where this fell a little flat for me is in the execution. While the world of Oz is dark it often boarders on ridiculous taking away the darker tones I would have appreciated. The novel for all its wonder did not provide many answers and was more of an introduction. I am hoping that book two digs a little deeper and answers questions. I would love to see Tim Burton get his hands on this. It would make quite the twisted movie.
Devon Sorvari narrated, and I felt her pacing, tone and voice added to the tale. She did an excellent Dorothy and made me want to slap the snot out of her. Amy could be annoying, and Devon did an excellent job of showing her frustration, fear and determination.
I tried to enjoy this book. However, Amy's attitude, angst, and complaining irritated me to no end. It was so annoying. Every turn left me wanting to scream because the main character was always complaining, or getting frustrated, our getting angry with someone. She was definitely a character I did not like.
I already downloaded book 2. Looking forward to it. I am a 37 yo man, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing a new version of what happened 30 years later!
I love books, they save you, get you in trouble, and fill a piece of your heart that is always going missing. They are simply enchanting.
While its slow to start its an interesting take on what happened after Dorothy left Oz. Yoy always wonder what happens after the story ends and this is it. Can't wait to start the second book.
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