[ARC Review] Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

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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!

Everyone once in a while you read a book that is so completely different, so completely unique that it stays with you long after you finish reading it. For me that book was Dorothy Must Die. This book deserves every single piece of hype that is attached to it, if only for the reason that Danielle Page took a piece of pop culture that is so well known and turned it upside down into a story that not only makes perfect sense, but seems to build on its predecessor.

The story of Dorothy and her trip to Oz is a famous one. We all know the book and more universally, the movie. But what I think I loved most about this book was the fact that the author not only drew from the original, but it was a large part of the back story. Amy was a lot like Dorothy in many ways, curious, friendly and from Kansas. These are things that mean nothing really at the beginning, but as the story goes forward, these are aspects that make her exactly what Oz needs in order to Kill Dorothy.

What was the most intriguing thing about this book was how different and yet how similar the setting actually was. As I was reading I found myself picturing the Oz that I knew from the movie, but desecrated in a way that would make any fan of the movie know how bad the situation really was. I loved that since Dorothy took all the magic away from the citizens of Oz it was as if all the color was taken away. I loved that Danielle was so talented in her writing as to show us exactly what this Oz looked like only with her words. It was as if I was watching a new version of this movie, and I loved every second of it.

The characters. The Wizard of Oz is known for its iconic characters, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion and of course, Dorothy herself. Well in this version of the story these characters are different, and to the extreme. The Tin Man still has his heart, but it is not good. He is the leader of a new army of tin people that follow the orders of Dorothy and her restrictions on magic. The Scarecrow still has his brain, but he is obsessed with experimenting on the citizens of Oz, and he particularly loves torturing the flying monkey who are now under Dorothy's reign. The Cowardly Lion was the most interesting character to read because he still has his courage but he has reverted into more of a real lion than anything else, eating and ripping people apart. And of course there is Dorothy herself who is obsessed with ruling Oz and harnessing all the magic she can and leaving none for anyone else. She has become the dictator she tried to kill during the iconic film, and to me that was the most interesting part. It was like Oz turned her evil. 

I will also say that there is a cast of new characters in this book that help Amy on her quest to kill Dorothy, and I loved them just as much. They were great catalysts for this story and allowed for Amy's story to shine through more than  the history of what Oz had become since Dorothy returned. Danielle Paige has written a book like none other, and I cannot say enough amazing things about this story, it is gory, shocking and heartfelt at times. The mystery of who Dorothy has become and what will happen to Oz propels the reader to finish the book. I seriously cannot wait to see where this series goes, and I am eagerly awaiting the next book!

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  1. I'm reading this at the moment--just got my copy from Amazon yesterday. I am loving it so far! I'm a big fan of retellings of classics, and agree with you about how unique this story is. It brings something new to the world of Oz, but retains enough of the original setting to make it absolutely perfect! I don't know how we're going to wait until the next installment is out! -Katie

  2. What a great review! I'm beyond interested in this novel now.