Author: Danielle Paige
Published: April 1st, 2014
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling
POV: 1st person
Format: Printed ARC
Source: Vine program
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
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.
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!
In the beginning of Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm is just a poor, saracastic girl from Kansas who may or may not get into fights with pregnant mean girls. But, after Amy's trailer is swept away by a tornado and lands in Oz, Amy finds the girl she used to be might not be enough to survive in this strange and twisted world. Unfortunately, Oz is no longer the place we all know from the books and movies. Whatever charm it once held has disappeared. Instead, it's been twisted into a world where magic is dying, Dorothy rules supreme with cruel power, and everyone is expected to follow Dorothy's chaotic laws - or else. And, once Amy finds herself on Dorothy's bad side, she has no choice but to team up with the Order of the Wicked in order to restore the balance in Oz.
Paige's delightfully and wickedly twisted version of Oz is fascinating and unsettling. Amy Gumm is an excellent protagonist, mostly because I can appreciate her snark and sarcasm. Description is wonderfully done, and it was easy to envision every single setting and character. But, as much as I enjoyed this book, it suffers from first-book syndrome. There's a lot of information and preparation for the next novel, to the point where it almost seems like nothing of note actually happens. But, despite the flaws, Dorothy Must Die remains entertaining thanks to Amy's sharp snark and Oz's twisted world.
Highlights: Dorothy is the bad guy, and it's a bit twisted and strange. There's something scary about a person who seems all bubblegum on the outside but snaps at every little thing, and Dorothy doesn't disappoint as the villain. Other side characters were especially intriguing, although a few of the more fascinating ones were not used enough in the story. Everything about Danielle Paige's Oz is twisted yet familiar for anyone who knows a little (or a lot) about her source material. Amy's POV is fantastically entertaining, and I easily found myself wanting her to win in the end.
Lowlights: The story is very slow, and a lot of the action happens at the very beginning and the conclusion. I hate how the novel ended - it seemed like things were really starting to get going during the last couple chapters, and then it's all over (if you read the summary, you'll notice the tasks Amy must complete - the only problem is that Amy doesn't learn about those tasks until the very conclusion, which is incredibly frustrating as a reader). I'm hoping the sequel will be a bit more focused on Amy's tasks, now that Paige has gotten Amy's training and the info-dumping out of the way.
Rating: The Great Hall (high 3 out of 5).