Title: Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Published: April, 2014 by HarperCollins
Purchase: The Book Depository
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 a road of yellow brick—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. And—Dorothy must die.
Amy’s home life back in Kansas pretty much sucked. She was being bullied by a pregnant girl that seemed to think Amy wanted her guy, and her mother, she was checked out to say the least. I was glad the book didn’t drag things out before escaping to Oz. I found the earlier chapters spent exploring this new take on a classic fictional world to be one of the better aspects of the book. As it progressed, my interest started to wane, taking the better part of a month to get through it. I did enjoy where it ended but found that it took too many detours to get there.
I think the main pitfall came from its lack of focus any one grouping of characters. Our main character, Amy (who I kept forgetting the name of while reading), was the only real mainstay of the book. Any honestly, I didn’t feel like I got to know that much about her as her initial “my life sucks” characterisation seemed to fade out. People kept telling her that she was the only one who could kill Dorothy, but I felt like anyone could have played the main role. To make it worse, everyone else came and went never really letting you build a proper connection, or if you did, they’d suddenly disappear from the plot for chunks of the book.
It did excel in portraying Dorothy as evil though. Perhaps in the later books, or the prequel, it might explain why, but the only real reasoning being given here seemed to be that she became power hungry and wanted all of the magic to herself. Sure, that works, but it’s not very juicy. Still, I found her evil and cruel punishments kept things interesting. It was basically a complete inversion of the Oz we had come to expect.
The murder plot took its time to come into things, instead sending us off to the wicked witches training camp for half the book—okay, maybe less—to learn how to fight, use magic and other sneaky skills. Here, it gave us an introduction to each of the witches, though I’m struggling to distinguish between any of them now. Like I said, characters were built up only to disappear from the plot. There was a love interest thrown in around now—who definitely wasn’t a love interest according to Amy—and a couple of potential friends. They all got shipped off to do their own thing once Amy progressed onto the next stage of the book.
Infiltrating the castle.
This section of the book was so random. Pretending to be one of Dorothy’s maids, we spend countless chapters with Amy cleaning rooms, brushing royal hair and sneaking around hallways. As we got to know more new characters, I was really wondering how much longer I could stand reading this book. I powered through though, and eventually the plot did come together. Something meant to be a big reveal though, was actually given away in the blurb, so it did leave me feeling like this book was more of an introduction to the story still to come. Maybe with all of these characters now introduced and left spread about to draw upon the second book might actually get down to business. I won’t be heading back too soon to find out though.
Fans of retellings and those who enjoy a vast cast of characters.