Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is the dark and grisly re-telling of a classic, and the first in a new young adult series. Set in the magical land of Oz, but not the Oz we know; this Oz is devastated and bleak, and looks like a nuclear wasteland.  What happened, you ask?  Dorothy happened.

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!

I'll be honest; I have never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, but I'm familiar with the movie.  Very familiar.  Crazily obsessed at a young age, and watched it every day familiar.  Fans of the classic will likely enjoy this novel, but you do not need to be a fan to like this re-telling.  It is dark, sinister, violent, and sad.  The world of L. Frank Baum that Danielle Paige tweaks is powerfully told, completely different, yet somehow eerily familiar.

This story was really good; I rate it at 3.5 stars because, although very rich and imaginative, it dragged in the middle for me.  Gobble up this novel, I did not.  It took me several days longer than normal to read.

The premise of the novel is great; Amy arrives in Oz much like Dorothy originally did in the classic novel -- via a tornado and magic.  However, she does not arrive to the same Oz Dorothy did so many years before.  No, this Oz looks like a wasteland.  The only thing that is the same is the fabled yellow brick road.

Blah blah blah, Amy travels down the road, meeting people along the way, which makes the novel have a very Wizard of Oz feel.  She eventually meets Dorothy (who is a great character in this re-telling, incidentally), who throws her in prison when she learns that Amy came to Oz in the very same way she herself did.  Dorothy feels threatened, and must eliminate anything that stands in her way.

See, when Dorothy came back to Oz, she became corrupted by magic.  Through a series of events, she was able to climb to the top and reign over all the land, hoarding magic and punishing anyone that double-crossed her heinously.  Very fucking heinously.

(The other major characters from the franchise are also in this novel, and they are also rather amazing villains, especially the Tin Woodman.  Again, I cannot stress how vile and terrible the villains are in this novel -- you'll have to read it for yourself.)

Amy eventually escapes from prison with the help of a group of people, the Order, that are united under one goal:  to kill Dorothy, at any cost.

Amy... was flat, for me.  She was what most people would consider a kick-ass heroine, but she reminded me very much of Tris from the Divergent series, who I didn't really like.  If you liked Tris, I really think you'll like Amy.  There is also slowly developing love interest, a boy from the Order she joins, named Nox, who also did nothing for me.  This is the first novel in the series, however, so perhaps I will grow to like both characters in the subsequent books.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Dorothy Must Die except for the problems I detailed; the beginning and end were very good, but the story lulled in the middle when Amy trained with the Order.

Published April 1st 2014 by HarperTeen


  1. Uh ohhhh! At least you enjoyed it for the most part! I'm very excited to read this book. I got this little excerpt that includes the first 4 chapters and I devoured it in like, 15 mins! Sucks to hear it drags a little!
    I'm waiting for my library to get this book b/c I really don't want to buy it~ Plus I just spent a butt load on Dreams of Gods & Monsters and some other stuff. lol
    Thanks for you thoughts and your review Jackie!! xoxo
    Michelle ~ Book Hangovers Blabs Books

    1. It was good, don't get me wrong... just a little slow in the middle. But like I said, it's the first in a series, so I'll excuse the slowness.

      I just got Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and cannot wait to start it!

  2. This is the second or third review that I've read on this book that have felt this way! I really want to read it myself still, I'm glad to hear that you at least enjoyed most of it. :)

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

    1. I really did like it... I've just been reading so many amazing books lately. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. I've been seeing this book everywhere in different book blogs! Now I start to wonder if it's worth the read. Thanks for the review! :) I love hearing more about books from different bloggers. by the way, I just started a book blog around last week and maybe you might want to check it out? Maybe we can follow each other too! Just let me know :) xx

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    1. I'm a new GFC/Bloglovin' follower of yours -- thanks for your comment, and good luck on your blog. Can't wait to read your reviews. :)

  4. Amy fell a little flat for me too. I liked Nox's character, but I didn't really feel anything for their relationship. And I agree that the middle was quite slow. Other than that though, I enjoyed the book. I loved that it was so dark in places (those villains really are vile!), and I definitely liked the twist on Dorothy. I'm glad this one worked for you overall, despite the slight issues. Great review, Jackie! :)

    1. Yes, I also loved Dorothy. That vile, treacherous bitch. I can't wait to read more of Nox in later installments. :)


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