{Book Review} Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
{Book Review} Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Published by Harper Collins on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Horror & Ghost Stories, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 464
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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

Dorothy Must Die follows the story of Kansas born Amy Gumm, who finds herself in Oz after a violent tornado one day. Except, this Oz is nothing like the Oz she remembers from the movie. This Oz is filled with nightmares: The Scarecrow is experimenting on Ozians, The Tin Woodman has become a violent, cyborg police of sorts, and the Lion eats people on the spot. Not to mention that Dorothy, still dressed in her signature blue gingham, now rules the land with an iron fist and a sickly sweet smile. Amy is quickly recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to take the tyrant down. They train her, but tell her practically nothing about the assassination plan, and Amy finds herself back in the Emerald City with only one piece of information: Dorothy Must Die.

This book is nightmarish. If you are a big fan of The Wizard of Oz, I don’t actually recommend reading this book because it takes everything you love about the movie or the book and shreds it up into creepy little pieces.

I was hoping this book was going to be like Splintered: a zany, colorful and imaginative retelling that was a bit darker than the original. Nope. Dorothy Must Die has turned Oz into a horror movie with little explanation as to why everything is so horrible. Why is Dorothy a psychopathic tyrant who likes to watch people be dismembered? How do you go from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to “Somewhere Someone needs to lose an arm?” These questions were not answered in this book. Dorothy is psycho because she’s psycho. Or perhaps that story is coming later in the series.

Amy was a fine protagonist.She goes from not really knowing who she is or what she wants to being prepared to assassinate Dorothy. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t dislike her. She had a few moments of stupid bravery that I thought were going to seriously backfire, but thankfully, she managed to scrape through.

There was kind of a love triangle? Sort of? I’m still mildly confused as to what happened there because we were left with a jolting cliffhanger. Paige just kind of threw some information at us at the very end that I was like, wait, what does that mean?

I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style; it wasn’t quite stream of consciousness/super casual with slang, but it had enough that made the writing feel inconsistent. Also, I kept expecting more interesting descriptions; a lot of stuff that was described was either pretty mundane (and there was a lot of that), or completely horrifying (not as much but more than I needed). I also didn’t really feel super connected to any of the characters, even Amy. Certainly not anyone in the Order. (I really wanted to feel connected to Nox. He was cool. I liked him. But in a sort of, hey you’re a love interest and I’m supposed to like you, way)

All in all though, Dorothy Must Die has an interesting plot (though the beginning is a bit slow) with Amy meeting the Order and being trained to kill Dorothy. But everything sort of felt like, we must kill everyone because everyone has become nightmarish horrible monsters for absolutely no reason.

I guess I don’t know who to recommend this for…fans of horrible, nightmare inducing retellings?


    • Jessica says:

      I was super interested in it because I love retellings but the execution was just not quite right. I didn’t mind some of the darker details, but it got pretty horrifying pretty quickly. I was really surprised. And it’s a shame because she could have done so much more with a lot of the Oz details, like, there’s already this colorful zany world established for her, and she just sort of made it mundane. It was pretty disappointing.
      Jessica recently posted…Top 10 Books of 2015My Profile

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