*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is an extension of Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series and it continues the story in modern day Oz. It reexamines the happy ending most people are familiar with and turns Dorothy into a power hungry dictator of Oz. She rules alongside the Tin Man, Scarecrow and not-so-Cowardly-Lion who have become her evil henchmen and it’s up to one girl from Kansas who gets transported to Oz by a tornado to try and stop them. Meet Amy Gumm, a more alternative type of heroine with bubblegum pink hair. Amy gets recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked which consists of past villains that don’t seem as evil as they once were.
I found Amy to be a very likable protagonist. She comes from a broken home so her transportation to Oz is a welcome adventure away from her alcoholic mother and the mundane life she led in Kansas. She has some initial reservations adjusting from studying for high school to training to assassinate Dorothy but when all is said and done she assimilates quite nicely. Dorothy, our villain of the story is also really enjoyable to read about. She’s terribly evil and she’s sucking Oz’s magic supply dry because of her addiction. The people of Oz are so terrified of her that they use a product called PermaSmile to avoid breaking her Happiness Decree. I also loved the way Dorothy’s trio is reimagined. The Scarecrow is an evil scientist (think Dr. Frankenstein), the Tin Man leads the Tin Soldiers as the Grand Inquisitor of the Emerald Police, and the Cowardly Lion is a vicious beast who rules over the animals in the forest. I only wish we had gotten to see more scenes with Ozma, the true ruler of Oz, but I expect those will be present in the coming books.
The plot is very dark, seeing as how the majority of the novel is focusing on training a teenager to commit murder, and I couldn’t put it down. Since Amy is basically white trash, she requires intensive training from the other members of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked before she’ll be able to sneak her way into Dorothy’s inner circle and betray her. Since Dorothy Must Die is the first book in a series, there is a lot of world-building and little resolution. Having already been familiar with Oz, reading Amy’s POV and all the changes that have occurred since I last read The Wizard of Oz, felt like returning to an old vacation spot only to find that nothing is as I’d remembered.
Final Thoughts: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is an exciting extension of Baum’s Wizard of Oz. There are many nods to the original series but Paige manages to make the characters her own through her reimaginations. I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a quick paced adventure that’s easy to get swept away in.
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 bluebirds. 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 yellow brick road – 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. (via Goodreads)