Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting. This week I’m choosing Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige. Stealing Snow is a retelling of the Snow Queen!! The story takes place in modern day New York where Snow has spent most of her life in a mental hospital. She dreams about a strange tree and breaks free into the nearby forest and starts to discover who she really is. The final line of the synopsis is what really gets me: “the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a Queen and ultimately a hero.”
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.
Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.
This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero. (via Goodreads)
**Warning! If you haven’t read Dorothy Must Die which is the first book in the trilogy by Danielle Paige, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige is the second book in the Dorothy Must Die trilogy. I’ll admit that I picked it up before I became aware of all the drama surrounding the author, but after loving the first book so much I felt like I should continue. Plus, at 293 pages it’s a really quick read. Unfortunately I wasn’t ever able to get into this book like I had the first one. The story was not anywhere near as engaging and there were changes in storytelling that took away from the overall enjoyment. Womp womp.
The only reason I didn’t give this book 1 stars on my goodreads rating is because I didn’t see the ending coming and there’s potential for the third book to save this series if goes back to the style of Dorothy Must Die. The story continues in Oz with Amy Gumm searching for the missing members of The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked while plotting to steal the remaining assets (the Scarecrow’s brain and the Lion’s courage) from Dorothy’s inner circle of henchmen. Throughout the book, Amy becomes increasingly afflicted and controlled by dark magic. Some of her allies even speculate that it’s the same dark magic that corrupted Dorothy. Amy lost some of her sass from the first book and she also gets little too boy crazy. We do get to see more of Ozma who still doesn’t make much sense. My main issue with this book is that it didn’t feel like anything really happened until the last chapter. The characters were mostly mosying along through Oz without any events furthering the story.
What drew me to this series initially is my love of Oz so the setting of the story is appealing. I particularly enjoyed reading about the rainbow area and the bubbly ruler within it and I loved how she had a faux unicorn as a pet. I also enjoyed the Island of Lost Things and I thought that was a fun addition to the world. I’m not positive if it exists in previous Oz lore but it felt like it belonged in the world. The end of the story is a completely unexpected twist but it led to some pacing issues in the early stages of the story and hindered its development.
Final Thoughts: The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige is the continuation of Dorothy Must Die. The story is not as likable as the first and the plot drags until the last chapter. While the ending is an unexpected twist, it’s not enough to make up for the lack of story development in the first 90% of the book. The main character Amy reads differently than she did in the first installment and we see much less of her original allies and the characters she’s trying to pursue so she can take down Dorothy.
In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestsellingDorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.
To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die…
But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn’t wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked? (via Goodreads)
*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)