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Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, 1) (edition 2015)
by Danielle Paige (Author)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Top Five Books of 2016 (393)
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Full Review on my blog!
Wow! This turned out to be super fun! Let me be honest. I didn’t really like The Wizard of Oz. I’ve seen the movie…when I was around 8-12 years old, I remember it being really boring, annoying, and stupid. But Danielle Paige did an amazing job at making this world her own; adding to this story and reconstructing the characters for readers, taking us to after Dorothy left Oz. It was well written, well thought out and action-packed and just totally engaging
In Dorothy Must Die, Oz is not the happy, magic-filled place it used to be. Good witches are wicked and wicked witches are good. Cities lay crumbled and forgotten. Dorothy rules with an iron fist, dueling out punishes to sass talking and leering. Now, this is an Oz I can get used to.
The protagonist in this story is Amy Gumm, the other girl from Kansas, who arrives in Oz the same way that Dorothy did. During a tornado. Amy our heroine is quite possibly the most honest and true-to-self-heroine there is. Amy’s story started out like Dorothy’s which is cool because they both wanted to get away from Kansas. Amy is very unpopular and lives with her unsupportive mom in a trailer park in Kansas. Amy’s life in the trailer park is far from perfect. Her father has a new family and makes no time for her, her mother is a self-absorbed alcoholic who spends more time with her rat ‘Star’ than Amy and her time at school is just as bad, she is bullied and called ‘Salvation Army’ due to her lifestyle and living in a trailer park. An unlikely hero is about to be born. I feel like there was a lot of unnecessary girls hate at the start, but then a tornado comes and drops Amy off in a dystopian version of Oz.
And Amy thought her life was bad, but she has no idea what’s in store for her when she gets to Oz.
Though I really enjoyed the story, I ended the novel with so many questions that were left unanswered. I felt like the ending was really abrupt… but overall, this book is sooo amazing! I recommend it, especially if you like retellings, young adult, romance and fantasy books.
Check out my reviews of the rest of this series!
Dorothy Must Die
The Wicked Will Rise
Yellow Brick War
The End of Oz
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not your mothers oz that's for sure.
I would have quit less than 25 pages in if I hadn't been reading this for a book club. The villains, from the bully at the beginning to the beloved quartet from the original, were cartoonishly, unbelievably bad, and that was the main deal-breaker for me.
I also wasn't convinced by the speed of Amy's transformation into a magic-wielding warrior or the budding romance with Nox.
I really just wasn't convinced by anything in this book-the friendships, the emotions (with the exceptions of Amy's feelings toward her mom at the beginning), or the ridiculous secrecy regarding Amy's mission.
There were hints that there was more to the story than met the eye with the baddies and who Amy should believe. Maybe things will turn out not to be so black and white about Dorothy and her gang of thugs. But 450 pages of a grotesque Oz and horribleness upon horribleness was more than enough. The rest of the series can go on without me.
I ride the fence when it comes to Oz. I am neither a hater nor the biggest fan, I know both the horror stories of what happened and making that movie and the amazing inspiration it has caused for generations for years after.
That said my experience so far with this book has been relatively okay. That really suits the book for the most part: it's okay.
Amy is not the most interesting character, but she is way more interesting than Nox. Well address Nox later, he really does take this rating down a couple of points. I expected more of a hardcore fighter attitude from Amy, the intro and a lot of the building up scenes before she is taken to Oz imply that she is not afraid to bloody up everything and everyone in her way.
Instead Amy is very careful almost too clean, she's supposed to have grown up being told that she was Salvation Amy, a poor girl wearing poor clothing, that kind of upbringing means she got into a lot of fights. And we even open on proof that she gets into fights. Yet upon reaching Oz she doesn't do anything violent or react violently to anyone. Odd creatures are talking to her and she's just handling this perfectly fine.
She reacts to Oz being real way too calmly.
I'll say it even though this is a character that we don't get enough of, this probably would have been a two-star review or a 2.5 star review if it wasn't for Indigo. Amy doesn't get a lot of character development, but Indigo gets so much scenery and you can really tell they wanted to give you as much information as possible about her so that they could build up how feels the and sad a certain scene is with her. It indeed feels awful when that scene comes because Indigo was such an interesting character and really had more chemistry going than anyone else in the book thus far.
Amy is just not bonding with anybody, which really makes it hard to care when she gets upset because she doesn't feel anything for anyone.
And now I'm on Nox, Nox just appears. He appears and he's helpful and he's nice and he's the romance. Not that my brain could handle the idea of somebody going to Oz and forming a romance knowing that they have to go back eventually. Nor that my brain could handle a relationship between a character who's barely there and a character who can't even form bonds with the cash she has before they're killed off. This character honestly took a star himself. Nox it's not a love interest. He's just this character who somehow starts having a relationship with Amy. But their relationship is just there it suddenly appears and now it exists. There's no build up there's just normal talking scenes and then suddenly oh it's a romance.
Bur nor just any romance, a romance all the witches use to "enhance" her powers and even say straight out they're using Nox and Amy to benefit themselves and setting them up like that for that purpose. It's pretty fucked to read. They treat Nox like a chess piece, not a person. He's there to be utilized.
Which isn't unusual, any rebellion or people on their side are just pawns, but Nox is the worst case of it. And they know what they're doing, but they still do it. Plus in response Amy gets disgusted, then quickly catches feelings for no reason. She's teased a few pages after and gets the "I don't like him" while blushing reaction which comes out of nowhere.
Pretty eh. Like very predictable suddenly and it's obvious a romance between a being of Oz and a human isn't gonna end well.
Now as for the theme, and the plot line. Even though this has been done to death and mangas and manwahs, I was willing to let this story ride. I've seen so many mangas about Oz and the magical World and basically rehashing these plot lines to death. Especially the Dorothy is evil plot line. This book is not "original". In fact most fanfiction has a what if the good guy was bad au for every character who ever was good. So I can't say Dorothy Must Die is doing anything that other books haven't done, nor any fanfiction or basic manga. Even though I say this, this being a common plot line did not change my rating. I don't really care about flat lines that have been done to death, I like to ride and see how it ends.
I hope that the series actually gets good instead of only okay, but I know that the first book is basically a healthy fat load of bait to keep you reading until the second book. I don't think I'll continue reading this series but I'm not opposed to maybe trying the second book. It's definitely not the worst thing I've read but it's very okay.
Okay is how this whole book is.
Not great, not good, not awful, not bad.
2.5 stars, bumped to a three on Goodreads because it doesn't have a half star rating.
Belongs to Series
Dorothy Must Die (1)
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The New York Times bestselling first book in a dark new series that reimagines the Oz saga, from debut author Danielle Paige. 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.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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Amy Gumm is a just a high school girl living in Kansas with her pill-popping mom in a trailer. She's bullied at school and has had to take care of her self for a long time now. Her only goal is to leave and never look back. Then a tornado comes and lifts her trailer to a strange land. Amy has landed in Oz, but this isn't the Oz from the books and movies. This Oz is a lot more desolate and is ruled by Dorothy. It turns out Dorothy returned to Oz and was crowned a princess. Once she got a taste of power, she became insatiable. Now she rules Oz with fear and death.
Along the way Amy meets The Order of the Wicked and learns that they believe Amy is the only one who can take Dorothy down. And they begin training Amy to do just that. Throughout the process, Amy must wrestle with figuring out what the meaning of good and wicked really is. She also must decide if she's really capable of killing someone... even if it is the most evil person she's ever come into contact with.
I almost DNF'd this book. But I'm glad I didn't! Why did I almost DNF it? The first 1/3 of it bored me to no end. I didn't like Amy. The writing felt juvenile. The world building was ehhh. But after I pushed through that part, I started to actually click with this book. Reading it became fun and exciting.
At first Amy was just okay for me. Once she got to Oz she became really bland and boring. And the world of Oz at first felt really fake and convenient. What I mean by that is I didn't believe in the world. It just sort of felt like the author was throwing things in and not really building something for me to imagine. Like I said, that changed for the better as the book went on, but the beginning of the Oz part was just not impressing me.
Amy ends up joining The Order of the Wicked and training with them, which I have to admit was not my favorite part either. Some of it was really boring to read and I wasn't feeling the Nox crush. Amy was in a life or death situation and her thoughts toward Nox just felt so inappropriate for the situation. For instance, a robot/human girl shows up half dead and bleeding, and when Nox picks her up to help her, Amy gets jealous. Really??
Amy then infiltrates Dorothy's palace in disguise and THIS is where it gets good. I loved it from there on. It was interesting, creepy, and even thrilling at times. I really loved some of the themes where Amy questioned who she could trust and the meaning of good and wicked. That stuff really made the book for me.
I also really liked Dorothy's 3 freakish sidekicks. The Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow were all scary and crazy in their own ways. The Scarecrow was obsessed with doing Frankenstein-type experiments that scared me to even think about. And when he was described with his felt tongue.... ewww, my skin crawled. The Tin Man was more like a scary Swiss-Army knife. And the Lion was like a steroid-head who liked to eat people. It was really rather terrifying- and I loved it!
The ending was definitely abrupt. All I'll tell you is that very little is resolved. And because of the last 1/3rd of the book, I definitely want to continue the series.
OVERALL: It started out slow, but ended on a high note. Dorothy Must Die is a super interesting look at a dystopian Oz, where Dorothy is evil and another girl from Kansas is commissioned to bring her down. This is certainly not the best retelling I've ever read... but I would say it's worth a try.