Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Author: Danielle Paige
Published: April 1, 2014 by HarperCollins
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: 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 is another one of those books that when you first hear about it you think, I need that in my life! I'm generally a big fan of Oz retellings especially if they are dark retellings (you may know I'm a huge fan of The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire). When I first heard about Dorothy Must Die I knew I had to read it. And despite a slow and predictable start, this was a fantastic start to a series I am now hooked on.

If you begin reading Dorothy Must Die and you're thinking how it's boring and nothing more than a regurgitation of the well-known classic then keep reading. Yes, there are the obvious tropes. First we have our heroine, a young girl from Kansas who dreams of adventure who gets taken by a tornado to the land of Oz where she has to travel via road of yellow brick to the Emerald City, meeting a few companions along the way. But then fifty pages in that worldview is shattered with a brutal death and a surprising standoff, from there things take a much more interesting turn.

What nobody tells you about this book is that it is definitely much more fantastical and mysterious than expected. One might even say (I'm saying this) more fantastical than the original. One thing the book definitely has going for it is the world-building and magical system. Both were incredible and interesting. The magical system, for one, was so interesting. The idea of the inherent magic in Oz and how it's like electricity, all you have to do is harness it. But the world was also really interesting. Obviously this is a much darker Oz. Things over the rainbow are no longer sunshine and, well, rainbows. Dorothy and her posse has ruined things in the country with their egos and gifts from the Wizard. As far as retellings go it was such a creative spin on a well known classic.

Another thing I really liked was the characters. Of course we had the characters from the original tales of Oz but they were also very different than those created by L. Frank Baum. I loved the fact that Danielle Paige seemed to consider the idea that someone who spent their time thinking that they don't have a brain, heart, or courage would react to suddenly getting it. Then we had our protagonist and MC, Amy. She was snarky and tough but with a heart of gold that made her easy to root for. There's a definite Hero's Journey happening here and I love it. Plus, all the secondary characters were complex and mysterious, many of them had me so curious throughout the entire novel that I couldn't decide if they were good or bad. There was so much debate over good and evil many of the characters made you wonder who's team they were on and if you could trust them.

My only criticism is the plotting is a little weird. There seem to be three very different storylines that aren't very well connected and it sort of shifted suddenly to something out of left field at times. A lot of this had to do with Amy trying to decide who to trust and what to do, which was a definite layer of the story, but as the reader it felt odd and annoying at times.

But despite the slow start and what seemed like an unoriginal plot thread, the book developed incredibly ending with a thrilling conclusion that left me wanting more. There was so much action throughout the story with enough bursts of excitement that I could predict things would get thrilling, which kept me reading. I am absolutely hooked and I can't wait to see where this series goes, this is a great start to what is sure to be a phenomenal series.

I give Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige a 9 out of 10

I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of The Wizard of Oz or Wicked but also to those who like fantastical retellings. It's a book for fans of Young Adult Fantasy but be warned, this is not your grandmother's Oz.

Have you read Dorothy Must Die? Leave me a comment with your thoughts and of course... HAPPY READING!


  1. I have read it, didn't enjoy it quite as much as you. I wish I had read the prequel first, as it would have made me understand DMD better, because the whole time I was reading it, I couldn't understand HOW Dorothy got that way. No Place like Oz, which I enjoyed a little more, explained it better. It was OK for me. I'll probably try the next one, but I'm not dying for it to come out. I'll try it and see how it goes from there for me.

  2. I am gonna be buying this one to read in the summer and I can't wait to do so. I am glad you liked it so much. I really like the idea of the original characters and then having a few additional ones.

    The only thing that puts me off is that a lot of people are saying that the synopsis is a bt misleading! I shall see! :)

    Thanks for sharing lovely & great review! :)

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries