Friday, August 15, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

Dorothy Must Die by 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 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.

First of all, I must confess that I have an abiding affection for the Oz books which started in late grade school when I discovered the set at my local library. The books are full of wonder and friendship, mixed with just the right amount of peril and the absurd.

When I saw an Oz-inspired YA book, I had to get it (thanks again, public library!). This book delivers exactly what it claims to: a dark, twisted reimagining of the Oz story, in which some of the beloved characters have been twisted into evil monstrosities and the carefree magic of the realm has been drained, leaving the country a shadow of what it was. Throughout the story, there are even cameos (and minor roles) for many of the characters who were written into the original series. It's abundantly clear that the author has read - and loved - the original series as much as anyone can.

The main character is about as typical YA fantasy heroine as you can get: teenaged girl with family and self-image issues learns that she is stronger than she knows. And hey, she has pink hair - at least for part of the book. Neat.

Here's my main gripe about this book: the entire narrative is designed to set up the series, but nothing is resolved within this book. Okay, maybe the protagonist learns "to believe in herself." Woo-hoo.

I guess this can be boiled down to a marketing decision. On the back cover of the book is what look to be the plot of this story: "Your mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And then - Dorothy must die."

Punchy, right? This book is going to be all rock 'em, sock 'em, let's-save-Oz.

But no.


That bit of promise on the back cover is what is discovered in the FINAL FOUR PAGES. The entire book leads up to a conclusion - post large as life on the BACK COVER - so close to the end of the book that it's practically on the end papers.


Overall, the book was fun. I love an excuse to return to Oz and experience the magic again, even if it's in a grimdark setting. I'm a little disappointed in the non-resolution of the plot and the Setting Up a Series Syndrome, but all in all this is a book well worth the read.

Will I continue reading the series?
Yeah, maybe. Depends how long between books and whether or not I'd just rather read the original series.

3.5 Stars!

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