Review: Dorothy Must Die

by Danielle Paige

Pages: 464 (Hardback)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
ISBN: 0062280678


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's tyranny has lasted long enough! It is time for us to rise up! It is time for us to reclaim the magic that is rightfully ours! My Fellow Ozians - in times like these, the Wicked will rise!"

Nothing like a rallying speech to start off a review! So, Ozians you ready for a fight? I know I am, although that be because I've already read Dorothy Must Die and that bitch really does need to hop off back to Kansas already. Danielle Paige's take on this classic tale is by far my favourite and after seeing Wicked in the West End my prospective of the original story of Dorothy Gale and the Witches of Oz had already been questioned but Dorothy Must Die takes it to a whole other level. A level that, for the record, I am very happy to stay on! It was time for something a little different from our favourite tornado magnet and this sure as Oz delivers.

Welcome to OZ! Although it doesn't look like this anymore...

Oz, the happy land of Munchkins, trees with attitude and a rather glitzy brick road. Well not anymore! These days you're more likely to find a flying monkey with amputated wings strung up at the side of the road than a scarecrow in a field. The Yellow Brick road is battered and bruised. Oh and did I mention the fact that the Wicked are now good and Glinda the Good is slave trading Munchkins to dig up Oz’s magic for their glorious princess Dorothy? Yeah, Oz isn't what it used to be and everything you think you know is now just a twisted version of it's former self. That is until a second tornado blows into town with a second girl from The Other Place. This time though there's no welcome party as Amy steps out into Oz and it isn't long before she realises why she's here. Amy's in Oz to kill Dorothy Gale. 

It's not all different though! I mean, it is, but there was one thing that stayed the same. For a little while I didn't think it was going to happen but Danielle doesn't disappoint! It may have taken 440pages but we finally get THE line: "We're off to see the Wizard." Not going to lie, it made my day when I saw it!!

As a character I kind of loved Amy. She's snarky, stubborn and unafraid to ask questions. Sometimes with characters like Amy the story moves too fast for them to really feel everything and the author can skip over who the character is. But this whole book has the underlying theme of Amy trying to figure out who she is. Her faults make her real and her pink hair just makes her awesome. This is a character that I was happy to read about. 

There was a line towards the end of the book that said "If I killed her, did that bring me one step closer to becoming her?" Which I found really interesting as it was, to me at least, what the whole book is about. The thin, almost undetectable line between good and wicked and how one thing, be it an event or a person can change our whole outlook on what we've always known.

"Words like Good and Wicked had lost their meaning. What mattered was right and wrong."

This story also deals a lot with abandonment. Amy Gumm hasn't had the best start in life, her father left her and in the end so did her mother. She has to deal with the idea that - to quote One Tree Hill - people always leave. Amy has to discover if it's possible to find a way to make them stay? Or to see if she can find the strength within herself to let them go. To rely on herself to know what's right... even if it would be easier to lean on other people, like Nox. Oh, Nox! Not going to lie I'm a little in love with Amy's complicated other half. Okay, well I guess he's not technically her 'other-half' but in my head it's going to happen so why fight it? 

There was a bit on page 278 where I think I read the best description of Dorothy and that was, "magic-hoarding fascist". I feel that Dorothy was the only thing I could fault with this book and even then I think it's just personal preference. Because I did love the twist on Dorothy's character and all of the reasoning’s behind her change in demeanour were completely plausible. What I couldn't quite come to terms with was that Dorothy was just Dorothy. I felt like I needed something more with her. I needed her to be more than the mean girl with magic powers. I guess I just wanted her to feel remorse, I wanted her to have some good in her. Although even with her Hitler like tendencies you can't help but praise her on her rather epic costume choices. Wow! I never thought I would be comparing Hitler and Dorothy Gale!!

I needed a little more of THIS Dorothy I think! 

This is how I imagine Mombie... just a little less green and SO much cooler ;)

One of the things I LOVED about this book was that I felt Danielle left a lot of the decisions up to the readers. I mean no, we couldn't pick how we wanted it to end but what we could do was decide what was right and what was wrong. There was a lot left open for reader interpretation and I'm sure there were readers who though the Order are Wicked in a bad way and some that think they're Wicked in a good and righteous way. Choice is a big part of Dorothy Must Die and the fact it felt like we, as readers, got to make them too was really interesting for me.

P.S. I'm still on the fence on if the Order is Wicked good or Wicked bad. I need another book to help me decide... hint hint!

" "It's your choice," he said. "It's not magic that makes you who you are. It's the choices that you make. Look at Dorothy." 
"What about Dorothy." 
"That's exactly what makes Dorothy Evil." "

Overall this is an exciting and original story of Oz. It's so much more than a simple retelling, it's a story all in it's own and Danielle made the characters hers. I will never be able to look at the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman or the Lion ever again. They're the stuff of nightmares.

Reading Dorothy Must Die was like stepping onto a film set, it's wonderfully descriptive and easy to picture all the inventive twists in Danielle's Oz. I'm practically jumping up and down waiting for book two in the series as the ending left quite a few questions unanswered. I recommend this to anyone who loved Oz growing up, but also everyone else who just loves a good, well written adventure. 

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