Author: Danielle Paige
Length: 132 pages
In this digital original novella, Dorothy travels back to Oz to reunite with old friends, but her story may not have a happy ending. No Place Like Oz is a prequel to the forthcoming novel Dorothy Must Die.
After returning to Kansas, Dorothy Gale has realized that the dreary fields of Kansas don’t compare to the vibrant landscapes of Oz. And although she’s happy to be reunited with Aunt Em, she misses her friends from the yellow brick road. But most of all, Dorothy misses the fame and the adventure. In Kansas she’s just another prairie girl, but in Oz she was a hero. So Dorothy is willing to do anything to get back, because there really is no place like Oz. But returning to the land she left comes at a price, and after Dorothy is through with it, Oz will never be the same.
Perfect for fans of Alex Flinn, Marissa Meyer, and Gregory Maguire, No Place Like Oz is a dark reimagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Building off of its rich mythology, Danielle Paige creates an edgy, thrilling story for teens that chronicles the rise and fall of one of the literature’s most beloved characters. This digital original novella is a prequel that sets the stage for the forthcoming novel Dorothy Must Die.
Protagonist?: The sweet innocent girl from Kansas who defeated evil witches and found her way back home is now regretting her choices. Ever since she returned from Oz, Dorothy has only wanted to leave her dull dreary life and return to the magical land of Oz. Now sixteen, Dorothy finally has her chance and as an added bonus she takes her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry with her, proving to them that her story was more real than they believed. Now I was wondering, why would anyone want to kill Dorothy, but by the end of this story it became very clear why Dorothy Must Die. At the beginning of the story Dorothy seems innocent enough, maybe a little selfish and spoiled, but it's still easy to sympathize with her, but as she returns to Oz to find things flourishing, yet different than she remembers, her sweet innocence becomes twisted as she feels a god complex coming on and becomes probably the most irritating narrator I've ever read. If I had no knowledge of what's to come in this world I might think that having an annoying and selfish narrator was a bad thing but in this story, it just shows how even the most unlikely people can become corrupt.
World-Building: Oz, one simple word and yet it brings up so many images, most notably a road made from yellow bricks. Now before we get too much into the fantastical and magical Oz, let's talk about boring and dreary Kansas. Danielle Paige paints a very monochromatic picture of life in the prairie from gray skies to dull days its detail is in its lack of excitement. In a direct contrast, Oz is described in so many colors, the blue-green grass, the golden yellow road, and the brilliant blue sky. The imagery of this world really sets it apart and enhances the story in many ways. As for what pertains to the original source material, well there isn't much past what many people know, which is only the story of Dorothy's first adventure in Oz, and in fact, this story takes place two years and no adventures after Dorothy left via the silver slippers. That isn't to say that there aren't references to the other works in L. Frank Baum's magnificent series, in fact. one of my favorite characters in this story is Ozma, the true princess of Oz.
Predictability: I'm still not sure if knowing that Dorothy is going turn rotten spoiled me or if it lent a higher perspective of what was going on. There were many things that I was able to figure out from knowing that the "good guys" might not be the ones to really trust and the "bad guys" might actually have Dorothy's best interests at heart. It's that switch-a-roo that made some things easier to guess than others. However, there are many moments that completely threw me off, including one catastrophic event that firmly cemented Dorothy's morality shift. Going into this, just know that things may still surprise you.
Ending: As cliche as it is to say the end of this story is merely the beginning of a much bigger story yet to be told, or shall I say released to the public. While it's cheesy and cliche to say, it's still very much true, the end not only parallels the beginning of this story but sheds light on what to expect when the first full-length installment is released. It's not quite a cliffhanger, but more of a send off that leaves the reader wanting to know more yet feeling like they got a great taste of what's to come.
This novella is fantastic! It's long enough to feel like a fully fleshed out story, while small enough to only give a good taste of the author's spectacular writing style as well as her impeccable world-building. For any fan of Oz retellings and anyone wanting to know more about the world of Dorothy Must Die I highly recommend giving this story a go as soon as possible!