Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)

Release Date: April 1, 2014
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 432 pages

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:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!



Protagonist: Amy Gumm is the other girl from Kansas. However, she in many way is very similar to Dorothy, one example being that they both started their journeys in Oz the same way. They both, through the intervention of a tornado, found their way to Kansas and walked the Road of Yellow Brick, picking up friends along the way, to find her way home. That however, is where the similarities end. After reading No Place Like Oz, the prequel novella to this tale, it's easy to see that there is a deep contrast between both Dorothy and Amy. Dorothy let her fame, and magic, go to her head twisting her into a terrible tyrant, Amy is kept humble by her troubled upbringing, but through the novel grows into a strong and independent heroine, all the while keeping her sanity and where she came from close to her heart

Romance: While I wasn't necessarily expecting romance in this book, I was surprised that when there was there was so little of it. Of course I liked that, the fact that it was kept more as a sub-plot instead of a driving force, because this book is really all about a dystopian Oz and the hopeful assassination of it's evil tyrant. I have to say though that the romance in this book, by the end, ended up way different that what I kept thinking it would turn out to be. I'm excited to see where this author takes this small and budding romance in the future books.

World-Building: Guys, I have a feeling we're not in Oz anymore. At least, not an Oz any of us would recognize. This Oz has a flair for the dystopian. In one part of the world, things are crumbling, even the Road of Yellow Brick is dying, but toward the center, where Dorothy rules with an iron and greedy fist, things couldn't look more perfect. The details the author puts into her descriptions of Oz, and the intense contrast between the Oz we see here and the Oz of the prequel novella is insane. As for the actual source material that this author based this series on... while I'm not an Ozian scholar by any means, I do know a thing or two about L.Frank Baum's Oz and from what I can tell, this author did an amazing job to incorporate aspects from the original books in with the new things she introduced.

Pacing: I have to say this is the only place I was disappointed. There were points in this book that had a fast pacing and really intense and climactic moments. However in between these scenes there seemed to be a whole lot of nothing going on. I'm not saying that things weren't happening or that the author would prattle on about certain things, it's just that I felt that better more fast paced things could be happening in these scenes, they're just not.

Predictability: "How did I not see that before!?" These are the words I asked myself after going over the details of one of the biggest twists of the book. I mean, there's foreshadowing, there's evidence in the L.Frank Baum books, and still when this twist was revealed at the end I was in utter shock, and that was just one of the twists. This book has quite a few twists that caught me off guard and only a select few that I could actually predict. I loved that I was able to be surprised by a great many things and especially that big on at the end.

Ending: Wow, that ending. There is so much suspense built up into the final climactic scene which literally ends one page before the actual ending, and even the end only plateaus the smallest amount giving off the smallest bit of cliffhanger. Seriously, there are so many questions floating around in my head that I can barely concentrate enough to put this review into coherent words, I'm sorry if they're not so coherent. The ending was phenomenal and really amps up the action until the bitter end.


So, I'm giving this four crests, it was great and I was at one point teetering on 4.5 but four seems right. The pacing was a bit off and there were moments where I just couldn't care less. However, despite all of that, and even though this book was probably the book I was most looking forward to so far in 2014, this book didn't disappoint. The rich world-building and character, not to mention that huge twist I was talking about, makes this book unforgettable and brilliant.

P.S. I'm gonna take a guess/make a suggestion about the title of the next book in this series. "Glinda Must Go"... Just saying...


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