"Oz has changed...The trees don't talk. The Pond of Truth tells lies,
the Wandering Water stays put. The Land of Naught is on fire. People are starting to get old.
People are forgetting how it used to be."
While this book has been on my Good Reads 'to read' list for a while now, and it's been in the back of mind that I need to borrow it from the library to read it, I sort of bought it in a flurry of 'hey there's the book that sounds awesome and I want to read' while I was in a shop the other week. It wasn't on sale, but I bought it anyway. But, my fellow book-lovers, I'm so glad I did!
Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, is the story of 'the other girl from Kansas'. Amy Gumm is an ordinary sort of girl, attends the local high school, lives with her crazy mother in a trailer park, and has heard the story, like everyone else, about the land of Oz and Dorothy from Kansas. She thought it was just that, a story. But when there's a tornado ripping through the county, Amy finds herself alone in the trailer with only her mother's pet rat, Star, for company. The next things she knows is she's been ripped from the ground by the wind, and when she lands she doesn't know where she is.
After a bit of confusing conversation with a boy who finds her, Amy realises she's in Oz...a land she (and the rest of the world) thought was just a fairy tale. Now Amy learns that what happens in the book, in the movies, is actually only half the story. Yes, Dorothy went to Oz, yes she met the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow and the Lion, yes she has pretty shoes and eventually returned home to Kansas. But that's not where the real story ends. Dorothy returned, and with her return was the fall of Oz. The Oz Amy lands in is not like it used to be.
"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."
The story follows Amy as she learns about truth about Dorothy's return, as she is recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, as she learns to fight, and as she sets out on her mission to kill Dorothy.
It was truly an awesome book. I loved every part of it, and when it finished I just wanted the next one straight away (alas, I have to wait until March next year). I think I could talk about this book forever, but I'll try and keep it brief...The characters were really good. I liked Amy as a main character, and the others all had their quirks and personalities that were very distinct and likeable (or dislikeable, in a lot of times). While it sort of finished a little abruptly, the plot was full of action, of the crazy unimaginable things about Oz we all love from the original story, of tense moments, and of the odd funny one thrown in here and there. The love interest wasn't really a love interest, just a sort of crush-like state, which was actually really nice, as the story has more about Amy and her mission than about her falling for some magical boy.
While it keeps a lot of the odd sort of fantasy-like land that Oz is in the original story, Dorothy Must Die has, as you can probably imagine, horror-genre moments, and at times I found myself grimacing at what was going on. But, having said that, that's probably just because I don't normally read books that have a lot of blood in them. What I did find a little misleading was what the description says on the back. It reads: "Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And then - Dorothy must die." That's really what drew me in...but (and this doesn't really spoil anything, I promise), Amy only finds out that she needs to destroy the three sidekicks right near the end of the book, so she doesn't actually end up doing so. I assume that will be the next book. Just don't go reading it expecting Amy to be slicing up the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow and Lion before she gets to Dorothy. Doesn't happen.
Wow, this is getting long. Okay. I'll stop. But I really did love this book, and while it did take me 12 days to read, I know that if I had the time I would have read it faster. If you love the story of the Wizard of Oz and want to dive into a slightly twisted, odd, creepier tale taking place in the same magical land, read this book. I will definitely be reading this one again sometime.
This review was written by regular reviewer Anjali, get to know her here.
Image from Good Reads.