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. But I never expected Oz to look like this. A place where Good Witches can’t be trusted and Wicked Witches just might be the good guys. A place where even the yellow brick road is crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I’ve been given a mission:
THE TIN WOODMAN’S HEART
THE SCARECROW’S BRAIN.
THE LION’S COURAGE
DOROTHY MUST DIE.”
Naturally, this sounds pretty awesome 🙂
The Protagonist: AMY GUMM
The protagonist of this book is pretty ordinary, which I love.
She’s got pink hair.
She’s a bad ass in the best ways.
She’s smart. (Ordinarily, teens are smart, and it irritates me when people confuse smart and hormonally confused…scoff.)
She’s flat chested. (Why does this matter? Because this body image thing with YA protagonists bothers the crap out of me. Why must they all be beautiful and perfect and not so surprisingly drop dead gorgeous? Big butts, curvy hips; flat butts, no hips, or big busts, or little to…no busts ARE NORMAL. And both can be beautiful.)
She’s feisty, broken in more ways I can count, severely flawed, and wonderfully complex.
Her life has been, at large, spent with her addict of a mother in a tin can of a mobile home. The popular girls at school bully her. They’ve even labeled her Salvation Amy, because the majority of her clothes come from—you guessed it—Salvation Army. She’s just like most people I knew growing up in that way. I immediately connected with her character, being a product of a low-income family, growing up in a rough neighborhood, and more or less being an outcast in so many ways that there wasn’t even a social category for me to place myself on.
These popular girls at Amy’s school aren’t like those one-dimensional bullies you’ll usually read about in YA plots. They aren’t just perfect with their daddy’s money, their looks, and their immaculate manicures. Amy’s arch nemesis of the popular crew, Madison, is actually pregnant. Of course, because Madison has a hot boyfriend, she puts on a front that she’s won big for her bun in the oven. With all her talk, her money, her killer looks (minus the beach ball baby belly) and her hot boyfriend, she’s not hindered from getting into a fistfight with Amy.
I don’t know why I loved the pregnant teenager getting into a fight. I have no idea why I would relish in that thought. But then I remembered when I was back in high school, which was so long ago I actually cringe, I witnessed two girls going head to head in the middle of the school hallway. They were both pregnant. Same baby daddy… You can imagine what that fight was about. And I remember coming to the conclusion that we are all savage beasts deep inside.
So same day as getting into a fist fight with a pregnant girl, getting suspended for getting into a fight with a pregnant girl, and getting blown off by her addict mother during a tornado warning, and left with the pet rat, Star, that her mother cares for more than Amy, Amy’s tin-can mobile home get’s sucked up into a Kansas tornado, and dropped into the world of Oz.
I thought the plot was really original and different. Amy was brought to Oz by a powerful being who, we can assume, intends to have Amy slay the great Dorothy, who has become a power hungry witch, sucking the land of Oz dry of all it’s magical potency. Dorothy left Oz once and came back because the world of Kansas just wasn’t big enough anymore. Instead now, she’s destroying the land that made her a hero. She’s as wicked as they come and pretty much putting the actual Wicked out of commission.
Amy does a little run around in Oz before she’s recruited. In fact, she doesn’t get recruited into the Revolutionary Order until a little more than quarter of the way through. I was wondering when it was going to happen, if it was going to happen, how it was going to happen.
But there was still enough comings and goings within the plot to keep it interesting.
Eventually, Amy does get recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, where she becomes a witch, and is bound to the Order from there on out. What being bound to the Order means, we don’t know. We don’t get the ramifications of going against the order. We aren’t told what happens to the people who are bound by the oath. All we know is that they are bound. This sort of bugged me, because if the explanation would have been there the direness of Amy following their lead would have more impact, an impact I didn’t feel while she worked for witches she didn’t necessary trust. I just didn’t feel it. I knew how important the Order’s plans were. I understood why moving against Dorothy and Glinda was imperative. I also knew that the Wicked may not be the ones to trust with the future of Oz, but I didn’t understand why Amy went along with just one word: bound.
So Amy goes undercover to get close to Dorothy, close enough to assassinate her when her guard is down.
See, this is where I got a little impatient with the book. The synopsis talks about stealing the scarecrows brain, taking the lion’s courage, and removing the tin woodman’s heart. But that doesn’t even come up until an attempt of Dorothy’s life has already been taken, towards the end of the book. It was still good, but what happened to the synopsis? What happened to the things I was prepared for to happen, not happening? It doesn’t really impact the story, but maybe the synopsis should have been more catered to the progression of the book? I’m not sure.
I loved the characters. Ugh! They were the best parts of the story.
The Rebel Munchkin with tats, Indigo, and her filthy mouth or the flying monkey, Ollie, who cut off his own wings, they were phenomenal additions to the story.
Then we have Mombi, a wicked witch who seems to have such little humanity left in her heart that she’s almost alien. She’s a wart filled, rotten-toothed old hag that’s got more spunk and character than most of the others.
Nox, the wizard within the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, is a well-trained, molded soldier. He see’s only the revolution, the death of Dorothy, and not much of anything else. Of course, he’s hot and Amy had a hard time not falling for him and it’s pretty clear that he’s starting the crack that perfect soldier-boy persona as he starts to show affection towards Amy as well. But I’m not sold on their romance, or the promise of it in the future. Nox comes off as a robot, perfectly conditioned to sit, stay, speak and play dead at the command of the Order. I don’t necessarily like him, but I don’t hate him either.
Star, Amy’s mother’s pet rat that follows Amy into Oz, is my favorite. I can’t explain it. I don’t know how. She’s just a constant through out the story and her reactions to certain people or situations lead me to believe that her instincts as a rat surpass all the other characters. Her character’s outcome makes me cringe. I don’t want to spoil anyone, but the thought makes me cringe.
I would definitely recommend this book. I do plan, at some point, to get the second book, The Wicked Will Rise. I’m not sure how soon, but the intent is definitely there so I can actually witness stealing the scarecrows brain and taking the lion’s courage. I was on the verge of just gushing about this book in my review when I was halfway through, but the last half left me feeling a little under the weather in gush-land. I felt like it really was cranking up for a more explosive ending, a bigger fight or battle scene. I felt a little let down, I guess.
BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT WAS BAD! I read this book in ONE DAY, which is surprising for me. And if you take into consideration that my brain was completely warped and melted by an English final, you’ll understand pretty easily that getting sucked into a story could be kind of hard with all that pressure. Clearly, this book is GOOD, really GOOD!
Don’t think about it. If you haven’t read it, do it! It was fun. Give it a whirl!
4 out of 5 spectacular stars!
Content Warning: There can be, at times, excessive foul language: f-bombs, taking the lord’s name in vain, and then your minor curse words. Be advised, however, that my minor curse words may vary from your definition.
What did everyone think of this book? Those of you who read it… Did you like it, hate it? Are you going to buy the next installment? Did you? Did you like that one? Let me know! 🙂