Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
On the Shelves: Young Adult Fiction> Re-tellings
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
I first discovered this via the booktuber radar way back in January or there abouts- and I’ve been really excited for it ever since. A twisted take on what happened after Oz, and Dictator Dorothy? Yes please!
Unfortunately, this book did fall a little bit short of what I had been hoping for- as tends to be the way with hyped books on booktube. I don’t seem to be the only one who felt this however, so at least that is a little reassuring to me- in that it isn’t just me being overly critical of the book.
The story follows Amy Gumm, a small town girl from Kansas, whose alcoholic mother ignores her in favour for drink, and whose boldest move in life so far, is probably dying her hair pink. (Because you know, dying your hair a bright colour is the new “independent feisty” character trait in young adult fiction.) This is one of those books where overall, the plot was solid enough for me to want to keep reading and find out what happened. But little things like the dyed hair and special snowflake syndrome, far too many out of place pop culture references, the insta-love, an obligatory makeover scene, and some questionable actions and motions by different characters are what made this book fall short for me. To be fair, I have actually abandoned books for a lot less- so that’s something. I found there was quite a surprising amount of slut shaming in this book, which began to grate on my nerves. I understand there is a weird culture in American high schools of “the uncool girl in trainers” and “the slutty cheerleader in high heels bimbo” stereotypes, but the amount of references throughout this book to the “bad” characters wearing short skirts, lots of make up and heels became so common, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
One thing that did surprise me was how much I enjoyed the darker aspects of this book. I found it quite gorey at times, and while that normally puts me off, it really suited the tone and style of this book, and added so much more “oomph” to the true menace of Dorothy’s reign of terror. I know a lot of YA dystopians often skirt around the issues of gore of violence, only really “hinting” at occurrences of it- not this one though. It was truly disturbing to see how the characters we all know and love from the Wizard of Oz grew to be so tainted and warped because of Dorothy and I found it really made it more believable.
However, another criticism which comes from this is that this book would not really be easily accessible to anyone who has not read the original work * OR * seen the movie, and while those people are few and far between, it is still a legitimate thing any author writing a re-telling should consider.. Also, the pacing of this story felt slow and sluggish numerous times throughout, with pages and pages being dedicated more to Amy’s thoughts and worries than the actual story itself- this wouldn’t be a problem if they were more balanced throughout the novel.
Overall…I did enjoy this book, for the most part. But I must admit, I am hesitant to carry on with the series.