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Ding, Dong, The Witch ... Isn’t So Bad, Afterall

In Danielle Paige’s new novel, Dorothy Must Die, Ms. Gale is looking awful green.

Ding, Dong, The Witch ... Isn’t So Bad, Afterall

BOOK REPORT for Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige

Cover Story: Fractured Classic
BFF Charm: Heck Yes!
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: L. F***k Baum
Bonus Factor: Oz
Anti-Bonus Factor: No. 1
Relationship Status: We’re Off!

Cover Story: Fractured Classic

Pretty much everyone who’s been alive in the past 75 years should immediately connect the blue and white gingham check dress/bow and the name Dorothy to The Wizard of Oz. (Even someone who was frozen for decades.) The title and title treatment make it pretty clear that this isn’t your grandmother’s Oz, however. I do wonder about the lack of ruby slippers, but perhaps that’s an homage to the original story?

The Deal:

Amy Gumm is from a small town in Kansas. She’s coasting through high school, trying to take care of both herself and her mess of a mother. One minute, she’s getting into a fight with the school’s queen bee, and the next … she’s stuck in her mobile home in the midst of a tornado. When the storm comes to an end, Amy finds herself in a strange land full of magic, witches and a familiar yellow brick road. But this Oz isn’t the one she learned about in the movie, and the Dorothy that reigns certainly isn’t the sweet young girl that set off to see the wizard.

For you more visual learners, here’s the book trailer:

 

 

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!

Amy has a crap life in Kansas. She’s an outsider in school, is made fun of for where she lives (a trailer) and has a mom who, after Amy’s dad left to start a new life, disappeared into mental illness exacerbated by drugs and alcohol. However, thanks to a freak tornado—which may or may not have been caused by magic—she finds herself in Oz, and is tasked with an almost insane mission. Instead of totally losing it, Amy holds her own and finds a strength that she never knew was possible. And when she has to make some super tough decisions, Amy has a pretty solid sense of right and wrong. After facing all Amy has to face, a lesser person would likely have just crumpled up on the side of the Yellow Brick Road and started rocking back and forth, mumbling to themselves.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Getting thrown into an unbelievable adventure often leaves little room for swoon. Such is the case for Amy. Although there are a few hints that there might be swoon in future books—yes, this is a series starter—Amy has too much on her plate in Dorothy Must Die to devote time to investigating it fully.

Talky Talk: L. F***k Baum

The Oz in Dorothy Must Die isn’t the Oz that L. Frank Baum wrote about in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, nor is it the technicolor marvel of the Judy Garland movie. Danielle Paige has created a new vision of Oz that has, basically, gone to hell. Familiar characters have become sinister, gruesome versions of themselves. Good has become wicked, and wicked is good. Even the munchkins have gotten a whole lot more real. Indigo, a goth munchkin with full sleeve tattoos, puts it to Amy like so:

The best thing you can do right now is get your ass back to wherever it is you came from and hope you never wind up in this sorry place again.

Bonus Factor: Oz

Although Paige’s Oz isn’t quite familiar any more, there are well-known places and faces that show up throughout the novel, both from the movie and from Baum’s novels. Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man all feature prominently, along with Glinda, the Wizard, Ozma and more. Amy walks into the Emerald City on the Yellow Brick Road. There are even Munchkins, flying monkeys and ruby slippers. Oh, my!

(Also—I think Amy’s last name might be a reference to Ms. Garland?)

Anti-Bonus Factor: No. 1

Don't get me wrong, I do love a good series. But I'm also impatient, and having to wait multiple years for a story to be resolved just makes me gnash my teeth.

Casting Call:

Sarah Snook as Amy

Relationship Status: We’re Off!

I wasn’t expecting to like you as much as I did, Book, but the way you turned Dorothy’s tale on its head was quite entertaining. Your stories were filled with action and well-rounded characters. And although you weren’t the most well-spoken of dates, I look forward to more adventures in Emerald City with you in the future.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from HarperCollins. I received neither a private dance performance from Tom Hiddleston nor money for this review. Dorothy Must Die is available now.

P.S.—If you’d like to know more, you can read the first 12 chapters of Dorothy Must Die here!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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