Monday, September 22, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 bought this book a while back, on my NYC BEA trip. The children’s bookstore my friend and I located had signed copies. I love the Wizard of Oz (I’ve seen the movie a million times). I love Wicked (I’ve seen it twice). I read the books when I was a kid. I even did a report on the books for an assignment in Library school. And I like to think of my love for this story as rather open-minded (aka: please do more modern interpretations and musicals and anything else).
The premise of this one was so good that I didn’t even read any reviews. I just bought it. It wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be. I did get completely sucked into the world, the setting, and the darkness that is this book though. And I loved how Paige could take such a classic, happy place and turn it completely upside down with PermaSmiles (permanent smiles that are applied like makeup), flying monkey torture experiments, forced labor munchkins, evil tin soldiers, and so much pain. Seriously, the scope of the darkness to the Oz Paige writes about is beyond awesome. It’s kind of what kept me reading.
I was not the biggest fan of the characters. Amy had a little too much self-hate. And I get that she did not have an easy life in Kansas with an addict mom, an absent father, and trailer home that prevented people from wanting to befriend her. However, I found it hard to be empathetic toward her. She never really stood up for herself. She kind of let people push her around. And whenever she complained about things it kind of seemed like borderline whining to me. I wanted her to be a little tougher, angrier, and stronger than she was.
She becomes stronger as she trains in magic and fighting skills, but even then she never quite toughens up enough for me. I do like that she thinks things through. She considers all sides of the Good vs Wicked war. She cares about minor characters that her “friends” tell her not to care about. But other than her rather big heart and tactical logic, she didn’t have much going for her. I wanted to like her more. She had no passions or hobbies in Kansas. She didn’t ever really seem to care about anything. And I just couldn’t relate to that all.
I also never really got to know the side characters well enough. The idea of them is awesome. I just never really felt like I knew them, so when one of them dies, I was more like, “Which one was that one?” then sad.
I did love the mystery. I still need to know so many things. Why did things get so bad? What is with the ruby shoes? How involved is the wizard? Will the monkeys work with the Order? Etc. And I feel like I will most definitely continue to read the series as it comes out because of these things I need to know. And I can’t wait to see more of this creepy version of Oz. The book had awesome world-building. I just wish there was better character development, and that I liked the main character a little bit more. I give it a 7/10.

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