An Addicting, Dark and Gritty Retelling | Review of ‘Dorothy Must Die’ (Dorothy Must Die #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
HarperCollins
Image Credit: Goodreads

Oz has changed since Dorothy returned. Oz is darker, a nasty place where the Good Witches are evil and the Wicked are just trying to survive and return Oz to the beautiful place it once was. Power and fame went to Dorothy’s head, and with that, her hunger for magic grew, forcing her to take it from the World of Oz itself. But now her power is truly threatened by one Amy Gumm, the other girl from Kansas who landed in Oz in a tornado and who has been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked for one purpose: to kill Dorothy.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is her debut novel in and the first in the Dorothy Must Die series published by HarperCollins on April 1, 2014. The story takes an interesting retelling for the young adult audience that is dark, gritty, incredibly entertaining, and impossible to put down.

This was such an incredible book. Not only is the cover captivating in its simplicity, but the story, it takes a very interesting turn of events and it’s much more than a retelling. Paige was able to do something unique, she was able to expand upon the universe and create something new, making this her own work of art without making just another retelling in the throng of retellings. The story takes aspects of The Wizard of Oz and makes it fresh. At the same time, it’s nothing like the movie everyone knows and loves. Paige clearly captured the love of the film, but she expanded this novel to connect with the previous Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum that also aren’t as light as the movie. So Paige taps into Baum while also bringing to life her own wonderful creativity into the novel. It is such a success because of that. Paige’s voice is amazing, it is breathtaking, and captivating because it is unique.

As the story unfold readers get to see the new world of Oz and how twisted it has become due to Dorothy and her strive to retain all the power and fame she has accumulated as the supreme leader of Oz. That is one of the charms of the of Paige’s storytelling, her ability to bring back characters and give them a dark spin. These are definitely the sweet characters from the film, they are twisted and ruthless, their qualities — Scarecrow’s brain, Tin-Man’s Heart, and Lion’s courage — have morphed and corrupted them. To read that is amazing and helps to create such a rich story. The warped and twisted nature of the novel is addicting to read because it originates from a story everyone knows.

Not only that, but the characterization is amazing. Amy Gumm is not the typical heroine, she’s just a girl from Kansas who lived in a trailer park and now because she’s “just like Dorothy” she is the key to her destruction. Paige worked very hard to make the character not only believable but also relatable as the foil for Dorothy. Readers get to know her, inside and out and understand where she is coming from. She’s very much a modern girl who just wants to escape from everything she knows, from the rut she lives in. That is something everyone can relate to. Not only that, but the character isn’t just amazing right off the bat, she works hard, she gains her strength and her confidence by working hard for it. By seeing the world of Oz and the horrors, Amy realizes that while she doesn’t care for being a hero, she has to do her part and save Oz from the tyrannical Dorothy.

Dorothy Must Die is an incredible debut novel and such a strong opening for an addicting series. (★★★★★ |A)

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