I picked up Dorothy Must Die a couple months ago while wandering through Barnes & Noble. I was intrigued by the title, and the description piqued my interest. So much so, that I put another book down in favor of buying this one! I was attempting to limit myself that evening, and had already surpassed my attempt at buying “just one book” (because who can actually do that anyway?!) and was trying not to push my luck. 😉 I will admit, though, that I was skeptical about Dorothy Must Die. I was one of the few who wasn’t enthralled by Wicked back in the day (I think I’d like it now, but I digress), so another Oz spinoff made me both curious and uncertain. But, I took a risk on this book, and I am so glad I did.
Amy Gumm is an ordinary outcast from the dusty state of Kansas. After her dad left and her mom became dependent on drugs and alcohol, Amy basically raised herself. But one day, a tornado whisks her, her trailer, and her mom’s rat away to the Land of Oz. At first, she can’t believe that the land of the infamous movie and books of her childhood is real. But she realizes very quickly that Oz is nothing like the books or movie. In fact, the Oz portrayed in the movie is long gone and Dorothy is to blame. She very quickly learns that Good and Wicked have been turned upside down, and while there are many conflicting groups in the Land of Oz, one thing is certain: Dorothy must die.
Danielle Paige, the author of Dorothy Must Die, is clearly a fellow Oz lover. In my early teens (I think – I read a lot of books growing up, so it’s hard to pinpoint when exactly I read every beloved series) I whipped through all of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. My small town library surprisingly had every book in the series and I ate them up. I sincerely believe that L. Frank Baum himself would love Dorothy Must Die. It acts as a sequel to the Oz series, and the details and characters in the book fit very neatly in this continuation of the Oz canon.
Although Dorothy Must Die fits beautifully into the Oz world, it is not your typical Oz book. I remember many of the books I read growing up being idyllic and light. This is not to say that Baum did not delve into more difficult adventures, but the outcome was fairly similar throughout the series: in the end, Dorothy (and later Ozma alongside her) triumphed and all was right in the world. In this book, nothing is right in the world from beginning to end. Dorothy’s ability to use magic has corrupted her, Ozma has all but disappeared, and things seem hopeless. The book does end on a hopeful note, but not in the way you would expect. All in all, however, for anyone looking to relive their childhood with an added twist will most certainly have their expectations met and exceeded.
One thing is for sure, I will be talking about this book for a long time (and getting the following books in the series as soon as I can).
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige gets 5/5 stars.