Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Pages: 432
Source: ALA Midwinter

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: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. Then and only then—Dorothy must die!


This book changed Oz for me forever. The Oz in this story was so vivid and horrifying that the innocence of it is lost to me. But it was epic.

This book is long and descriptive but I was so fascinated by it that I didn't much mind. But rather than me tell you, I think it's better that I show you.

Above is the Oz that we all know and love. And below, as shown through quotes, is the new Oz. 

The Tin Woodman:
"This Tin Woodman was not the Tin Woodman I remembered. By now I shouldn't have expected anything different - nothing was the way it was supposed to be in Dorothy's remade Oz. Still, I wasn't prepared for what I was looking at now. He looked more like a machine that had been cobbled together out of spare parts, a hodgepodge of scrap metal and springs and machinery pieces all held together by screws and bolts. His long, spindly legs were a complex construction of rods and springs and joints, and bend backward at his ankles like a horse's legs; his face was pinched and mean, with beady, flashing metal eyes and a thin, cylindrical nose that jutted out several inches from his face and ended in a nasty little point. His oversize jaw jutted out from the rest of his face in a nasty underbite, revealing a mess of little blades where his teeth should have been.
The only thing that was really familiar about him was the funnel-shaped hat he wore. I guess some things never change."
The Scarecrow:
"At Ozma's side stood a tall thin man dressed in a baby-blue, one-size-too-small suit. Beneath a small hat, bits of straw and yarn stuck out in every direction. His was was a skein of tightly pulled burlap with two unnervingly lifelike buttons sewn on in place of eyes. His lips were thin lines of embroidery stitched in pinkish-brown yarn underneath a painted on red triangle for a nose. His buttons were fixed right at me.
A chill shot through my body. It was the Scarecrow. Like the Tin Woodman, he had been twisted and warped into something I hardly recognized." 
"She was both exactly and nothing like I could have imagined. This was not the same girl I'd read about. She was wearing the dress, but it wasn't the dress exactly - it was as if someone had cut her familiar blue-checked jumper into a million little pieces and then put it back together again, only better. Better, and, okay, a little bit more revealing. Actually, more than a little bit. Not like I was judging.
Instead of a farm girl cotton it was silk and chiffon. The cut was somewhere between haute couture and French hooker. The bodice nipped, tucked, and lifted. There was cleavage.
Lots of cleavage.
Dorothy's books were out to here, her legs up to there. Her face was smooth and unblemished and perfect: her mouth shelacked in plasticky crimson, her eyes impeccably lined in silver and gold. Her eyelashes were so long and full that they probably created a breeze when she blinked. It was hard to tell how old she was. She looked like she could have been my age or years older. She looked immortal.
She had her hair pulled into two deep chestnut waves that cascaded down her shoulders, each one tied with a red ribbon. Her piercing blue eyes were trained right on me."
The Lion:
"Really, he was barely recognizable as a lion at all. He looked like a monster, like some warped nightmare version of the king of the jungle. He was huge and golden, with bulging, grotesque muscles and a filthy, snarled mane. His lips were curled back, baring a mouth crowded with sharp, long, crooked fangs.
At first, it looked like the Lion and the man were kissing. But they weren't - their mouths were inches apart, not quire touching. The man looked like he was struggling, but then his mouth fell open, too, as his face contorted in pain and something that looked like red smoke came spewing violently out of him. I couldn't tell whether it was vomit, or blood, or something worse. Whatever it was, the Lion lapped it up hungrily.
'What's he doing?' I asked in horror, gripping Nox's arm.
'The Lion eats the fear of others,' Nox explained in a whisper. 'It's how he survives. How he gets stronger.'"
And there is so much more where that came from- about the witches, and the land, and the Wizard and Ozma. This book is a complete re-imagining of Oz that is twisted and evil and fantastic.

The world-building was my favorite part and I think the most noteworthy part of the story. It's really the focus of book one, as the plot is a little slow to develop and only just getting started in the end. But there is the promise of greatness. I think the story that is developing is so much fun. I loved the idea that Dorothy is evil. I loved how Good was Wicked and Wicked was Good. I loved the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and the plot to assassinate Dorothy. I enjoyed the magic. And the ancillary characters were strong. I felt kind of indifferent towards Amy herself, but I think she showed pretty good development so far, and she is likable. There is room for her to really grow on me as an MC.

I definitely recommend this. This is a standout book.

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