Friday, April 11, 2014

Nikki Reviews DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

(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!


Danielle lives in NY. Before turning to YA, she worked in television & was nominated for several Daytime Emmy's. Dorothy Must Die is her first novel.


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I have always thought The Wizard of Oz was creepy. I think anyone can see the inherent darkness just at the edge of the storyline, when we let our imagination fly just a bit. Danielle Paige has taken the beloved story and run with it. Running with blood dripping scissors, while laughing maniacally. Dorothy Must Die is what would happen if Kill Bill had a sordid one night stand with Harry Potter. If that sounds negative, I’m sorry to give you the wrong impression because I fucking loved this book. 

Amy is the second Kansas girl to get plunked down into Oz after a freaky Tornado. She is a pink haired, independent teen who formerly lived in a trailer park. She has had a rough home life, to say the least. Once Amy comes to terms with the fact that Oz is real, she can’t believe it’s so messed up. It’s not at all like the film. Munchkins don’t greet her and sing, flowers don’t bloom, no one is happy and more importantly no one is safe in this Oz. It’s a bleached out wasteland devoid of its former magical glory.

Dorothy has gone home to Kansas, realized there is actually no place like Oz and returned. Unfortunately, she is no longer a sweet, doe-eyed farmer’s girl. She’s become a raging, power-hungry sociopath and more magical power than she can shake her little dog at. Dorothy takes over Oz, stealing its magic, enslaving its inhabitants and just generally being a raving, petulant bitch. Her loyal posse has changed too. The Tin Woodman, The Lion, The Scarecrow, Toto and even Glinda are all warped versions of themselves. They have each overcompensated and abused their Wizard given gifts in their own ways. I found the dastardly changes to be just freaking delicious! I love a dark storyline and it just feels so organic in DMD.

Eventually Amy is taken to the Emerald City (by force) where she meets the ruby-slippered Dictator in person. Dorothy can’t just have bitches from Kansas popping in whenever they feel like it, so Amy is imprisoned and doomed to certain death. In the interest of not revealing spoilers, I’ll just say Amy is rescued. But there is a catch, Amy must join the resistance against Dorothy, which consists of witches and wizards formerly considered ‘wicked’. Amy endures a grueling training schedule for the express purpose of killing Dorothy. Oh and the boy the trains her is a dark and mysterious cutie, naturally.

Dorothy Must Die is a stunning dystopian re-imagining, set years after the events of the movie and Baum’s book. DMD is a revenge and revolution tale at its heart. But it’s also a Young Adult coming-of-age story. Amy is forced to ponder many tough questions and principles. Who is she and what she wants out of life, more importantly does she want THIS life. She ponders what makes someone good and if being ‘wicked’ matters in the face of such evil. She doubts she can believe in herself enough to pull off the impossible task of killing the most powerful person in Oz, let alone learn a simple magic trick or two. It’s just another element in this book that works and only adds more intensity and interest. 

Other than the fact that this book ended, I can’t find anything to complain about. This dystopian Oz is so vivid; it’s intricate, it’s beautiful and really like nothing else I’ve read. Danielle Paige has smartly utilized the reader’s familiarity with the movie Oz and built perfectly on it, improving it vastly and making it terribly addicting and interesting. I pretty rarely read a book that has this kind of depth, is this believable and this intricately conveyed. Not to mention, while DMD has roots in existing literature, it feels entirely fresh and new. 

I won’t mince words here, Dorothy Must Die kicks ass. This book is fearless, just like Trailer Park Amy. It looks like this series is planned as a trilogy and I cannot wait until the next book comes out. Dorothy Must Die will be one of the stand-out YA books of the year. This is an outstanding debut from Danielle Paige. Viva la Wicked!

5 Stars!

Favorite Quotes:
Tornado or no tornado, I wasn’t Dorothy, and a stupid little storm wasn’t going to change anything for me.

Sometimes only pain can heal.

Wicked witches aren’t supposed to work together. But that was before Dorothy

We call ourselves wicked to show that we stand against Dorothy and everything she represents

Wickedness is part of Oz. It’s part of the order of things. It’s always been the Good versus the Wicked. Magic can’t exist without Goodness. Goodness can’t exist without Wickedness. And Oz can’t exist without magic.

“Dorothy must die. I get it. But in the meantime, what are you living for?”
He didn’t answer.

You don’t know who or what you are yet. Oz is different. You can be different here. You can be stronger. We’ll teach you how to do all of it. To fight. To use magic.

Nikki created some nail art inspired by DMD.

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