Author: Danielle Paige
Published: Harper, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
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4 out of 5 stars
Amy Gumm of Dusty Acres, Kansas, longs for more. She wishes for a time where she will no longer have to deal with the bully Madison Pendleton; a time where she will no longer have to look after her troublesome mother; a time where she no longer lives in a trailer. She desires escape, but she didn’t bank on being whisked away by a tornado to a place that she thought was fictional: Oz. Once in Oz, she soon discovers that this Oz is nothing like the place she heard about in childhood stories. It’s much, much darker.
As soon as you read the first line: “I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday” your attention is automatically grabbed – well mine was anyway. It’s a powerful – but sad – first line. There’s quite a lot that’s sad actually; the relationship that Amy had with her mum when she was young was sweet and I found it kind of heart-wrenching that it went down hill as her mum went down hill. I love the line: “…a trailer was where I lived, not who I was.” The quote below made me pause and stuck with me and made me feel for Amy.
“I don’t think she believed it even then, but at least in those days she still cared enough to lie. And even though I never believed in a place like Oz, I did believe in her.”
In the beginning, I’ll admit, I didn’t quite fully become immersed in the world, not until probably around one hundred pages or so into the book and then it really picked up for me.
In the authors’ acknowledgements, there is a line that I think is perfect: “I hope it has what I love in a book–takes you to another place, makes you think, makes you feel, and gives you a touch of magic.” This is what I long for in a book and Paige, I feel, should be proud because she achieved just that. The Oz that she took us to, is not the Oz we all know; it was fascinating to see everything turned on its’ head. The world and certain characters are so much darker, and well, quite twisted. Good and Wicked are not as clear cut as you would imagine and this links with the “makes you think” part, because it really does make you think.
“‘It’s your choice,’ he said. ‘It’s not magic that makes you who you are. It’s the choices that you make.'”
The characters were an interesting lot and would you believe it, but I actually came to care about a RAT. Yes, a rodent. Star is her name and her and Amy become unexpected friends. There is a love interest, although it isn’t a main focus, which is realistic because, hello, you’re trying to save a world. And I have to say that I rolled my eyes a bit as soon as we were introduced to the love interest character, because I knew exactly where it was heading. It’s okay though, because I am kind of shipping them.
It seemed a little silly to me though that they didn’t give Amy more information as they sent her on her mission – I mean, help the girl out a bit more would you. The fact that Amy cared and took risks to help those who she didn’t really know all that well was admirable.
A story unlike the one you think you know, with a fascinating world and characters and a surprise I did not see coming, Dorothy Must Die is a bewitching read (get it? Bewitching. Because there are witches. Haha.)