Dorothy Must Die is a dark fantasy written by Danielle Paige, derived from the classic story, The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. This story focuses on Amy Gumm, a country Kansas girl who is swept away in a tornado and brought to the mythical Land of Oz.
That may sound familiar to the original story, except Oz is different; a lot different. Dorothy may have gone home at the end of the original series, but she has come back in a big way. In the time elapsed between the original story and now, Dorothy has gone from sweet farm girl, to tyrannical magic hoarding “princess”, ruling over all of Oz with an iron fist. Now Amy has been dropped into the middle of it all, and everyone outside of the kingdom expects her to save the day.
Nothing is as it seems anymore. What once was good is now wicked, and what once was wicked is now good. Amy joins a group called the Order, who is secretly organizing a rebellion against the kingdom. The rebellion has one main mission: to kill Dorothy Gale. Because Amy arrived from “the other place” like Dorothy, she is believed to be the only one capable of killing the powerful princess. Amy is not so sure of this, since she has never even successfully won a fight. But from observing the state of Oz, and seeing what violent and gruesome acts Dorothy and her henchmen (the tin woodsman, the lion, and the scarecrow) are capable of committing, she realizes that she has no other choice but to try.
This book starts out a bit slow and cliché, where the outcast teen is dropped into a different world and has greatness thrust upon her, followed by the mentor training, the coming of age, the awkward yet sweet romances, and the heartbreak. It is also a growing trend among YA novels to take an old classic and twist it around into something new. Some of the characters were flat and predictable, and only appeared to be written in order to take up space in the book.
However, my interest picked up once Amy’s training was over, and she began to work undercover, disguised as a handmaid in Oz’s kingdom in order to get closer to Dorothy. I felt the anxieties and fears Amy felt, and read in mesmerized horror at the way fear and manipulation were used to keep the servants in check. In fact, I flew through the final 200 pages in one day.
While the second half made up for the first half, one of my biggest disappointments with this book is how it ended. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I expected the big reveal, where all of our questions would be answered, and where Dorothy would face her miserable and deserving death. However, it didn’t end. It left an enormous cliffhanger for us to dangle from until the sequel’s release in 2015. The series plans to become a trilogy, along with two novellas.