Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

One of the best things about working at a bookstore is that you have access to Advanced Reader Copies sent by publishers. This book appeared at my store just a few days after I had read about it online, and I snatched it up the minute I saw it...this was after a squeal of joy of course! I am a big fan of Oz, which makes me embarrassed to admit that I have yet to read the original books. Wicked by Gregory Maguire is one of my all-time favorite books, so another book that take the backdrop of Oz and the events we are familiar with, and gives them a new twist, really appealed to me.

One thing I wish I would have known when I began reading is that this is not a stand-alone book. It is The first book in a series which is also planned to include 2 other books and 3 novellas (published as ebooks). The first novella, No Place Like Oz, was released back in November and is a prequel. I have this on my NOOK and am a few pages in. For a novella, it is actually pretty long at 196 pages.

Back to Dorothy Must Die...

The book is set in the present, and the basic plot is that another girl from Kansas--Amy Gumm--is whisked away by a tornado and finds herself in Oz. She begins to find, however, that this is not the Oz she is familiar with from the movie. In the years since that time in Oz things have changed dramatically for the worse. Dorothy has returned, and the small taste of magic she's had has turned her into what can only be likened to a drug addict after they first try their chosen vice. She will do whatever it takes to have more and more of it, and the wake she is leaving behind is growing. Meanwhile, her friends from her first visit--the Tinman, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion--have become twisted versions of their former selves, and live to ensure the success of the girl they hold dear. In hopes of restoring Oz to the land it once was, a group of Wicked Witches and others have banded together to do what must be done. Will Amy join them? What will happen if she does?

I struggled a little when I first began reading this book. Yes, Amy's life in Kansas makes you want to root for her, but she also came across to me as a bit weak and caught up in feeling sorry for herself. I found this annoying. Now that I have finished the book, I know that she was presented in this light intentionally and that it sets the stage for her growth as a character and a person. So, keep that in mind. I also think I would have read this book with a slightly different frame of mind had I known it was just part of the story. I had some moments where I wondered how the story could ever be properly told with the number of pages left. All that being said, I really did like the book, just not as much as I expected to, but I think that will change once I am able to read the rest of the story and see the story to its conclusion. Amy becomes less annoying as the story progresses, and it is nice to see her begin to find herself. Her character spends some time focused on the young men she comes in contact with and I found it out of place--considering the dangerous situation she finds herself in--until I remembered what is was like to be a teenage girl, and how much attention I paid to the teenage boys around me despite just about anything that might have been going on in my life! I liked most of the supporting characters, and the plot really is a great one. I found myself unable to stop reading and am glad about that! The story is very well developed and the author has done a great job of setting the scene of an Oz that is falling apart.

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