book review

Review: Dorothy Must Die

I love retellings. They’re one of my favourite things about books – the way an author can take a classic, well-loved story and turn into something entirely new and exciting. And that’s why Dorothy Must Die has been on my radar for quite a while. What could be better than a twisted version of The Wizard of Oz?

And trust me, this book is twisted all right.

Danielle Paige - Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die takes that beautiful, friendly, colourful picture of Oz that you have in your head and turns it into something dark and creepy, where shadows seem to lurk around every corner. And it does it well.

It tells the story of Amy Gumm, an ordinary girl from Kansas, who ends up in Oz, gets recruited by wicked witches, and is tasked with the job of killing Dorothy, the newest villain in Oz. You know, the usual.

My favourite thing was the twist this story gave Oz. When you think Oz, you think yellow brick road and Toto and ruby slippers. That is not the Oz you find in this book. This Oz is super creepy. Honestly, you think you’ve seen the worst it gets, and then something else pops up. And it’s probably horrible and creepy and maybe a little gruesome, but it’s super imaginative. Also, it’s pretty brutal sometimes.

I also loved the way Danielle Paige messed about with the classic characters. The heroes of the original story suddenly become the villains of the tale – Dorothy becomes a greedy, terrifying princess who enjoys making people suffer and has an obsession for everything girly. The scarecrow, the lion and the tin woodman have also been transformed into almost unrecognisable henchmen and it’s brilliant.

Speaking of characters, I move on to Amy, the girl from Kansas. To be honest, I never grew particularly attached to our main character but I’ll admit that she was bold and daring and interesting to read about. Although she seemed to adjust to being in Oz very quickly, I loved discovering Oz through her eyes and seeing her compare it to the story she knew.

Sadly, the book wasn’t perfect, and my main issue was the romance. It just came out of nowhere, and didn’t really go anywhere either. If you’re looking for a couple to ship, this isn’t the book to read. There was also a weird plot twist thing towards the end about one of the characters which I haven’t quite understood yet.

Also, the blurb doesn’t come into play until towards the end of the book, and I just felt like that was sort of cheating? I expected the plot to be about the stuff mentioned on the back and it, well, wasn’t? Instead, it looks like that’s the plot of book two and it annoys me a bit.

Still, I really enjoyed Dorothy Must Die and it had me constantly wanting to read it. I’ll definitely be heading out soon to grab a copy of The Wicked Will Rise!

Are you a Wizard of Oz fan? Or a fan of Wicked? If you’ve read it, what was your favourite thing about Dorothy Must Die?

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