Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

This is the second time I've read Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, and this is the second time I loved it. The plot line is addicting, the characters are fascinating, and the cliff hanger at the end makes me very happy that the rest of the series is already out because I couldn't wait to dive into the second book.

I found the book last March while wondering around Barnes & Noble. The Wicked Will Rise had just been released and there was a huge display for it. The cover is what caught my attention.

They are edgy, the color and font scream out at you, I couldn't help but pick it up. Which, as I started to read the synopsis of the book, I realized it was a second and I immediately tore my eyes and went to search for the first one.

Usually when I buy a book where its subsequent books are released, I buy all of them. However, I was short on money and I had been in a reading slump where I couldn't finish anything, so I just bought DMD. I immediately regretted that because I finished it in one sitting. With that, my reading slump was over.

There are minor spoilers from here on out. Read cautiously!

Dorothy Must Die takes place around Amy Gumm, "the other girl from Kansas." Just like Dorothy, she lived in a flat plain in the boring state of Kansas and is taken to Oz by ways of cyclone. But the Oz that she lands in is nothing like the technicolor world that everyone knows and loves. Here, Dorothy Gale is evil, Glinda is wicked, and Dorothy's companions have become extremely scary versions of the originals. Amy has been brought to Oz by someone who wishes to not be named to save Oz. Through a series of events, Amy ends up becoming an operative for the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, a group of (not-so) wicked witches who want the old Oz back and Dorothy gone.

I love the amazing character that we meet. Paige has done a brilliant job of bringing them to life where you feel that while you're reading, you can reach out and touch them. (Note: if you do this, you will be reaching into the air and touching nothing and people will look at you funny while saying "Oh, honey.")

Amy Gumm: Our main protagonist who comes from Kansas. There, Amy is known by her classmates as "Salvation Amy" ever since Madison Pendleton made fun of her in the 3rd grade because Amy lives in a trailer park. Amy has a stressed relationship with her mother, who is constantly popping pills and in an almost-comatose state on the couch or out at the bar getting drunk; her father isn't in the picture at all because he is too busy living in New Jersey with his new family after walking out on Amy and her mom. But in Oz, Amy is an assassin who is finding her place in this world, even if it's not her real world. Here, Amy matters, people rely on her, and she finds people that she cares about and wants to seek revenge for those who have been hurt.

Star: Star is Amy's mothers rat who ends up making the journey to Oz with Amy. Although she doesn't talk, she becomes very important to Amy, as she is the only thing from Kansas she has left. Although Star can't physically talk, she is very intuitive and has a good instinct about people. I always love the pets in the stories I read, and I develop an attachment to them, apparently even ones that are rats.

Pete: The first person that Amy meets upon landing in Oz, Pete saves Amy (and Star) from falling into a pit, and although is very secretive, confirms to Amy that she is in fact in Oz. Then Pete disappears and we don't see him until Amy has ended up in the dungeons of the Emerald City for pissing off Dorothy. Pete pops up in her cell and tells Amy that he is going to find a way to save her from certain death, and then he disappears again, but not before Amy asks him to hold onto Star. The next time we see Pete is after Amy has entered Dorothy's palace disguised as a maid, Ingrid. Although the magic disguising Amy is extremely powerful and no one else can tell that she isn't the real Ingrid, Pete somehow knows, which adds to the sketchy factor. Pete returns Star and has intermittent meetings with Amy during her stay in the palace. But be warned, Pete isn't who you think he is. (If you've read the original Wizard of Oz stories by L. Frank Baum, you'll know who Pete is.)

Indigo: The first munchkin Amy comes across is the goth, angst-y Indigo. She isn't in the story for too long, because she is killed by a member of the Tin Mans army, but she does provide Amy with a bit of knowledge about Oz and introduces us to Perma-Smile. Her death is also a catalyst for Amy to destroy the reign of Dorothy once she joins the Order.

Ollie: A wingless monkey who, when we first meet him, is on his way to Oz to save his sister from the torture of the Scarecrow. Ollie used to have his wings, but the wings are what holds the magic that ties them to Dorothy, so a group of monkeys have decided that instead of having wings, they will cut them off for their freedom. His family however thought that they were stupid and kept their wings, and have ever since been slaves to Dorothy. Ollie bails when Amy and group run into the Tin Woodsmans soldiers, but we meet him later after he has infiltrated the palace in hopes of saving his sister, Maude. Luckily, Amy runs into him before he does something stupid, and agrees to help him save her, and in return, Ollie helps Amy at the end of the book.

Dorothy and the Gang: These guys are not the sweet people we all fell in love with in the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland. Dorothy is still a fan of her blue gingham, although prefers her dresses to be a bit tighter, shorter, and more revealing, and she never takes off her ruby red shoes, as they are the source of all of her power, and definitely help fuel her evil. Glinda as well has said goodbye to her pink ballgown and now prefers sleeker numbers. You can tell that even though Dorothy is the front woman, Glinda is the one calling all the shots. She also uses munchkins to mine magic for her and Dorothy so they can become more powerful. The Tin Woodsman is hopelessly in love and will do anything for her, but this is completely one-sided. Tin still holds out hope though. But his love has caused him to do horrible things in hopes of impressing Dorothy. His army is made out of deformed Gilikins and Munchkins whose bodies have been replaced with metal parts and whose appendages are scary weapons that will cause the worst sorts of pain. Even Tin himself has hands made out of knives, so even if he did get close to Dorothy, he'd cause some major pain (maybe that wouldn't be so bad). The Scarecrow only cares about his brain and power. He experiments on different people trying to figure out what makes them smart, and uses their brain juice to make himself smarter (yes, it's as bad as it sounds). Forget about the Scare we all thought we knew, this Scare is completely ruthless and will do anything to get what he wants. The final member of the torture gang, the Cowardly Lion is anything but cowardly now. In fact, he literally feeds off the fear of poor creatures and people he comes across. Amy and the Order have a battle with him and almost kill him off, but the battle ends in a way that no one was ready for.

Mombi: Our first Wicked Witch and member of the Order that we meet. Mombi saves Amy from Dorothy's prison as long as Amy promises to help the Order. Amy has no idea what this entails yet, but she knows it's her only option, so she agrees mid-battle with Tin and his army. Like everyone in the Order, Mombi isn't a person who you can fully trust because she's not going to do anything unless she gets something in return. The good thing about Mombi is she tells you this up front, so you know to take everything with a grain of salt. Mombi helps Amy channel her magic and helps form her into the perfect secret assassin.

"Grandma" Gert: One of the nicest witches in the Order, she used to be a good witch, but that doesn't mean she's anymore trustworthy.  Gert is who helps Amy realize the potential she has and is a positive force for her. However, she can read minds and uses this against her. Gert is killed during a battle with the Lion and her death really impacts the Order.

Glamora: Glamora is the twin sister of Glinda and is supposed to be the evil half of the pair, but no one is really as evil as Glinda. Glamora is just as fancy and proper as her other half, however, she has to hide the damage that Glinda has done: a dis-formed scar on her face. As Glamora says, it doesn't help Glinda's cause to have a twin who looks just like her.

Nox: The only warlock in the Order and the kinda, but not really, love interest of Amy. He is dark and mysterious, like all love interests are, and he has a sad past. No one is more committed to the cause than him and he's very serious about ending Dorothy's tyranny. He shares one kiss with Amy, but in my opinion, it's not all that romantic, but neither of them have really done much kissing to know how it's supposed to go.

Princess Ozma: The true ruler of Oz, she hasn't been the same since Dorothy's return. Words that are commonly used to describe her are: a shell of her former self, a bobble head, lost, gone, missing. We see her a few times, but her she is very incoherent (or is she). No one listens to what she has to say, but that might be their downfall.

Jellia Jamb: Another original from the Oz series for people who have read the books. Jellia loves her job as a maid; she loves making everything perfect; she loves praising Dorothy. Honestly, her enthusiasm is nauseating. But like Ozma, she's knows more than she lets on. Jellia is not a person to overlook.

Now I know DMD was published by Full Fathom Five, which has become a big no no due to the controversy surrounding founder James Frey, but this series is extremely good and deserves to be read. Don't let one bad seed turn you away from a wonderful series.

Rating: 9/10
Pages: 480 (in paperback)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings
How Many Books in the Series: 3 primary works; 6 novellas (as of today)
How Likely am I to Suggest it to Someone: Pretty much expect that I am going to tell everyone they need to read it!


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