Dorothy Must Die: review

April 7, 2014 2014, 4.5 star books, fairy tales, fantasy, hilarious, Wendy 86 ★★★★½

Dorothy Must Die: reviewDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Published by HarperTeen on April 1, 2014
Genres: fairy tale, fantasy
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonIndieboundBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-half-stars
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Well, color me surprised! These riffs on classic stories can go either way, but it turns out that Dorothy Must Die is an awesomely skewed Oz.

There’s plenty to enjoy for all lovers of fairy tale-type fantasy whether you’re familiar with the books or film. Those who love the original stories will appreciate the nods to all the Oz inspirations, including a rescue from a pole, unsettling statues, a protective kiss, eye trauma, chamber maid disguises, and so on.

Personally, I’d always thought Dorothy should have clicked her heels together and wished for something better than a trip back to Nowheresville.

“You only heard half the story. She did go home,” Indigo said. “Turns out, home wasn’t so great after all…one way or another, when Dorothy got here, that’s when all the problems started.”

But while Dorothy Gale found that there was merely a man behind the wizard, Amy Gumm is plunked down into a crazy world where a power-mad Dorothy rules with an iron fist and a grimly fixed smile, where conspiracies run deep, and where both the innocent and the wicked are not what they seem. The author cleverly bends iconic story elements to change sunshine into something sinister, and the original Oz themes of wisdom, courage, compassion, and self-sufficiency are still strong as Amy’s surreal experiences allow her to explore her fears and to test her mettle.

“It matters how you do this,” I said through clenched teeth, staring him down. “What you do to get there. You can’t just kill someone. The ends do not make it okay.”

This is one of those books that I like more and more weeks after I finished reading it. It’s casually funny and quick-witted, it’s dark and gory and twisted, it’s got nimble use of magic, and it’s even a little touching. View Spoiler » This is one of the best revisitations of a fairy tale that I’ve read, and it excited my imagination and feelings the way I hoped Splintered would, but never quite did.

A few things that didn’t work as well for me: it would have been nice to see a little more time spent on the romance–I liked it, but you don’t really feel the pull of the relationship as much as you should, and I wish everything hadn’t been quite so neatly View Spoiler », as it would be more interesting if the story kept you guessing about motivations a bit more. Most importantly, I was a little uneasy about how immediately and repeatedly evil is presented in superficial manifestations. Upon meeting Dorothy, for example, the first thing we notice are bright red high heels, cleavage, silk chiffon vs cotton, make-up, and her ensemble is described as  “somewhere between haute couture and French hooker.” I’m a little tired of the idea that all girls who pay attention to their looks are shallow, and the emphasis on Dorothy’s overt sexualization seems a bit out of left field for this particular story. It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if there were more balance in the way the good and bad characters were portrayed, and it seems unnecessary to focus so much on denigrating her physical appearance. I mean, the girl View Spoiler », so there’s plenty to criticize in her behavior.

I enjoyed Dorothy Must Die a great deal, though, and it’s going to make a hell of a television series. Between thrilling action scenes, quippy narration, tattoos that come alive, trees lush with apples that taste like pie, creepy birds, flavor-changing petit fours, and other delicious details I won’t spoil for you, the story keeps you guessing and I admire how the writing feels both contemporary and classic. The author clearly knows her Oz inside and out and deftly incorporates familiar elements into her own story (and fans will appreciate that even Amy’s name contains a sly homage to Judy Garland). But you know, if you’re familiar with the terrifying and SO INAPPROPRIATE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN film Return to Oz, there’s no way you could ever believe that Princess Mombi wouldn’t be evil. No way in hell. Sorry, Ms. Paige. It’s a Fate Worse Than Death to fall for that.

If you’re a fan of Oz, definitely give Dorothy Must Die a chance. It’s spectacularly fun.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

Wendy signature teal

P.S. If you’re curious about the book, you may read the first 12 chapters on Epic Reads! It’s a great way to sample the story and writing style.

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More Dorothy Goodness!

Have you seen my friend Margot’s arresting fauxto for Dorothy Must Die? She’s the lovely book shimmy queen at Epic Reads, of course, and her series of photographs inspired by YA books is awesome. I love the moodiness of this particular photo, and how it leaves you wondering what awful thing has just happened in Oz. *shiver*

You can learn more about Margot’s process behind shooting this image on her blog The Real Fauxtographer, and keep an eye on this space for another special feature with Margot soon, too!

And look at the beautiful ARC packaging for this book! Well done, HarperCollins. Well done.

 

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86 Responses to “Dorothy Must Die: review”

  1. Erin

    Great Review! I have Dorothy Must Die but I have been avoiding picking it up because I have seen so many mixed reviews! I do feel better knowing that you really enjoyed it, and I will probably end up reading it this month!

  2. Tammy

    Oh what an excellent,excellent review Wendy. I admittedly am just as tired of that particular trope as you are, but given the rest of your review (particularly your description of the super lush settings and the tress with apples that taste like pie – I’m hungry all of a sudden), I think I could almost forgive that aspect.

    I’m definitely getting myself a copy.

  3. Darith L.

    Great review, Wendy! Dorothy Must Die sounds like a gritty new take on the classic, and I think I’ll enjoy it! Also, I spent a whole 5 minutes (or more) looking at Margot’s photography!

  4. Natalie

    Retellings are the best!!….when they’re written good, if not it’s just a major disappointment. I’m so glad you liked it. I’ve heard iffy things about this one and I was like “BUT I WANTED TO READ AND ENJOY!” Now I feel confident in picking it up. XD

    That packaging is the cutest!

  5. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I’m not going to read all the spoiler sections, so it’s hard to leave a good comment on your review. But you talking about ‘a crazy world where a power-mad Dorothy rules with an iron fist and a grimly fixed smile, where conspiracies run deep, and where both the innocent and the wicked are not what they seem’ makes me all excited :D This book is definitely one of the books I’m going to buy for my birthday money. I can’t wait! I love it when you can see the author knows the background story and works with it: creating a completely different story that manages to capture the same feeling, but still adds something unique :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Mission impossible: Tackling series (update 2)

  6. Tabitha (@Pabkins)

    Well hot damn – I need to pick it up then. Wonder if it’ll be at BEA. I’m not buying anymore YA period until after I get back from New York. Seriously.

    Glad to see this is done in a fresh way. I don’t remember now if I’d heard mixed things. I think the lack of emphasis on the romance will probably work for me since sometimes in YA i feel like its over emphasized so I guess I’ll see.
    Tabitha (@Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Archetype by M.D. Waters

  7. Vivien

    So glad you ended up really liking this one!! I’ve been so nervous about this book. First it got a lot of hype, which always makes me worried. Then I heard about the Full Fathom Five thing, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that whole thing. I haven’t done enough research to outright boycott but it does make me feel squicky. Now aside from all that, I’ve read a lot of bad reviews for this one, but that doesn’t deter me. But it is refreshing to see you rate this one positively. Being from Kansas always makes books/movies etc interesting for me when they are Oz related.. Sometimes I find it cheesy and overdone, and other times it’s perfect. I was extremely excited to see that this had a darker tone to it since that’s usually what I prefer. I already have a copy so that I can’t wait to dive into!!
    (Have you been able to do much research on the FFF thing? Opinion?)

    • Wendy Darling

      My feelings on the FFF connection? Okay.

      — I’m not against the idea of book packaging in general, though I haven’t had much luck with them so far. This is the first packaged book I’ve read (that I’m aware of) that I’ve been fully happy with.

      — I am not a fan of James Frey. I do not care for how he misled readers with his “memoirs,” and it is annoying to read all these factory-type stories that have been written about the company. I never gave his YA book any kind of glance.

      — I do think that authors are going into this transaction with their eyes open, however. Particularly someone like Danielle Paige, who is from the world of entertainment and knows how these things work. I mean that in a few different ways: if FFF is taking advantage of these authors, the authors are going into it with their eyes wide open. If they haven’t done their homework, it’s something to chalk up to experience. I think the opportunity to break into the publishing industry, or the experience, is a good start for some writers, though, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Entertainment people are also very used to the idea of write for hire projects.

      — I do think that this book is strong enough to have made it without a packaging company, though. But perhaps whatever synergy is going on there helped the author, too. I have to say, as much as I dislike JF in principle, the two books I’ve read from FFF have both had very fresh voices, and unique takes on their material. The other book was NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU, by the way–even though it ended up not working for me so well in the end, it was a distinctive and unusual voice, and there’s a lot to be said for originality.

      — And lastly, I’ve seen all the hand-wringing and boycotting efforts over FFF, and frankly, I don’t understand it. People should do what they wish, but I don’t think that the wool is being pulled over these authors’ eyes–this is a business decision, one made for any number of reasons, and I’m not going to punish them for because I dislike the person who owns the company they work for. Would I, personally, enter into a transaction with someone whose ethics I disagreed with? No. But I can separate that from people who chose to do business with him particularly when it comes to creative work of their own. To me, it would be like boycotting an actor because I didn’t like his agent, or refusing to read a book because I disagreed with the author’s editor.

      Um…are you sorry you asked? Hah! Anyway, I very much enjoyed this book, and I’m happy to hear you already have a copy! Tag me on Twitter if I miss seeing your reaction.

    • Wendy Darling

      Excellent! I am very excited to hear what you think of it. I bet it’d be great as an audiobook, the story really lend itself well to having someone tell it to you.

      I’m out of town for the next week or so, btw, but I’ll be by to visit you soon!

  8. Keisha

    I just saw where this was on the NY Time’s Bestseller list for YA and am intrigued by it. I am a big fan of Baum’s Oz and Maguire’s Wicked so I need to give this a read. Plus it has an awesome cover!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes! It’s so nice that this made the list, hopefully that will help bring even more attention to it. As an Oz fan, you MUST try this out. :) I like the cover, too.

    • Wendy Darling

      Ahhh, I’d be interested in hearing what you thought of this, Lily. I’m curious how all the different readers will come to this, including those who have very little knowledge of Oz other than what’s permeated through pop culture. I’m glad you’re interested in checking this out anyway!

  9. Summer/Sunny

    I WANT THIS *grabby hands* This sounds fantastic and I agree, it could be a really successful TV show. I did groan at the mention of not enough romance (love me some romance) and the fact that Dorothy’s overtly sexual looks are emphasized. I always feel uncomfortable about that because it sounds like girl shaming. I loved your review, Wendy!
    Summer/Sunny recently posted…The Comparison Game

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s OUT so you must get it! It really does put a nice spin on Oz, so it’ll stand out from the other TV Oz type stuff that’s already out there.

      I like romance in books, too. I liked what was here, and while I appreciate that she wasn’t mooning around after some guy all the time, I do wish we’d seen a little more relationship development. It’s not instalove by any means, though.

  10. Darith L.

    There’s been great buzz for this book, and I can’t say I’m not excited! Will read it this summer when I have time off from school. Great review, as always! :D

    • Wendy Darling

      I was pleased to see that it hit the NYT bestseller list its first week out! So it sounds like the buzz is paying off. I hope you get the chance to read it soon, Darith. And thank you!

  11. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Basically “apples taste like pie” aaaaand I’m sold. XD I’m ridiculously excited for this one!! I love fairy tale and classic rewrites (Splintered series anyone?) and this is SO high on my desperately-need-list. I love the cover too…and the fact that it makes everything creepy? Ohhhh. NEED.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…The Ginormous Problem With Reviewing Sequels

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, there is a tradition in Oz of things tasting like other things or at least being more than they appear! It’s nice to see that continued, and I’m all for pie. Always. :)

      I hope you love it, Cait!!

  12. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I sampled a few chapters of this one, but I simply couldn’t get into it. I don’t know if it was the prose or the narrative voice, but whatever it was I didn’t feel drawn to the story in the least and a variety of negative reviews have made me re-consider going back to pick this up. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, though, Wendy, and I really am intrigued by the points you brought up. Still, I have a feeling I’ll be waiting for this series to play out till the end before picking it up. LOVE the picture your friend did, though – it’s gorgeous! And, as always, absolutely gorgeous review! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yeah, I can’t imagine this would be much of a Keertana book. I will say that the opening scenes with her mom in Kansas are my least favorite part–it’s not really until she gets to Oz that things start getting interesting. That happens pretty quickly, though, so I’m not sure how far into it you got.

      I’m not surprised to see some negative reviews as well. As contemporary as some of the scenes are with Amy in Kansas and her narration, I imagine it’s hard for some readers to adjust to mashing this up with the very classic American fairy tale setting and tone of Oz.

      But yes, I enjoyed it so much! And Margot’s fauxtos are always fantastic–I like how out of the ordinary they are.

  13. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed this one Wendy. I have been very hesitant to read it because I was really afraid it would go very wrong. Now I’m much more inclined to pick it up :-) I love OZ and have always thought there was a lot of creepiness in that setting. The idea behind this book has always been enthralling but I was so concerned it wouldn’t be fully realized. So happy to see such a high rating.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

    • Wendy Darling

      Isn’t it funny how we get scared going into books because we’re afraid we won’t like them? Or in this case, that they might also ruin something we like? :) But our pickiness means that readers can trust that when we love a book, we reallly love it!

      As an Oz fan, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy this. It’s interesting how Amy really does feel like a modern day YA heroine, but she’s right in the middle of all these very classic scenarios, and somehow it all works. Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout to see what you think!

  14. Jess @ Such A Novel Idea

    I have been waiting rather impatiently for this book since the moment I saw the cover. I am a HUGE Wizard of Oz fan (so much so that I talked my five year old into being Dorothy for Halloween — I bargained that she got some red sparkly shoes — she was sold!) and this book screamed to my being “BUY ME”. I loved the prequel, which just made me that much more anxious.

    My copy will be here tomorrow and I think I will probably be up until the wee morning hours reading it. Also, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Margot’s work, especially this one.

    I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed the book and I’m still chuckling at your thoughts on Princess Mombi and Return to Oz. That movie is a rite of passage and also will scar you for life. Hah.
    Jess @ Such A Novel Idea recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (44)

    • Wendy Darling

      The cover is pretty awesome, isn’t it? It’s a little confusing, though, since she has silver slippers on the cover (as in the original books), but Dorothy has high heeled red shoes (as in the first Oz film). Maybe the silver will come into play later? I love that you got your daughter to be Dorothy, though! Margot has another photo on her blog that shows her dressed up as Dorothy as a kid, too.

      I’m glad your copy will be in your hands today. I hope you looooove it.

      And YES. I’m an adult, and I’m still scared by those Mombi scenes in that movie. @_@

  15. Carina Olsen

    Aw, yay :D I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much. <3 That's a plus :) I'm not sure if this book would be for me :\ but I will try it sometime. As I do like that cover, hih. And it sounds a bit different. Thank you for sharing your awesome review. <3 Also, that ARC looks gorgeous :D
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #130

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh no, do you mind if I ask why you think you wouldn’t enjoy it? I know you’re a big fan of the Lunar Chronicles, and this reimagining is pretty awesome.

      It might be tricky if you don’t like Oz at all, though, or if you aren’t as keen on some classic fairy tale-like writing or basic good vs. evil. But yes, I really enjoyed it–and I wish all my ARCs came in shiny envelopes and tied in pretty bows!

      • Carina Olsen

        I’m just a bit worried, as I have seen many other negative reviews :\ I have never read the real Oz book, but I did enjoy the old movie :) I do like the story ;p I’m just nervous since I’ve seen many not liking it. Sigh. And.. what you say here: “Dorothy’s overt sexualization” make me a tiny bit worried that I will not like Dorothy. Hmm. But I do wish to try it :)
        Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #130

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh, I see! Yeah, I’ve been surprised at some of the reviews I’ve seen, too–so much so that I paid even more attention when I went through the book again for my review, but I still liked it. But hey, everyone has different taste. And you’re not really supposed to like Dorothy, hah. She’s EVIL in this series! But I still rated it highly despite that criticism, so take that for what it’s worth.

          But I totally understand why you might be nervous. Maybe worth a library read at least, or sampling the first 12 chapters? In any case, I wish you luck if you do decide to check it out sometime. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Hee hee, I’m excited for your copy to arrive, Danielle! I’m hoping you will be skipping through poppy fields with me over this one. It’s delightfully twisted. :D

  16. Larissa

    Ahh, I just bought this one today and I can’t wait to begin reading it (: I really hope I’ll enjoy Dorothy Must Die, it looks like a book I’d love. I really enjoy fractured fairytales and Dorothy Must Die sounds like the epitome of that. I also enjoy darker and more sinister versions of tales, and this Oz sounds like something cool from a Tim Burton movie. I can’t wait to see the world building of Oz.

    It’s great that Dorthy Must Die also retains core values of the Wizard of Oz. Honestly, I’m not the most knowledgeable about the world of Oz so it’s good I can read this story and understand everything.

    Hmm, the whole hyper sexualization of Dorothy does seem quite unnecessary and quite frankly demeaning. So dressing provocatively is being associated with the character of Dorothy, who is evil. Therefore dressing that way is evil too? Ugh. When will people learn that how others dress isn’t ANY of their concern. I’ll be on the look-out for this in the book now.

    A TV series? Ahhhh. I’m definitely going to be watching it, I know that already ^.^ And that packaging for the ARC is so pretty omg c:

    Lovely review, Wendy! I now want to get off my laptop and start ploughing through this book.
    Larissa recently posted…Discussing Through Midnight (28): Larissa’s Italian Adventure

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, the book spent just a bit too much time on negatively remarking upon Dorothy’s outfit and boobs for my comfort level. (SO MUCH BOOB TALK. At least a page of it.) It just seemed unnecessary and out of place to me, given the context and style of the story. Only one person I know has mentioned being bothered by that as well, though, so maybe it hasn’t been an issue for most people. But in the end, there were so many things I loved about the book that my quibbles didn’t even make that big of an impact on my 4.5 star rating, as you can see.

      Darker, yes. Sinister, yes. And from our discussions about GRIM, I think this book is right up your alley, Larissa. I’m glad to hear you already have a copy in your hands! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. I TOTALLY need to drop by to visit you guys later this week, too–I’ve been kind of out of the loop lately, and I am hoping that you posted some photos of your Italy trip.

  17. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I’m so excited for this book! I love twisted fairytales, and a Wizard of Oz retelling should be amazing. I actually watched the original movie the other day. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Great review, Wendy! :)
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…How Do You Review?

    • Wendy Darling

      I KNOW, why don’t we get more twisted fairy tales? Girls in pretty dresses pining for princes are fine, but we could use a little more action.

      This has put me in the mood to watch both the original film and RETURN TO OZ again. Must happen soon.

      I’m excited to hear what you think of this one when you get to it, too! I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it. I hope so, anyway!

    • Wendy Darling

      I feel the same way about the first film, Bethzaida–I like it, and I have a certain fondness for it because it’s such a childhood classic, but I looooove RETURN TO OZ. If you like your stories a little darker (okay, maybe a lot darker in some scenes), you might enjoy that one more.

      I’m glad you’re going to give this a try! It’s worth a shot. :)

  18. Michelle

    Noting back to your comment above, I didn’t like Splintered either. I find that all Alice in Wonderland retellings always are the same and focus on the same things. I read the prequel for this novel last night, and I was totally hooked in. I’m going to be reading this along with my Goodreads group, so I’m pretty excited. Thanks to your positive and great review, I can barely wait to begin!

    Michelle (@ A Thousand Lives Lived)
    Michelle recently posted…G is for… Glow

    • Wendy Darling

      Ah, we are among the few who didn’t love SPLINTERED. I loved all the stuff with the bugs, but beyond that I wasn’t all that stirred by it. I haven’t loved any film adaptations I’ve seen of it, either, tbh. Nothing’s come close to the wittiness of the originals as far as Alice is concerned for me.

      And yay, I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the prequel! I need to read that soon as well. I hope you and your group enjoy the book! I’m interested in seeing how the reactions from the various different readers, such as those who don’t know the stories at all, those who loved the books, those who loved the original Oz film, those who loved Return to Oz, those who liked the musical Wicked only, those who don’t like any of these at all, etc. I don’t think they all necessarily overlap.

  19. Katie @ Spirit of Children's Literature

    Thanks for this review!

    I’m almost finished with the book, but am loving it so far, and am really impressed by how Paige has taken a classic and given us something different. She still retains enough of Oz, though, that we can appreciate the original–I love that!
    Katie @ Spirit of Children’s Literature recently posted…An enchanted world, a powerful book, and three children of destiny: “E” is for The Emerald Atlas: The Book of Beginnings (2011) by John Stephens #AtoZchallenge

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! And I agree, the author did a wonderful job of paying homage to the originals and making the story feel familiar even while she’s creating her own plot and characters. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next.

  20. Brenda

    Great spoiler free review! I think the cover is wonderful and am intrigued but may wait to pick it up from the library.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Brenda! I’m glad you’re interested in giving it a shot sometime.

      PS–I just started Anne and I’m already in love with her all over again. For some reason the chapter where she first arrives at Green Gables and everyone thinks she is going back is making me tear up, and that’s never happened at this particular part before.

  21. fishgirl182

    Return to Oz is so freaky. I have always loved the Oz stories and various adaptations because they are so creepy and twisted and not what you would think to would be appropriate for a child. I really want to check this one out.
    fishgirl182 recently posted…Manicure Monday (58): Poison

    • Wendy Darling

      I loooooove RETURN TO OZ. And it’s still scary! Man. I remember seeing stickers at Blockbuster on the rental box saying that the movie wasn’t appropriate for younger children, which I always thought was a good idea since a lot of parents would think it would be a sunshine and roses PG type movie.

      I liked the touches of darkness in the original books (and some of the adaptations), too. I read a few reviews of this book this morning where people were bothered by some of the gory details, and it’s funny since those kinds of things are present in the original books and many of the other versions, too.

      Dorothy manicure would be awesome, btw. :D

      • fishgirl182

        I remember those heads she had. That was so freaky at the time. I am a fan of the classic Oz movie but I also love the darker versions of it. And I don’t have the book yet but I am definitely plotting a manicure….

        :)

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh, I liked the original version, too. But I like the darker stuff more!

          So many creative possibilities for a mani with this one. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m excited that you’re excited! I really liked this one, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

      The bricks in that photograph are just PERFECT, and symbolic of the ruination of the city. This is one of my favorite fauxtos that I’ve seen Margot do.

    • Wendy Darling

      You know, I was really curious about how the novella would fare compared to this story–novellas don’t always work as well if you haven’t been introduced to the world yet, particularly when the POV is dramatically different from the one in the book. I wonder if it would have worked better if it had been a special thing released in conjunction with the book, or following its release? I’m going to read it myself soon to see why people have been so mixed on it.

      Honestly, though, if you liked RETURN TO OZ, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this, I think! I hope so, anyway. Let me know if you end up trying this out.

  22. Pili

    First of all Wendy, thank you so much for making your review work so well without spoilers and for having them clearly marked and hidden so us that haven’t read the book could still make sense of your review.

    I have been super curious about this one, I’ve seen the original Oz movie quite a few times, but I’ve never read the original books, what I read and loved where the Wicked books by Gregory McGuire, so I love the idea of twisting the original story in a different way.

    I read the novella and liked it but it didn’t blow me away, but after reading your review, I do plan to give this one a chance!
    Pili recently posted…Mini Reviews: Life Before Legend and Darla’s Story!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, you’re welcome, Pili! *curtsies* Hee hee. I sometimes enjoy spoilers when I’m looking for them, but I HATE them if I didn’t choose to find them myself, so I try to be hyper aware of that when I’m writing reviews.

      I have a feeling you’re going to love this–I know you liked SPLINTERED quite a lot, and this has a similar concept. You don’t really need to know anything about the books to enjoy it, though certainly there’s an added level of appreciation if readers do love them. I need to read the novella, too–I sometimes worry about when those are released for new books/debut authors, as they aren’t always great as standalones.

      I need to read the McGuire books, too! I didn’t really have much interest in those, but Leigh Bardugo was telling me at that Ring and the Crown tea party that they are really excellent.

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh good, I’m glad to hear you liked the first chapter! I added a link in the review to the first 12 chapters, actually, so you can whet your appetite a bit more if you like. ;) Things obviously start to get interesting when she lands in Oz, which doesn’t take that long from what I remember. I think it’s a page in the 30s when that happens.

          I might see about the Wicked audiobook sometime. It seems like that’d be a good story to have someone read to you.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, that bothered me even more when I skimmed the book for this review. But there’s so much otherwise to enjoy and appreciate that it didn’t really put that big of a dent in my rating, as you can see! I hope you get your hands on it soon, Jeann.

  23. Hershey

    My copy still hasn’t arrived yet :/… Hopefully, it comes soon so I can read it and enjoy its awesomeness too!

    Lovely review, Wendy! The ARC packaging is so pretty!!

    – Hershey

    • Wendy Darling

      Boo! I hope your Dorothy arrives soon, Hershey. I’m always frustrated when my orders come late, too. But I hope it’s worth the wait!

      SUCH pretty packaging. It came in a shiny royal blue bubble mailer, too–they thought of all the details.

  24. Mary @ BookSwarm

    While the oversexualization of Dorthy was overplayed as was the whole reverse-y thing, I found myself enjoying this story. Amy was a bit blah to start with, having cowered for so long but I liked watching her gain confidence and stick to her morals, even when everything went askew. Definitely interested in the next book (though I didn’t realize it was a series until I got to the end! Blerg!).
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: THE SHADOW PRINCE by Bree Despain

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh good, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was a bit bothered by those things, Mary! I haven’t read too many reviews yet (I’ve been SO out of the loop lately), but I hadn’t seen anyone mention how Dorothy was portrayed yet. When I reread the first Dorothy scene for the review, it bothered me all over again how much time we spend on her cleavage. I mean, c’mon.

      But yeah, I like the way Amy develops as a character in just this one book. Thankfully we didn’t linger on the white trash beginnings too long, and if she’s grown this much in just the first book, it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens in books two and three!

      I didn’t know it was a series until I checked GoodReads. I wish these things were more clearly marked, but I know they also don’t always know for sure until early reactions start coming in.

  25. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I preordered this b/c I loved the original books when I was a kid (but man were those wheelers CREEPY), but I honestly had no intention of getting to it anytime soon . . .

    It just shot to the front of the pack. Tattoos that MOVE?! Hopefully all of those awesome details will be enough to ignore an under-developed romance and the overt-sexualization of Dorothy (I think it will be). Wonderful review!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

    • Wendy Darling

      I KNOW, the Wheelers are crazy–did you see RETURN TO OZ? They were pretty scary in the film, too.

      I’m so glad to hear you loved the original books, Jessica! You’re going to find so many things to appreciate in this story. And yeah, the few things that bothered me just gave me a bit of a pause, they didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. Hence the 4.5 stars. ;)

  26. Paulina

    I remember seeing this book on goodreads and passing it off because I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Wizard of Oz when I was a child (quite weird seeing as everyone was obsessed with it) but I’m intrigued now and might pick the book up to see if it’s any good. Thanks for the lovely review Wendy :D
    Paulina @ Tangled In Pages

    • Wendy Darling

      I think this could work really well for even non-Oz fans, Paulina, as long as you can accept some classic fairy tale elements that are a bit on the child-like side. I mean, it’s very much YA and written like one, but it also contains decrees of A Fate Worse Than Death and other cheeky things like that! I hope you end up liking it, though–it’s a very fun book. :)

  27. Jasprit

    I remember reading the blurb for this book a few months back and thinking I need to read this book. I’m glad that you had a lot of fun with this book Wendy, I do like my books which are dark and funny at the same time, so I have a feeling this book could be for me. Gorgeous review! Also I haven’t seen Return to Oz yet (epic failure on my part) I must rectify that immediately!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

    • Wendy Darling

      Even though I was intrigued by the concept, I was pretty suspicious of this book, hah, so it was a really pleasant surprise to see how well done the book is. “Dark and funny” describes this perfectly, so I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it, Jasprit!

      DEFINITELY see RTO, though. It’s one of my favorite book to film adapatations, and although I liked THE WIZARD OF OZ, RTO is much more to my taste.

    • Wendy Darling

      I love how everything you know about Oz is turned on its head in this story, Melliane–I hope you enjoy both the book and the movie! Both have pretty scary parts.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh man, I meant to link to the first few chapters of the book! Thanks for the reminder–it’s no surprise that it hooked you, since the action starts pretty immediately. Looks like you have a great reading week ahead of you with those two books, so ENJOY. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      One of my favorite things about moving to WordPress is how easy it is to do spoilers! I hope you end up liking this one as much as I did, Angie.

      And yesss, isn’t Margot amazing? I always look forward to seeing the YA photographs she’s working on.

  28. Joy (Joyousreads)

    That packaging is pretty kickass! I gotta be honest, Alice led me down the wrong rabbit hole in Splintered (I’m one of the few who didn’t like it), so I’m a little wary of this one. You’ve sold me on “somewhere between haute couture and French hooker”.

    Great review, Miss Wendy. :)
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting

    • Wendy Darling

      Pretty ARC packaging is always fun. :) And actually, I liked, but didn’t quite love SPLINTERED, either. I thought all the bug whispering was great and the concept was interesting, but somehow it never really grabbed me the way that Dorothy did. This one feels very organic to the canon while still being an original story.

      I’m glad you’re going to give DOROTHY a shot!