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First off, if you're looking for a 100% standalone novel, this is not it. While it doesn't exactly end in what I would term a cliffhanger, the conclusion raises a lot more questions than it answers and the main character narrating the story puts it right out there that it's not over. Another small warning if you're buying this for your kid -- while this appears to be firmly in YA territory, be aware that there are several bloody bits and language that would get a movie rated R. So if that bothers you, consider carefully before you buy.
So about the book itself. I found this one to be a rather mixed bag. There are a lot of interesting concepts going on in this book, but I didn't really feel like any of them were fully realized or explained. Since there are apparently going to be sequels to this book, I realize you can't spill all the beans straight off, but at the end of this book my knowledge of how Oz came to such a pass is still pretty negligible. You learn early on that, surprise! Dorothy and cohorts are now the evil rulers of Oz. What never gets explained satisfactorily is why. It's suggested throughout the book that the Oz books we know and love weren't wrong, that everything did happen that way and that Dorothy used to be good and has changed. There's a hint that she developed an addiction to magic, but her becoming a sort of magical junkie doesn't fully explain the depths of corruption and sadism to which Dorothy has sunk. To be fair, I have just noticed today that there is a prequel novella available for the Kindle on Amazon which may answer some of these question.
Several other things bothered me about this book as well. Our narrator and main character gets bullied from page one and that pretty much goes on throughout the book. She gets bullied into joining the revolution, she gets bullied for being rubbish at training in the beginning (like, wow, you're a teenager from a world in which you don't have to defend yourself from anything more serious than a high school shoving contest, why aren't you the uber warrior we need?!), she gets bullied for not being the hard as nails, nothing before the cause soldier that she was kind of forced into training to be. Adversity makes a story, but seriously? Do we need to ream the girl at every turn when there can be no reasonable expectation for her to have adapted so well to this world in so short a time?
Overall, I'm giving this book 3 stars across the board. The narrator wasn't bad and did seem to bring across the teenager attitude the main character had. This was occasionally annoying as teenagers are occasionally annoying, but I can't fault her for playing her part to a tee. The premise of this book was and still remains intriguing to me and the writing itself was adequate. It could be entirely possible that the sequel to this book, whenever it comes out, will kick much more butt than this one did. I really hope it does. I'd love to see Amy Gumm come into her own, start making her own decisions and her own plans. I'd love to see her fight back on her own terms and not just follow someone else's idea of what's best. She definitely didn't do those things in this book, but I think there's still hope for her yet.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
What other book might you compare Dorothy Must Die to and why?
I would compare (as I said in the title) this book to American McGee's Alice. It is a dark twist on a classic world that we all know.
Which scene was your favorite?
My favorite scene is one of the first that takes place in the land of Oz where Amy climbs a hill to get her first view of what Oz has become. A crazed looking Glenda the good witch is hovering high in the sky while she forces the munchkin people (Enslaved by Dorothy and her minions) to harvest the magic from the land which has turned the Oz landscape into a grey, barren wasteland.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Murder, over the rainbow.
The Emerald City is about to be painted red.
Lions and tigers and bears will die!
Any additional comments?
This is a fun YA novel for those that enjoy the twisted fairy tales. The author actually has a handle on the English language and doesn't pander to people who don't know how to speak it. (I'm looking at you Divergent)
7 of 7 people found this review helpful