BLURB: “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. But I never expected Oz to look like this. A place where Good Witches can’t be trusted and Wicked Witches may just be the good guys. A place where even the yellow brick road is crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I’ve been given a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. And then – Dorothy must die.”
REVIEW: I have always been a huge fan of the tale of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. As it was my mum’s favourite childhood film and book, I became absorbed in the world of Oz from a very young age, and have never truly left it. Even now, at nearly twenty, my room contains a number of Wizard of Oz memorabilia that has been bought for me over the years. Because of this fascination I have with the land of Oz, I’m always looking out for books that bring a fresh new twist to one of my favourite tales – and Danielle Paige’s ‘Dorothy Must Die’ has certainly done that. At the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to Amy Gumm, a teenage girl from Kansas who is suffering with bullies at school and a neglectful, alcoholic mother at home. When a tornado sweeps through the trailer park where Amy and her mother live, Amy finds herself crash-landing in an Oz that is barely recognisable, bathed in what seems to be eternal night and covered with barren land. With the help of a Munchkin girl named Indigo and a monkey named Ollie, Amy begins the initial stages of her journey to the Emerald City to find out exactly what has happened to the land she knows so well from the books and movies. What Amy ends up finding, however, is something much darker than she could have imagined. Dorothy has returned to Oz and, trapped by her greed for magic, has become a ruthless dictator, controlling the entire land of Oz and systematically draining it of its magic – and it seems that Amy is the only one who can stop her. Upon being recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, Amy is given training to develop her own magical and fighting potential by a group of renegade witches, who all persist in telling her the same thing – she is the only one who can defeat Dorothy, and Dorothy must die. Amy’s journey through Oz, and her attempts to grow close to Dorothy by becoming a Palace maid, is extremely gripping, both thrilling and sometimes terrifying the reader, but always with a hint of Amy’s sarcastic humour to lighten the dark tone of the tale. The transformation of Dorothy from the innocent heroine we know and love into a malicious and calculating dictator is one that stuns the reader, and makes the story even more gripping. The novel ends on a frustrating cliffhanger, with the reader desperate to go on to the next stage of the journey with Amy – fortunately, a sequel is due for release in early May which I personally am greatly looking forward to. What amazed me most about this book, however, was the brilliance of its storytelling – that it could turn I, the little girl who dressed up as Dorothy for years on end and worshipped her on film and in print, into a vicarious member of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked – that is what amazes me the most about this novel.