Hey, guys! So this was the most interesting book I saw at the bookstore this time…
Dorothy Must Die is alternate-universe sequel to The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy rules with an iron fist and has cast the land of Oz into a dystopia. Not a very original premise, but an interesting one. There’s no such thing as originality anyway–only the ability to conceal your sources!
I like alternate universes and that’s basically what this is. I especially like the role-reversal of Dorothy as a villain.
Why I Picked It Up
The Title and Cover Art are very eye-catching, but I think the tagline on the back really sold it for me:
“Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!”
What I Like About It
The very opening of the book establishes mood and gets some self disclosure out of the way for the main character. This exposition works because of the 1st person narrative and our character’s bleak sense of humor.
The book parallels the original Wizard of Oz in many ways and sometimes it works well–like the beginning, where we’re treated to a glimpse of our main character, Amy Gumm, and her shitty high-school experience. When she gets home to her trailer her neglectful single-mother shits on her as well. Then, as you may have guessed, there’s a tornado in the forecast on the weather report and… you can probably guess what’s coming next.
The parts in the real world are soul-crushingly realistic and I found them all highly relate-able, having had a similar teen experience. I was very hooked.
What Could Be Better, If Anything
For starters, Amy’s mom leaves her to go to a ‘Tornado Party.’ I don’t live in a place with LOTS of tornadoes, but I’ve seen a few and no-one around me had the instinct to party. Also, in my experience, they’re not really forecast.
That’s what I thought about them, anyway–broke the fourth wall for me a bit.
Moving on to Oz…
I feel like I’m being nit-picky with this one. After the predictable tornado drop, Amy finds herself in Oz proper–she figures out it’s OZ because she’s seen the movie back in the real world. Still not sure how I feel about that…
So she’s there and encounters a mysterious, pretty-boy who makes her feel uncomfortable and talks in that way that you can tell we’ll understand what he’s talking about when we re-read the book. Then he leaves without giving us any actual information.
I read until chapter five and I had to leave the bookstore–Amy was arguing with a goth munchkin–and I felt frustrated. I think I was frustrated because I felt like the story proper still hadn’t started–I felt like I wasn’t getting what I came for. I was reading really fast because I wanted to figure things out, and that’s a good sign.
I guess I felt like I was being given exposition I didn’t need, because this is the Wizard of Oz and everybody already knows the premise. It might’ve been a disconnect between the dust jacket copy and the plot–the dust jacket paints a picture of dystopian Oz and I felt like the book was just reiterating it. That’s a problem with the jacket copy and not with the book.
If it seems like I haven’t painted a clear picture with this review, I guess it’s because I’m torn–I want something from this book and I feel like I’m not getting it, so I’m reading fast to try and find it. But the task of a book’s opening is to keep them reading and I plan to go back and continue reading once I have room on my reading list.
So I guess that’s a win for Dorothy Must Die!
As always, check it out for yourself!
And if you’ve read it, leave me a comment!