Book Review #69: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Title: Dorothy Must Die
AuthorDanielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: eBook
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
Pages: 452
PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones

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 bluebirds. 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 a yellow brick road - 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.

Taking a well known classic and flipping it on its head is no easy task and yet I find myself questioning how easily Danielle Paige pulled it off with Dorothy Must Die! Taking a twister over the rainbow, fans of the truly beloved classic will find themselves far from their comfort zone as they enter the world of Oz as it's never been seenAs warped and twisted as the beloved Oz may seem, Danielle Paige certainly gives fans of the series a reason to stick around as she ventures the other girl from Kansas around this tortured land to meet the anti-heroes whom we once all loved. 

From the get go I knew this was going to be a series I would be involved in for a while. The characters were feisty, the world building was phenomenal and the plot was structurally sound. With our main antagonist, Dorothy, who no longer represents innocence but alas sports the personality of a glamoured diva, we as readers are definitely exposed to a whole new take on a pre-built story. 

Plot wise, I never found myself to be bored. With build up, hype and twists appearing quicker than you could click your heels, Paige brings a refreshing new bestseller than will have fans pawing for more. Flipping the expectations of the wicked on its head, the plot centres around a group known as The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and their plot to assassinate their dictator. Dorothy must die, and who better to do it than the other girl prophesied to arrive by cyclone.

Now don't get me wrong, the character of Amy Gumm is not one that will be remembered as the 'other girl' for long, because as readers become more involved with her, they'll soon realise her feisty and determined second nature that will make them question just how far from Kansas they really are. Bundled with romantic interests, kickass side characters and deranged antiheroes to combat against, Paige's characters really do pack a memorable punch that will mess with your feelings as you root for your favourites and scorn the villains. 

I will admit there were a few elements that I saw could perhaps use some work, as the rush and urgency of Amy's decisions were largely based in light of her romantic interest. For me, this unfortunately seemed to take an uneasy preference at times where often it seemed unnecessary. I'm a stickler for romance done right in YA- I don't mind it being present but I strongly feel it shouldn't over-arch the main story. Sometimes we as readers go longing for adventures, purely for the adventure. Sometimes feelings get in the way and disrupt our enjoyment if introduced in a plaguing manner. 

Overall it was a touchingly powerful debut that breaks the mould of retellings. I think I would class it as on similar levels as The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - if Paige continues this level of suspense and surprise in her future books in this trilogy then I openly await their embrace. I award Dorothy Must Die a three out of five star rating on my classification scale. With a breathtaking, heart-pounding and eerie endings, readers will await the sequel with itching suspense.


  1. I've heard so many good things about this book, but I haven't read it yet. I'm not sure why - I love The Wizard of Oz! I think now I'll maybe go out and buy it, because it seems like something I'll really enjoy. I've been really enjoying retellings recently too.

    I think that the main character basing her decisions purely on romance will annoy me quite a lot though. I'm usually not a fan of romance in all genres, so this might irritate me. Like you, I enjoy reading a good romance when it's done well, but this doesn't sound like it will be done as well as it could have been. I'm still thinking of picking up the book though - I think it will still be something that I'll enjoy!

    Great review :)
    ~Denise @ The Bibliolater

    1. Oh I would definitely recommend reading it - it keeps you on your feet whilst you're reading! The whole decisions based on romance is only a small detail in the grand scheme of things and whilst it did annoy me slightly, it didn't turn off my enjoyment of the book and I'm in the same boat as you when it comes to romances!

      Thanks for your comment!


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