Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Published by HarperTeen on April 1, 2014
Pages: 452
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

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!

While Dorothy Must Die was a fascinating, deliciously dark take on The Wizard of Oz, it fell short of the hype that surrounded it. I had such high hopes for this book and I definitely felt disappointed.

When I read, I’m very character-driven and I didn’t connect with or care about any of the characters. The ones I DID like, we didn’t learn enough about. And the ones I wanted to learn more about? They ended up dead – Well, most of them, anyway.

Of all the characters, the one I wanted to connect the most with was Amy. And I didn’t connect with her at all. I didn’t care what happened to her, I didn’t care how she felt or what she was going through. She just didn’t spark any interest and I was disappointed that I didn’t connect with or care for her. Honestly, I kind of wish the book had been told in at least one other person’s POV, because I got bored seeing things through her eyes only.

Of all things, I would have loved to learn more about Dorothy. She’s the villain of the story. We know she needs to die. But WHY? How did she get to be the way she is? How did she go from sweet farm girl to vindictive princess? They say the best villain is one we can sympathize with and feel bad for. But we didn’t learn enough about Dorothy to feel bad for her. I would have loved more background and, again, some chapters from her POV.

I loved Indigo, Pete, Nox and Jellia. I can’t say much about any of them without spoilers. But needless to say, I’m not happy with so many things that happened..

Nox was the “love interest” and I say it like that because.. Well, I just wasn’t feeling the romance. There was nothing there. At all. And there was “sort of” a love triangle with Pete but… Well… Yeah, that was a big let-down.

There were a LOT of characters. I know some people said that, if you’ve read ALL the Wizard of Oz books, not just the first and original, you’ll meet characters in Dorothy Must Die that you’ll recognize. But for those who haven’t read all of the original classic series? It felt like character overload. The book felt stretched thin with so many characters.

I’ve heard Dorothy Must Die is a part of a trilogy. I spoke with one friend who felt it could have been a stand-alone. I agree, but I also think it could be a duology. To me, this book felt like it had “Second Book Syndrome.” For those who don’t know, “Second Book Syndrome” is the second book in a trilogy and it almost ALWAYS falls short of expectations. It also always just feels like a bridge between the first book and the epic third book. So… What does this mean? Dorothy Must Die felt like filler – like everything we learn is just meant to get us into book two, into the meat of the story. It does nothing but set things up. About 80% of the book just dragged. Yeah, things happened. But… it dragged. It definitely didn’t need to be 400+ pages.

Overall I loved the plot and concept. I loved the dark, twisted version of Oz. It was creepy and wonderfully re-imagined. But I just didn’t connect with any of the characters and it dragged too much. I’m still VERY excited for book two because, like I said in the last paragraph, it felt like Dorothy Must Die was settings things up for book two and I have a feeling the real heart of the story and all the action will occur in book two. So I’m definitely excited to see what happens next – I’m just disappointed that Dorothy Must Die didn’t live up to the hype and my own expectations.


8 thoughts on “Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

  1. I’ve been quite wondering about this one, and I know I’ll go into it with low expectations. The whole story of how Dorothy returns and starts her descent into evilness is told in the prequel novella, btw!

  2. I’ve also been super curious about this book. I just bought it the other day and was surprised that it was 400 pages!! I’m sorry you didn’t connect with the many many characters :( That’s sort of something that is important to me, so hopefully I’ll be able to feel something more for Amy than you did!! Also after reading your review and Pili’s comment, I defintiely think I’m going to read the prequel first… thanks!

  3. Hmph. I’ve seen a couple great reviews for this one but the majority I’ve seen have been much less enthused. I’m really not sure if I would like this or not. I imagine it’ll be a long while before I attempt it. Wonderful sorry it didn’t work for you. Connecting with the characters (esp the MC) is so important.

  4. I’ve read a lot of good reviews of this book, but from this review, I’m not sure if I’d like it. I really hate when the villain is just ‘evil’ and has no true backstory. And I’m not so sure how I feel about the half-assed romance…I like sideline romance, but what you describe sounds more…dull. Eh. I guess I’ll read the book (someday) and see. :)
    Thanks for the review! :)

    • There’s a prequel novella and, supposedly, it explains more of Dorothy’s back-story, so reading that first might help! If you end up reading it and Dorothy Must Die, I hope you enjoy them more than I did!

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