This book was just the right shade of ridiculous.
I read The Wizard of Oz when I was 11 or 12, and I remember being surprised at how absurd the whole land of Oz was. I’m not sure why I was surprised by that, to be honest, I’ve watched the movie dozens of times and there are flying monkeys and creatures called “Winkies” in it, so I should have known what I was getting myself into. Regardless, my very serious 11 year old brain scoffed (as much as an 11 year old can scoff) a little bit at the fantastical and ridiculous land of Oz. Maybe my main issue was that Dorothy never took any time to really comment on the absurdity? Or at least I didn’t feel like she did. In The Wizard of Oz, we see Oz (and all of its oddities) through Dorothy’s eyes, and I had felt like she just accepted it, which I could not handle.**
But this isn’t a review of The Wizard of Oz, it’s a review of Dorothy Must Die. And while Danielle Paige maintains the absurdity of L. Frank Baum’s Oz, her protagonist, Amy, is very cautious about the whole thing. She is the opposite of what I remember Dorothy Gale to be. Baum’s Dorothy had innocent pigtails. Amy has bright pink hair. Instead of a cute dog, she has a pet rat. She doesn’t live on a farm with her loving aunt and uncle and friendly farm hands, she lives in a trailer park because her father abandoned her and her mother’s an alcoholic. These differences make Amy take in Oz through a completely different filter, and makes the absurdities a lot easier to swallow.
I love how Danielle Paige has revamped Oz. I love how she has blurred the lines between Good and Wicked, and what those labels really mean. I love how she has given us an entirely new Oz. I love that I have absolutely no idea who to trust.
What I didn’t love was the pacing of this novel. I found the book easy and quick to read, but the timing of everything really surprised me. I was constantly under the impression that events had taken place over a few days, and then was told that it had really been several weeks. Part of this may have been due to Dorothy’s apparent moodiness with the day and night time, but I think it was more than that. And every time that Amy mentioned having spent the past few weeks working on something, I was pulled out of the story, trying to figure out the time warp.
That being said, I am very excited to read The Wicked Will Rise.
**this may not be how the book is actually written, but it is how I remember feeling when I read it over a decade ago