Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: Book Review

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Cover of Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

3.5 Stars

Amy Gumm can’t wait to get out of Kansas. A smart girl who doesn’t fit in with her classmates, she’s always the butt of their jokes. Her mom disconnected years ago, leaving Amy to take care of both of them. Still, she doesn’t expect to leave Kansas like this.

When a tornado blows through Amy’s trailer park, she gets blown away to Oz. But this isn’t an Oz any of us would recognize. The yellow brick road is fading. The Munchkins are enslaved. There are vast canyons where the magic has been mined from the earth. It turns out, Dorothy returned to Oz and is causing all this trouble. A league finds Amy and convinces her to help them, because Dorothy must die if Oz is to be saved.

First off, my seventeen-year-old cousin handed this to me, super-excited, and told me I had to read it. She rated it 5 stars.

I’m leaning more toward 3.5. It was exciting and I tore through it, but I’m just a little over YA series containing books that always end with more questions than answers.

That aside.

I really liked Amy. She’s got personality. The book is written from her point of view and she’s very sarcastic and abrasive. I like her. She is what she is. She doesn’t bother trying to fit in at her school because she knows she’s got bigger plans for her future than any of the other kids. She stays true to herself. She’s just not entirely who she is yet. She’s not too sure about this whole “Dorothy must die” thing either, but she’s going along with it because something has to change. She’s always questioning what’s “Good” and what’s “Wicked.” They’ve gotten all tangled up in this Oz. Yet, as one character points out, she always manages to do what’s right. That’s not always easy to determine, much less easy to follow through with. Points to Amy.

She’s by far the most well-developed character, but I did like the others that I was supposed to like, I just have lots of questions about them. I like Nox, the guy who’s training Amy, but I’m not sure if he’s trustworthy. Luckily, Amy’s not entirely sure either. There’s another guy, Pete, who always manages to show up when Amy’s in trouble and save her in the nick of time. I was dying to know what was going on with him! I finally got a surprising answer at the end, but that just led to even more questions. I really want to know what The Wizard’s angle in all of this is. I’m not sure what to think about the other members of the order. They seem to believe that any means are justified as long as they take out Dorothy in the end.

The original characters are imagined pretty perfectly. What would Dorothy be like if she were evil? Probably just like this. Cute and childish and then suddenly imaginatively horrifying. The Lion is a ravening beast. The Tin Woodman is a heartless enforcer. The Scarecrow is a not-very-brilliant mad scientist. See? It all makes a twisted kind of sense.

I was surprised by how violent the book was. It wasn’t anything that really bothered me, but there is a lot of blood and killing.

I do wish this book had answered more of my endless questions and ended on less of a cliffhanger, but I enjoyed it. If you’re intrigued at all, go ahead and give it a try.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Danielle Paige on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Dorothy Must Die at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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