“She wore a long, formfitting, beaded gown that flared out at the bottom and was corseted so severely that I wondered how she could breathe. Her breasts weren’t the only thing Dorothy was trying to show off: the fishtail was slit up the side, revealing her most important assets.
Her shoes, of course. “
Amy Gunn hates her life. She lives in rural Kansas with a less-than-present mother and a school full of bullies who refer to her as “Salvation Army trash”. She’s dying to get out of Kansas, and get out of her life. One day, a sudden tornado transports her to the land of Oz. Amy is familiar with all the stories, and is excited to meet Glinda and Dorothy. But she soon learns that the Oz she knows is not the real Oz. A tyrannical Dorothy has taken over Oz, enslaving the flying monkeys and terrorizing the munchkins. She is unstoppable, and sucking all of the magic out of Oz. But can another girl from Kansas stop the reign of Dorothy?
This incredible retelling of The Wizard of Oz makes us rethink the good versus evil dynamic, how power corrupts, and what happens after “happily ever after”.
Dorothy Must Die is primarily a story about fighting a tyrant and finding yourself. While there is a bit of romance between Amy and one of the main male characters, it is not central to the story. I actually love this about the book. Between learning to use magic and trying to understand the dynamics of good and evil in Oz, Amy is pretty damn busy. Maybe she’ll have time for romance once her mission is done.
Feminist Score: A+ Success
Amy is a kick-ass heroine. I love her strength and passion, and the sense of justice she has. Amy faces a number of really scary situations, including a lot of violent battles and the threat of torture by the Wizard of Oz hero. She fights bravely and alone, and there’s a lot to admire in this woman.
Diversity Score: You’re Trying
This book isn’t particularly diverse. Most of the characters are white, and though we don’t know much about any of their sexuality, Amy is straight. However, I liked that Amy was from a poor broken home. As discussed in the I Was Here review, diversity in economic circumstance is an important component of diverse books.
From the time my first grade teacher read Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, I’ve always loved books that retell stories from a new point of view. This retelling was particularly well-written, and I love how Dorothy and the world of Oz were portrayed as so dark and violent. This book surprised me in the best way. I can’t wait to read the second installment, The Wicked Will Rise.
By far, Amy Gunn. Amy is a smart, quick learner with a temper not unlike mine. She’s a heroine you can relate to, and totally get behind.
“A chill shot down my spine as I remembered that things were never easy around here. good and evil were always changing places with each other.”
One element of this book that I loved was how none of the sides were purely good or evil. All parties use torture and manipulation to get their way, and Amy learns early on to trust no one.
Is this worth a book hangover?
Absolutely, especially if you like fantasy and fairy tales.
Fun Author Fact
Danielle Paige has written several books retelling the Wizard of Oz, including three novellas from Dorothy’s point of view.
Read This Next
Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. A seriously under-rated childhood favorite of mine.
… but if you’d like to read something young adult, I’d try the Wicked Years Series by Gregory Maguire. The inspiration for the Wicked play, this series tells the story of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.