Monday, April 14, 2014
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
I'm actually writing a book review! I can't even remember the last time I did that. I'm also officially joining Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge with this post which I sadly should've done a month ago. In my head I joined a month ago if that counts >_ > There's no way I could miss it! I've been here for every one and I can't get over the fact that this is the EIGHTH Once Upon a Time Challenge! Thanks once again for hosting it Carl!
So, Dorothy Must Die. I have to admit that the marketing campaign won me over for this one. The cover of the book paired with the title was all I needed to buy this one. But the story itself more than holds up to the hype! It's a book that holds many parallels to the original Oz story, yet takes itself into much, much darker places.
Amy Gumm, a young girl from Kansas (sound familiar), wants nothing more than to get away from her life. She lives in a trailer with her drug addicted mother who would seemingly rather spend time with her pet rat than her. Amy is constantly harassed at school because of her socioeconomic class, a fact that doesn't bother Amy in itself (which I loved about her), but the constant bullying does get to her. Everything gets turned upside down one afternoon when a tornado comes through town, taking Amy with it and landing her in a world that seems oddly familiar to her. A world she's seen before in the movies and read about in books. Yep...she's not in Kansas anymore.
But this isn't the Oz that we all know. Dorothy came back to Oz after she went back to Kansas and much like Amy's mother is addicted to pills, Dorothy has become addicted to magic and has slowly drained Oz of almost all of it becoming a tyrannical leader along the way. The scarecrow, the tin woodsman, the lion and Glinda have become the leaders of her court, bestowing unspeakable tragedies upon the citizens of Oz. Seriously, some of the stuff in this book is just appalling.
When Dorothy hears about Amy, she instantly feels threatened, while there are others that see Amy as a way to rid Oz of Dorothy and restore Oz to what it once was. In return for her safety, Amy's given a mission by those who want Dorothy gone....kill her.
Oh if only things were that easy for Amy...and THAT'S why I loved this book so much. Because the answers aren't ever made that simple. Paige created a wonderful character with Amy. A character that's neither perfectly good nor evil. She has moments of guttural rage...towards her mother's addiction, towards the unspeakable injustices being done in Oz...and moments when she acts on that rage and you want to say "oh no Amy!" But then there are times when she steps back and sees the good underneath the seemingly complete evil in a situation too, where she questions how a rash decision might affect her and might affect others. In other words, she created a truly human character with all of her imperfections, something that's too rare these days in literature.
I also liked that there was no tiptoeing in this book when it came to death, addiction, bad things happening to good people, the bad guy winning sometimes, etc. I feel like that happens too often, not just in literature, but "entertainment" in general. And I get it to an extent...entertainment is supposed to be an escape for the most part. But I want my books to make me think and be a reflection of the real world too. And the good guy doesn't always win in the real world. But it's the lessons we take out of a situation even if good doesn't seem to prevail. And I like that Paige explored that some with this book. She reminded me some of George R.R. Martin with this book. I hadn't felt so unsafe with the lives of characters since reading Game of Thrones!
I'm also really happy that there will be at least another book in this world...I realized as the pages got fewer and fewer towards the end that this book was not going to end neatly. And while I was upset about that at first, I'm now looking forward to book two. And I'm excited too that there IS a prequel novella out there as an e-book about Dorothy's rise to power! About to go download that now ;) Great start to Once Upon a Time!