Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die, book one
published on April 1st 2014 by HarperCollins
fantasy | retellings | romance

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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.

REVIEWIt’s pretty obvious why this one was a must-read for me, right? A Wizard of Oz retelling where Dorothy is evil… I had to read it. No questions asked. And then I finished it… and was utterly disappointed. Remember my review of Hexed? I kind of felt that the writing in both books were similar, so if you enjoyed one you’ll maybe enjoy the other.

So the story’s told from Amy Gumm’s perspective. Ah, Amy. The first word that comes to mind when I think of her is shallow. She can’t listen to any sort of advice or tips to survive, that girl. She just has to do the exact OPPOSITE of what other people told her to. Oh, and, there was this DYING girl–but she doesn’t give a shit. She only cares that the guy she likes is tending to said dying girl.

Character development? Where!? All of the characters felt dry and one-dimensional. If they were developed to the slightest bit, they died and we didn’t get more from them.

I did enjoy Dorothy Must Die‘s concept. It’s brilliant, right? I loved picturing the graphic descriptions regarding the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow… Oz is a creepy place and I would not want to live there. Despite the amazing potential the setting and plot had, I think the execution was kind of flat. Although there were the right amount of descriptions, I couldn’t get a grasp of how Oz felt like. I didn’t get the sense of a magical world with rich characters–rather, I felt like I was reading about a dry desert with a girl who lived alone. Everything just lacked substance for me.

What else–oh, yes. I didn’t particularly feel like Dorothy was “evil” at all. She was just like some deranged attention-seeking bitch. And I definitely DO NOT appreciate how her character was portrayed as sort of a slut (a lot of cleavage was mentioned). Nope. Not how I picture an evil Dorothy at all.

“For the Crime of Sass, This Monkey Is Hereby Sentenced to Official Attitude Adjustment. Do Not Tamper. By Royal Order of Princess Dorothy.”

Does that sound evil to you? No? Deranged bitch is more like it, right?

Wondering about the romance? HA. Insta-attraction, insta-jealousy–I can’t even begin to describe how much this aspect bothered me. This is one of those books that do not need romance to make it interesting, okay? Nox, the love interest, was so boring and predictable. It was obvious that he would be the brooding love interest and that he would eventually like her back–a typical male lead. Nothing special at all.

This book did have those little details that I appreciated, hence my non-DNF rating for the book. For example:

> Characters were realistic and betrayed one another to save themselves. We would probably do that to, if we’re being honest.

> Amy didn’t magically turn into super-girl during tough situations. She was initially weak and admitted that a life-or-death situation wouldn’t suddenly give her super strength.

> There was a good amount of descriptions for me to picture the creepy and disturbing things the people of Oz have become. There was some action and gore as well.

Dorothy Must Die was a waste of potential, if you ask me. So much could have been done with the book, but ultimately it lacked the flair I’m looking for in retellings of my favorite childhood stories.


Looking for a story to ruin your childhood and turn all you’ve ever known into something dark? Give this a shot. It’s a book you’ll either love or hate, though.


Skulls 1.5

1.5 skulls


Have you read from Jennifer Brown before? How do you feel about books that deal with sensitive issues?

Aimee absolutely adores retellings–most of the time. She loves whimsical stories that might ruin her childhood but give her new perspectives on classic stories.

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

  1. Amy-Nox is a huge let down for me.. that kiss is just too awkward and sudden. Now we know who she’ll end up with. It would have been better if the author left the romance until the next book.

    Anyway, I also like the evil idea of Scarescrow, Tinman and the Lion. It sorta explains that human beings are weak when it comes to power. Once we have a taste of it, we tend to be greedy and this is what happened to these three. The knowledge, emotion and courage consumed them.

    As for Dorothy, you’re right about that. She doesn’t feel like EVIL, more like just a bitch and attention-seeker. I guess that author wants her character to still be redeemable in the end? I’m guessing that Glinda is the one wicked here, not Dorothy. Did you read the novella?


  2. This was one of the most anticipated books this year, and I feel so bad that it didn’t do it for you! Ack! Now that I am starting to read again, I don’t know if I want to dive into this. I just read We Were Liars and gave it a 2! Nevertheless, I am not afraid to read this book, even if it will change everything that I believed about Oz :D


  3. I just read the first paragraph of your review and jumped here Aimee haha! But I read your last statement too, which made me think twice about this book. I sure did love Hexed, but I’m not sure if I want my childhood heros ruined. So I’m still contemplating if I should get this book soon, or maybe get other books first.

    But looking back at our totally different taste, I will still give this a try. :P


  4. Eeeek. I actually quite liked this one, gave it four stars :o Lol think this is the first time we’ve ever really disagreed on a book. Still, I can see where you’re coming from and respect your opinions c: Lol prepare yourself now for a long ramble like comment from me now.

    I found the romance not to be the focus of the story, which is why it didn’t bother me. I feel like this would have bothered me if I hadn’t known that Dorothy Must Die was the beginning of a trilogy. I except there to be much better development of the romance the love interest in the novels to come. The romance was probably the weakest element of the story though, it does seem quite predictable.

    I personally did find Dorothy to be evil though, I mean did reanimate a corpse. And that mouse scene O.o She’s also ruining life for all of the good creatures of Oz by draining the magic. Something that did bother me too though was the hyper sexualization of Dorothy. It seemed quite out of place and frankly annoyed me, it was thinly veiled slut shaming tbh. I hope the character of Dorothy is better developed in future novels c:

    I found Amy to not be shallow, I saw a lot of realistic depth in her. Something I loved about Amy was how the author paints her relationship with her mother. It’s definitely a rocky one. Still, you can still plainly see that Amy cares about her mother. Throughout this novel you see Amy struggle with her feelings towards her mother and I loved seeing that the mother still had a prominent role in the story, even if she wasn’t directly involved with things in Oz. Amy also just gets thrust in this unfamiliar world and showed dislike, confusion and made bad choices. I feel like I would have done the same. However I feel as if she learns from them. I also saw some great character growth from her and I hope this continues in the sequels.

    The setting was very atmospheric and through the descriptions Danielle gave, I felt Oz albeit utterly twisted and dark. I’m sorry you didn’t feel the same way /: I can see how that further your disappointment of the story.

    Great review Aimee <33 you supported your points quite well.

    again sorry for this monster comment hehe[;


  5. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite all time films and I’ve been so incredibly excited to read it after seeing Jeann’s review. I’m so sorry you didn’t rwally enjoy it, the characters actually sound quite wooden sadly. I’m still going to give it a go, but will push it back a bit. Awesomely honest review :)


  6. Will it be weird if I would say that I never really watched the The Wizard of Oz, I think I watched the Muppets version, but is that really legit? Haha, well anyway I didn’t see it, so it wouldn’t break my childhood memories. But I’m not really interested in this book anyway, due to me not knowing the original plot line.

    BTW, that quote sounds like something I would read/hear from Alice in Wonderland. Just sayin’ :D


  7. Mehhh, I’m so disappointed that this didn’t work out for you, Aimee. I’ve been really looking forward to Dorothy Must Die because it sounded AMAZING and original, and also I loved the spin the author created, but turns out the blurb was too good to be true. It’s like a part of my heart is broken whenever this happens. >.< (Yep, I can be melodramatic when I want to! :P)

    Okay, Amy sounds awful, like one of those stupid protagonists who don't care about anything other than getting a boyfriend, and being jealous over that boyfriend when he talks to another female. It's so stupid and ridiculous. It's bad enough that you had to endure all of Amy's shit — but to hear that the rest of the characters were pretty much like that, too? It's amazing that you still managed to finish the story even with such crappy characters!

    And eh, the part I was looking forward to most (besides this new and horrible Oz) was Dorothy. I hate it when villains aren't evil enough, or are too evil without a good reason. To be honest, based on the quote you shared, Dorothy sounds more like some spoiled middle-grader whose parents did everything she asked. "Crime of Sass"? Seriously? And for some reason, I'm starting to picture Dorothy as Honey Boo Boo. (It's mean, I know, but kind of hilarious. xD)

    I agree, this sounds like such a waste of potential. Dorothy Must Die was on my wishlist before, but now I think I'm going to have to take it off because I probably won't give it a shot now. Brilliant review though! At least I won't have to suffer through the pain of nearly 500 pages. O_O


  8. Yep, this was crap. SO MUCH CRAP. All the characters were so flat, not to mention the setting. Crappiest part of the book. Hell, every time I think of this book, I start yawning like a hippo. And here I go again.


  9. Oh dear…I am currently reading Hexed and absolutely detest the writing and MC so I’m no longer sure if I’ll enjoy this one. I have definitely been wanting to because of the gorgeous cover and idea of a retelling but ugggggh.

    Lovely review, Aimee! <33


  10. Soooo much potential!! And once again due to poor execution, bland characters and insta-love, we have lost another worthy book. This needs to stop happening! Sorry this one sucked so much, I hope your next read is much better Aimee xx


  11. “She just has to do the exact OPPOSITE of what other people told her to.” That’s one of the most annoying things ever. It’s okay to rebel and whatnot, it’s okay to make people see that doubting you was wrong and such, but seriously? Just listen to what wiser and more experienced crowd is telling you -.- I’m so sorry the characters didn’t have much depth in your eyes. I mean.. I hope you were “wrong” in the sense that I will read this pretty someday and hopefully we can have a discussion where we disagree and have different opinions rather than I need to tell you how right you were all along :D Haha. Soory it wasn’t for you, cutiepie!


  12. Ohh this is disappointing! Insta love and bad execution definitely tick me off. Sorry it wasn’t for you, but I hope your next read is more enjoyable!


  13. Thank you Aimee!!! I’m glad i’m not the only black sheep on this one since i had a lot of the same issues as you. I thought the overall plot was going to be interesting but the execution was not my favourite. I felt like this whole book was a prequel if that makes sense, Like i feel like we’ll finallly delve into the story in the second book *sighs*. Plus the insta-love thing was just a major tick off. I was not a fan and their “romance” gave me seoruis whiplash *shakes head*


  14. Aww…I personally really liked this one, but I’m sorry you couldn’t get in to it! :( I can totally see where you’re coming from though…if you couldn’t connect to Amy or the writing style, it’s definitely hard to enjoy the story as a whole. Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3


  15. It sucks that you didn’t like this but even if you did, I probably still wouldn’t want to read it. I’ve heard heaps about the Full Fathom Five and I definitely don’t want to support it. Lovely review Aimee! Thank you so much for sharing. Makes me feel less bad about not wanting to read it. :P


  16. Oh no, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I agree that the romance coulda shoulda been WAY more interesting, though I’m giving the benefit of the doubt as far as the evil Dorothy goes right now–maybe the prequel novella or the sequels will explore that a bit more. I enjoyed this one, but I’m sorry you were disappointed by it. :(

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


  17. I haven’t been reading a lot of good things about this novel, which makes me really sad because the premise sounds amazing.

    That quote you posted almost puts me off the book entirely. It just sounds really juvenile, and I don’t appreciate that …

    This is a wonderfully sassy review, Aimee! :D


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