You are in for a special treat today, my friendly flying-monkeys. We’re going to talk about Oz! And Witches! And the evilness of pink! And Dorothy! And basically one of my new favourite retellings! EXCITED? I AM EXCITED.
Also, just a little teeny tiny note: I live in Australia, which is often abbreviated to Oz because Australians are lazy and why say 4 syllables when you can say 1? so basically YES, I live in Oz. My sister even has red Dorothy-ish shoes. Not sure about the broom, but who knows? Anything is possible.
But onwards, shall we?
Dorothy Must Die is a delightfully creeptastic retelling of The Wizard of Oz.
Basically it messes with everything you think you know about Oz. The creeptastic vibe reminded me of the Splintered by AG Howard series. You know the drill: fun happy classic = MAKE IT FREAKY MWHA HA HA.
I won Dorothy Must Die last year, and basically procrastinated reading it FOREVER (because I’m a deluded pineapple) but in the end? It was amazing and perfect and I loved it. It’s an epic retelling. So, so creepy and dark, which is perfect.
Basically the book is about a girl, Amy Gumm, who gets sucked into a tornado and tossed into Oz…after Dorothy.
It’s the “then what happened story” of Oz. Dorothy is a sadistic ruler with an affinity for lollypop pink. The Tinman and Lion and Scarecrow are all FREAKY. They torture people and do experiments and are just general not okay. Glinda is psychotic. The intoxicating amount of pink in Dorothy and Glinda’s decor is terrifying.
I love these twists. LOVE IT.
REASONS AMY GUMM IS FABULOUS:
- She’s sassy.
- She has an unmistakable pull towards the dark side.
- She can do magic and she wants to use it for good even though, well, she’s kinda wicked.
- She likes to help people, even if it involves chopping off their wings.
- She doesn’t sit down and let people trample her. SHE WILL FIGHT.
- Did I mention she starts the book as a dusty trailer-park kid, and ends seriously powerful and scary?! TELL ME THAT’S NOT AWESOME.
So then I got my little paws on the sequel, The Wicked Will Rise.
It was, OBVIOUSLY, downright marvellous. Sequel-blues is a real threat, but nope. This was just as gorgeous and vibrant as book 1. (A little quieter on the action front, but more in depth to the world building.)
There is a LOT of world-exploring here! New characters and new settings. YAAAAY. It’s incredibly imaginative. From having handkerchiefs that turn into tents, to people exploding in showers of glitter, to having beds that sort of cocoon and massage you (wantwantwant). It’s rich and lush and so well written.
But, um, I don’t ever want to go to this version of Oz.
The book waltzes in “grey areas”, which I love, but who is good?! WHO IS WICKED?! “Wicked” basically means “good”…or does it?! WHO IS THE WICKEDER? (That is totally a word, by the way.)
As always I love Amy. Her snark is a little more toned down in this one but a) she’s freaking tired after running around stabbing people, and b) she’s stressed out. I missed the humour, but her internal monologue is snippy and hilarious. And also there’s that little thing of AMY IS GETTING DARKER AND SCARIER. It’s soooo incredible. I love it when characters cross to the dark side. I mean, she’s trying not to cross, but pfft. She totally is.
- Mombi: Is a jerk and not very pleasant or present.
- Nox: I still feel “eh” about Nox and Amy’s romance. It feels…unnecessary to me? Like it’s just in there because that’s a prerequisite of YA. It doesn’t add to the story and they’re always awkward. Plus I don’t really know Nox. Uptight isn’t attractive. SO NOPE I DON’T SHIP ‘EM.
- Ozma: She’s a sweetie, and totally bonkers. Although Amy is so dismissive of her at first and only starts to care about Ozma when gets some of her power back. DON’T BE SO MEAN, AMY. Of course Ozma is definitely a wild card and kinda scary.
- Pete: I LOVE PETE. He’s one of my TOP favourite characters of this book!! I love his gangly gawkiness and his sweetie attitude and his mysteriousness and secrets.
Another thing I love about this book is how it’s actually focused on ACTION (!) and ADVENTURE (!) and CREEPY WORLD BUILDING (!!)
Sure there’s a smidge of romance, but it’s NOT the sole focus of the plot. Which is so refreshing. The plot is intense and always moving. And I’m also a huge fan of how most of the important characters are girls. (Fiiiinally.) And they’re not thinking ’bout boys, they’re off killing witches and saving lives and stabbing people. Fun times.
I’M DEFINITELY A HUGE FAN.
It has everything I want in a retelling: uniqueness, world-building, creepy twists, epic character development, action, characters toppling into the dark side, HEART BREAKING CHARACTER DEATHS (!!) and lots of wicked witches. And also all the evil people hate pink, and I kind of hate pink, so this makes me grin kind of wickedly.
Thank you HarperCollins for the review-copy of The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige! It hit shelves March 31st, 2015.
To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die….
But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn’t wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?
how do you feel about classics-turned-into-creepy-YA?? (spoiler: I LOVE IT) have you tried the Dorothy Must Die series? you should. it’s so wonderful. do you think pink is evil? ohhh, and hot question of the day: how do you feel about characters who turn villainous? yay or nay?
Cait @ Paper Fury
…is currently dyyying for the 3rd book of this series. She has so many questions! And she has NO idea how it’s going to end, but bets are on it being tragic. (Yesss please and thank you.) Besides thinking morbid Ozish thoughts, she’s watching Russian historical documentaries because she’s a NERD. Also research.