Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die

by Danielle Paige

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: April 1st, 2014
by HarperCollins




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:
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!


I realized, looking around for the first time, that we weren’t in Dusty Acres anymore.

As a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz, I absolutely fell in love with Danielle Paige’s retelling of this classic tale. It’s not often that you see a retelling in the YA genre – much less a retelling about The Wizard of Oz – and I must say, I am pleasantly impressed.

We all know the story of Dorothy Gale, the little Kansas farmgirl who was caught in a tornado and instantly whisked away to the magical land of Oz, where she finds some companions and skips across the Yellow Brick Road to defeat the evil Wicked Witch of the West to earn a ticket home. Well, I hate to break it to you, but…

“…You only heard half the story. She did go home,” Indigo said. “Turns out, home wasn’t so great after all…one way or another, when Dorothy got here, that’s when all the problems started.”

Dorothy has found a way back to Oz, and is made a Queen alongside the ruler of Oz. But Dorothy isn’t used to having such power; and it’s not long before she becomes a ruthless power-hungry queen.

Enter Amy Glum. Amy Glum lives in Dusty Acres, Kansas, with a drug-addicted mother, an absentee father, and constant bullying and torment at school. One day, a tornado hits her trailer, and she is magically transported to the land of Oz. Almost immediately after she arrives, she is given a mission by a top-secret organization determined to bring Dorothy’s rule to an end.

“Simple. You’re going to kill her.” She looked right at me and said, “Dorothy must die.”

What I really enjoyed about Dorothy Must Die is the setting. Paige has managed to capture it so well, and her Oz is so creepy, yet so admirable, and I love that. It’s reminiscent somewhat of a Tim Burton-esque setting.

All in all, Dorothy Must Die is certainly an intriguing read. For those who found themselves engrossed with AG Howard’s Splintered or any other fairy-tale retelling, this is certainly something you should check out.


59 thoughts on “Dorothy Must Die

  1. I WANT TO READ THIS SO BAD. Because a) retellings rock, and b) freaky retellings rock more. x) I’m so eloquent. BUT ANYWAY. I’m a bit worried because I’ve seen a lot of “meh” reviews for this and it looks sooooo good. Gah! So I’m still definitely trying it. 3.5 isn’t too bad. 😉 Although the character development of the secondary characters sounds like could’ve used an extra nudge?

    1. Yes 😀 I’ve seen some “meh” reviews for this one as well, but if you’re a fan of retellings (as I know you are!) this is definitely one to try. The secondary characters could have used a tad more character development, but they were great overall!

  2. I’m with Cait, this book sounds freaking amazing like a true retelling that we were craving of Oz! And it’s post-apocalyptic? That is fan-freaking tastic. I’ve put this on reserve at my library, cannot wait! Lovely review as always Zoe!

    1. I KNOW! It’s so rare to see an Oz retelling, so this is definitely mucho exciting! 😉 Yeah! Glad it sounds appealing Jeann! Thank you! <3

  3. Despite a lot of bad reviews for this, I’ll admit I’m still pretty intrigued and cannot wait for this to pop up at our local bookstores. I’m one of those people who have never watched the movie, but I have read the children’s version of the book. 🙂 I need to get into this world, and I need to see what has become of all the characters. I’m glad Amy’s character sounds quite realistic as well. Awesome review, Zoe! <3

    1. Thank you Lauren! Even if you’re not a huge Oz fan, this has something for everyone and I hope you end up reading and enjoying it! 😀

  4. Hah! Picturing the old-timey Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion as vicious killers. I could see how that would get in the way of trying to see them as scary.

    Nice review. I’ll pass, myself, because Oz really doesn’t intrigue me much, but I feel like this review kinda makes up for that. ;]

    1. Yeah…just a tad – haha!

      Thank you Sierra! That means a lot! <3 If you're not into Oz - like you are - this might be one to skip like you said, but if you're feeling in a mood for a great retelling, definitely consider checking this one out!

  5. Wow I remember wanting to read this when I first saw the cover and now after reading your review I want to read it even more!!! I absolutely love retellings so I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Also, I think I should check out Splintered soon as well! Haha

    Fab review Zoe <3

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re intrigued Shirley! 😉 If you’re a fan of fairy-tale retellings, this is definitely something you should be on the lookout for! (And Splintered too…haha!)

      Thank you! <3

  6. I want it! You’ve just made me want to read it even more now. I’m opening up another tab to Amazon as we speak. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films of all time too, and I loved Splintered. How cute! A munchkin! Did you perform a musical number?

    1. Yeah! Glad it sounds up your alley Kelly! 😀
      It’s such a great film, isn’t it! (And if you loved Splintered, I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy this as well!) Haha…yes! I was in Follow the Yellow Brick Road and Ding Dong the Witch is Dead! Good times, good times! 😉

  7. Oh it’s so nice to have a good retelling like that! I love when they’re well done but I confess that I’ve never read something with the idea of Oz. That’s so nice, and I read some other great reviews about it. Thanks for the review.

    1. It is SO nice! Oz retellings aren’t very common, so I guess that it’s great to see one like this! No problem! Thank you for always leaving such sweet comments! <3

  8. I love the premise behind this book because I’m a huge The Wizard of Oz fan too, but most of the reviews that I’ve read have been less than stellar. I enjoyed Splintered though, so I might give this one a try yet. Great review!

    1. Yeah! A fellow Wizard of Oz fan! *high-fives* 😀 Yeah, most reviews I’ve read have been 3 or 4 stars, but I’d say it’s still worth it! If you like Splintered, this is definitely something you’ll have to check out.

      Thank you!

  9. Awesome review Zoe!! 🙂 I haven’t given this book much attention because (don’t hate me) I’ve never liked the Wizard of Oz. Not once have I been able to make it through the whole movie without walking away. But I find it really sad that the author turns all of the original characters evil. I feel that could ruin the original story for some.

    1. Thank you! Even if you’re not a huge Oz fan, this has something for everyone, so if you’re in the mood for a great fantasy book, this is something to check out! It’s definitely unique!

  10. I’ve never even heard of an attempt to retell the Wizard of Oz so Dorothy Must Die has really got me excited. And I’m so glad it didn’t fall short with you. I like your description of Oz being Tim Burton-esque. It kind of makes me understand while you still saw the original characters as their original characters since the setting is so dramatic maybe you didn’t take them as seriously…
    I would have liked it if Oz and the motivation of the characters were more different and less one dimensional when I eventually read it but the addition of Amy makes me think I’ll love the story. As well as Dorothy being pure evil. What I don’t get is why are her friends blindly following her. I hope the book explores that. Fantastic review as always (:

    1. Me either! I think this is the first one I’ve heard of, which is really nice in terms of originality. Haha…I’m not a very serious person, so that definitely makes sense. 😉

      Yeah, I agree. No one – not even the most evil person is 100% evil, and no one is 100% nice either, so that kind of made the characters a little flat. I wanted to see some depth! It is explained some, but I didn’t include that for spoiler reasons.

      Thank you Adriana! <3

  11. While reading your review I was reminded of Splintered by A.G. Howard, and then at the end you actually mention it, so this has sold me on the book! I mean I already wanted to read this one, but now I want to read it even more! Great review. I loved all the quotes you used 🙂

    1. Haha! Great minds think alike right?! 😉 Yeah! Glad it sounds intriguing Marianne! <3

      Thank you! 😀

  12. Baum’s books actually don’t resemble the theatre version that much. Still, I would end up picturing the same thing as well. I do enjoy retellings and have this one on my wishlist. Glad you enjoyed it and yep, I enjoyed Splintered as well!

    1. No, not very much. 😉 Haha! Glad I’m not the only one!
      If you’re a fan of retellings and Splintered like you are, this is definitely something you’ll have to check out!

  13. Every since Wicked, I’ve been very intrigued with the retelling of Oz. Surely, there can’t be anything all that original from a retelling? But then this book came out, and it completely changed my perspective because IT SOUNDS AMAZING!!! It’s always so refreshing to see a tale you know so well tipped on its head. Dorothy sounds so malicious, and watching that trailer just gets me so hyped up for this book. Wonderful review Zoe!! Hehe, so awesome you got to play a munchkin! 😀

    1. Ooh, Wicked…yes! I <3 that musical! Anyway... it is definitely an intriguing concept, isn't it? :D Exactly...I love being able to read a retelling and than say, "Oh wow! I thought I knew that character, but I didn’t…at all!

      Thank you Joy! 😉

  14. I actually read a lot of mixed reviews on this. It almost seemed like people either love it or hate it. So this was refreshing. I never actually seen the Wizard of Oz, but cannot say that I ain’t curious about this book.

    1. It’s definitely gotten some mixed reviews, hasn’t it? I’d still say it’s worth a read regardless, but that’s just one opinion! Lily…you’re completely missing out! The Wizard of Oz is awesomesauce! 😉 But even if you haven’t seen it, this has something for everyone, so I’m interested in seeing what you think when / if you read it!

  15. Awesome review!

    You’ve made me want to read this book even more. 😀 I read an excerpt a little while ago and Amy was so intriguing…almost a little bit of Katniss in her (maybe it’s just me). Also, I LOVE re-tellings so this should be good (would you recommend reading the original books first or just diving into Dorothy Must Die?

    1. Thank you Skylar! (Love your name BTW 😀 )

      Yeah! My job is done then! Haha! I didn’t think of her that way, but now that you’ve mentioned it, yes, she does have a bit of Katniss in her!

      Hmm…it depends. If you know the original story of Oz pretty well, then go for it! If you don’t know the story or haven’t watched the movie yet, I’d definitely recommend reading or watching the original first, just so you can see where everything changes in this retelling. But, of course, it’s up to you! 😀

    1. Yes! It gives me the chills just watching it!
      I’m glad it sounds intriguing Mel! The setting was a bit less convincing than I had hoped, but at least everything else was well done! 😀
      Thank you! <3

  16. A super review. I love the original story of the Oz, so I am not too sure I would enjoy the characters changing into something bad instead of good, so I am not too sure this book would be for me. I do remember you being in the Oz and all I can say is that it made me smile throughout the entire play. I guess what I am saying I want to remember the Oz with a smile on my face. Tremendous review.

  17. I love an intriguing read! I want to read this one so badly, and I hope that I’ll end up liking the setting and protagonist as much as you did. It’s a shame that there’s not that many deep similarities, but I think other parts of the book will make up for that for me. 🙂 Great review, Zoe!

    1. Me too! I hope you do too Katlin…she’s such a great character! 😀

      There were definitely some on-the-surface similarities (all the characters, the Yellow Brick Road, etc), but I never felt there was any deep metaphorical Oz comparisons, and that bugged me. It definitely didn’t stop me from enjoying this though, so I hope it doesn’t discourage you either!

      Thank you! <3

  18. I’ve had this book for what, 2 weeks now? But I haven’t cracked a peek. I’ve been reading good reviews about it, though, and I like that it’s creepy! I wonder if this one will give me nightmares…hmm. But this is Oz, it’s already creepy, and I bet I’ll dream about it! Fantastic review, Zoe!

    1. If you like retellings, this is definitely something you should pick up ASAP! 😀 Haha, it is rather clever, yes?

  19. HAHA Lovely review. I’m kinda hesitant to read Dorothy Must Die since my friends hated it, but I’ll ignore them for now. I wanted to read this book because I also liked the OZ and especially after watching the broadway show “Wicked”. Glad you enjoy it!

    1. Thank you Chyna! There have certainly been some mixed reviews, but I’m interested in seeing what you think. YES! Wicked is AWESOME, right? <3 Haha...I'm a total theatre geek, so that show pretty much rules my life! 😉

      Thank you!

  20. Great review 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed this book; but sorry you didn’t fully love it. Thank you for sharing and being honest. <3 I'm still a bit unsure about the book, but I do think it sounds pretty awesome ;p
    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog a while ago. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina’s Books

  21. I’m reading this right now. I didn’t read your review yet but I will definitely come back after I finished this book. Did you read the novella yet?

    1. Oooh! I can’t wait to see what you think Irish! I haven’t read the novella yet, but I’m definitely going to when I have a bit more time on my hands. 😀

  22. I’m glad that you liked it. The few reviews that I’ve seen weren’t so good. Which sucks because like you, I really like the Wizard of Oz (I want to say love, but I think it’s just a strong like, for me). I think I’m going to give it a chance. I can’t to read it and see what I think for myself.

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