Published by Harper Collins on April 1st 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Suggested age range: 13 and up
The Book: Oz is not the place you remember. When Dorothy returns to Oz a second time (read No Place Like Oz, the prequel novella), the power of magic starts to go to her head. Eventually, this leads her to displace Ozma as ruler, and give powerful roles to the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Lion. Basically, Dorothy begins to do pretty bad things, and her supporting trio also joins in. They take part in horrible acts perpetuated against the citizens of Oz, and the land becomes a place that is slowly being sucked of its magic. All for Dorothy. So, when Amy Gumm arrives in Oz after a tornado hits her trailer park in Kansas, she’s surprised at what she discovers. She is also not expecting to be told that she may be the only one who can save Oz. She’ll just have to accomplish a few tasks: Steal the scarecrow’s brain. Get the tin woodman’s heart. Grab the lion’s courage. And then, kill Dorothy.
Spirituality in Dorothy Must Die: There is a spiritual dimension to some YA books that I recognized in this dark Oz retelling. It’s tied up in the way the protagonist reacts to injustice and strives to do the right thing, even under pressure. Even though Amy is told to stay focused on one thing, and one thing alone, she doesn’t hesitate to diverge from the course when she is offered the chance to save a life. I recognized a sensitivity in Amy, even under her hard shell, to the suffering going on around her. Certainly, there are consequences to Amy making decisions to diverge from the path when she is told differently, but I admired her compassion and her strength that is prevalent throughout the story.
Who Should Read This Book: Any Wizard of Oz fans out there? You must read this! It’s simple really. Just grab the book, open, and begin! If you enjoyed any of Gregoy Maguires books (Wicked, etc.), then there’s a good chance you will like this book. Be prepared, however—this is going to be a trilogy, and while Paige does provide a good conclusion, in my mind, you are certainly left wishing you could continue the journey in Oz.
The Final Word: Did I really just read this book right after it was published? Do I really have to probably wait a whole year for the sequel? The answer is yes and yes. I love all things Oz-related, so you can imagine my excitement at reading this twisted Oz reworking. Paige has really done it with this one—it has action, introspection, drama, mystery, and intrigue. You may never look at Oz the same way again. And that’s ok. But it really is a pity we have to wait a year for the sequel. One reassuring thought, however, is that you can sink your teeth into the prequel, No Place Like Oz, after reading Dorothy Must Die. No vampires included.