Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die

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

I'm not entirely sure I enjoyed this as much as "No Place Like Oz" honestly.  Amy was abrasive, obnoxious and kind of boring.  Possibly not the smartest bulb either.  For example if a native of a new country (or world) insists that what you are doing is dangerous/illegal/stupid wouldn't it make sense to listen to them?  At least until you understand the lay of the land better?  Recklessly running around doing and saying things has to be somewhere on the list of "When stuck in a new land don't do this".

Here's the thing - Paige has Amy go through a lot of training and reconnaissance so they could figure out what's happening.  You see despite Amy being "like Dorothy" and despite her being more then slightly willing to make things right in the land of Oz, the rebellion has very little working knowledge of what's what.  Dorothy is frightfully good at being a tyrant apparently--which really anyone who has had to deal with a disenchanted 16 year old who believes they deserve more will understand why she's good at being a tyrant--and the rebellion has other concerns.

Like what's up with Ozma?  Also the land is dying and corrupting and Dorothy is going around cursing people into happiness (which I think maybe Dorothy is besties with the Joker from Batman?).  Also the Tin Man is ten shades of creepy--you wouldn't recognize him if you didn't know who he was, and the Scarecrow--who had seemed to be becoming rather malevolent in No Place, is no nicer here.  Let's not talk about the Lion.

And in case anyone was worried yes there is a romance, though it doesn't have much time to interfere with the plot (mostly because the plot doesn't have much time to be plot).  Amy is rather level-headed and suspicious of the handsome, snarky, arrogant, young man who's being sneaky.  

Its possible that No Place set me up for a bit of a let down.  I had expected the confrontation with Dorothy--or at least her friends--to occur much sooner then it did in the book.  Not the resolution, but certainly some sort of...fight?  No not even that.  I'm not sure what I expected but I didn't expect a book that reads more like a training montage at times.  Amy does have a confrontation with the Tin Man early on, but it goes horribly wrong on many levels.

What the book failed to convince me of is that I don't think Paige will end this series with Dorothy dying. Or at least not dying willingly once she realizes everything she's done.  She isn't Evil.  She's a girl who got swept up in something fantastic and then couldn't cope with the ordinary.  She's convinced that Ozma was the interloper, that she was the Wicked One and that she, Dorothy, was saving Oz. 

The person behind it all, the one who manipulated things to begin with, played on Dorothy's fears and weaknesses expertly.  Then when tragedy struck Dorothy couldn't face what she had done and thus blamed how "wrong" Oz was for her troubles.  Hadn't she fought the Wicked Witch?  Didn't she reveal the false Wizard for what he was?  Glinda told her that was her destiny and she did it and now she's being told she was wrong.  That everything extraordinary about her was wrong.

I don't blame her for turning out the way she did honestly.