Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

July 18th, 2014 Kimberly Review 90 Comments

18th Jul
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Narrator: Devon Sorvari
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 4 cups

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 bluebirds. 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 a yellow brick road—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.

I was excited to read Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and chose to listen to the audio version. The tale introduces us to Amy Gumm from Kansas who finds herself in Oz. Only it is not the place she remembers from the movie she and her mother use to watch. In fact, something is terribly wrong. Paige twists Oz into a dark place filled with nightmares, and I found myself quickly immersed in this world.

I loved the dark Oz that Paige created from the blacken fields, silent forests and enslaved monkeys. Gone are the smiling tin man and adorable cowardly lion. The Scarecrow will make you shiver. We meet Dorothy, the Wizard and spend time in the Emerald City. As a child, I dreamed of traveling to Oz, but Paige’s Oz will make you long to click you fuzzy slippers as you cry, “there is no place like home.”

Amy does not live on a farm. She lives in a trailer park with her drug-addicted mother and is tormented by the high school “mean girl.” She does not have a lot of confidence and we get to see growth in her throughout the novel. At times, she is a little abrasive, but I felt her frustration at being thrust into a battle and not knowing the players. There is a hint of romance and at first; I thought we were going to get a triangle, but no worries on that count. If romance is necessary for your reading pleasure, you may be a tad disappointed as this one takes a back seat to the action, suspense and mysteries of Oz, Dorothy and the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

While not without flaws, I had to admire Paige’s take on Oz, and hope the next novel gives us more answers as to what went wrong and who is responsible. The tale’s ebb and flow for the most part was well paced. It dragged a little in the middle, and I felt it lost direction. However, the ending was deliciously paced and intense. Paige weaved in magic, contraptions, and spells while giving me a panoramic view of Oz. Where this fell a little flat for me is in the execution. While the world of Oz is dark it often boarders on ridiculous taking away the darker tones I would have appreciated. The novel for all its wonder did not provide many answers and was more of an introduction. I am hoping that book two digs a little deeper and answers questions. I would love to see Tim Burton get his hands on this. It would make quite the twisted movie.

Devon Sorvari narrated, and I felt her pacing, tone and voice added to the tale. She did an excellent Dorothy and made me want to slap the snot out of her. Amy could be annoying, and Devon did an excellent job of showing her frustration, fear and determination.

Despite some issues with Dorothy Must Die, Paige held me captive, and I am already anticipating the release of book two in 2015. No Place Like Oz is a prequel and currently available. It also appears that a novella will release later this year as part of the Dorothy Must Die series.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

90 Responses to “Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige”

  1. Michelle

    I think I am most excited to see the authors take on Oz. I have seen some mixed reviews on this book, but the dark Oz has me super interested so I still want to check it out.

    Glad you liked it Kimba. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is far from perfect Michelle, but I found the world intriguing and the last part of the book was the strongest, leaving me excited for book two. I think the audio helped me in the character department.

  2. Francine Soleil

    Eep. I’m not a big fan of first books that only feel like an introduction. I think that each book should have it’s own complete identity. But this book is definitely intriguing. I loved the original – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – and I also loved Gregory Maguire’s retelling in Wicked, which was a lot darker than the original. I think Dorothy Must Die is just about the same so I do want to know where the author took this story.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It had issues, but I loved how dark Oz was. Thanks Francine!

  3. Ginny

    This one has been on my wish list but I think I’m going to wait until closer to book 2 release to read it. That way I will remember to read both of them and not end up frustrated at the end of book 1. I’m curious about the dark world. Heck those monkeys in the real Wizard of Oz scared me when I was a kid. 😉

  4. Angie

    I really want to read this book myself. Though I did hear it ends in too much of a cliffhanger. I might wait until more books are out in the series because of that. I did see a lot of people complaining about the marketing of this book too. People were saying the publishing company is terrible to writers, and I read the blurb is incorrect. I don’t know what to think!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was far from perfect, but some aspects and the dark world were delightful. It might not be a bad idea to wait for reviews of book two.

  5. Lark

    Great review, Kimba, and very clear on what worked well and what didn’t. I’m such an Oz fan that I’m really worried I would hate this dark take on Oz. I did read a collection of Oz short stories last year, including a very dystopian take on the Emerald City by Seanan McGuire. It was really good, but I found myself preferring the more hopeful versions of Oz (even if none of them were quite the Oz I remember from the books — I should mention that as a child, I read almost all the L. Frank Baum Oz books and a fair number of the official ones by other authors.) I dunno… I think I’ll hold off on this for a bit.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved the dark aspect and how did I miss McGuire’s book? I would wait to see how reviews are for book two.

  6. Faye D'Social Potato

    I’ve always felt like Oz was this lovely, beautiful, bright place where nothing can go wrong, so having a dark take on it is definitly an interesting angle. I’d like to read this one now! Your review was so balanced 🙂 The rest I’ve read have been either EXTREMELY POSITIVE or EXTREMELY NEGATIVE it was really hard to ascertain whether it was for me!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad I could help Faye. While it wasn’t perfect, the second part was stronger and I have hope for book two.

  7. Whitney

    Really nice review Kimba! I’d been on the fence on this one as I love the Wizard of Oz but I’m always nervous that they (author or director) will screw it up. I love the idea of a dark Land of Oz so I think I’ll eventually give Dorothy Must Die a try.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      If you are nervous, wait to see what reviews are like for book two. The last part has me hoping it will be stronger.

  8. Sharon - Obsession with Books

    I’m pleased you liked this despite the flaws Kimba; I have been quite curious but the reviews have been very mixed so I might hold off until I am in the right mood.

    A great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I cannot blame you, the last part was the strongest, and I think the audio version was better.

  9. Christa

    I loved this premise but I found the story to be all over the place and the pacing a bit weird. I still might read book 2 because it got better at the end but it was definitely not the book I was hoping for.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree it lagged, I think the audio helped smooth somethings over, I felt the last part was the strongest.

  10. Fran

    Yesterday I was reading a magazine (Entertainment Weekly..I think) & I saw a full page ad for this book. I got wicked excited and I thought “I wonder if any blogger friends have reviewed it yet?”
    I came on this mornin’ & sure enough there you were.
    I ADORED “TWOOZ” when I was small & drew on my white patent leather shoes with a red marker to be like Dorothy! lolz..
    I am excited to read this one. I love when an author adds a darker twist to “fairy tales” I loved as a child. I guess its not really a “fairy tale” , but you know what I mean.
    Do you think books affect us differently when we listen to them VS read them?
    I was wondering how you would think of the book had you read it first vs listen to it.
    I think a great narrator could add that something extra to a book. Ya know?
    Thanks for the review 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hello Fran, I think when an audio is good, it enhances the tale and adds an additional depth to characters, and plot. I love TWOOZ too and hope you try this despite the issues I mentioned.

  11. La La in the Library

    I won DMD in a giveaway and was super excited to read it until I started reading the eNovella prequel, No Place Like Oz. It is written like a Children’s chapter book with Middle Grade vocabulary and YA content. It really either needed to be a Children’s with the more mature content removed and easier words, or a MG with toned down content. I will read it eventually (I didn’t even finish the novella), but it isn’t a priority. Thanks for the review, it helped. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is YA, but the darker elements made for some good reading. I did not read thw prequel.

  12. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I am glad that you enjoyed this one overall, KImba! I’ve seen some mixed reviews so it looks like I’ll have to try this one myself.

    Awesome review! <33

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That is because it is mixed. Parts I adored and others not so much

  13. Jeann

    Glad you enjoyed it overall Kimba, I really loved the darker tones of the book and it would be an awesome movie. Dorothy was definitely over the top wasn’t she?

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ha..yes Dorothy was over the top I thought it was pretty funny and agree a movie would be sweet!

  14. Braine Talk Supe

    Been seeing this sporadically and y’all agree that it’s imperfect. Still curious to read it though and love the cover art

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, and it was deliciously dark, I just had issues with other aspects

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was interesting Angela. Have a fantastic weekend!

  15. Tyler H Jolley

    I am so glad you review Dorothy Must Die. It’s so far down on my TBR I’m not sure I’ll get to it. I’m love that the world building is awesome, and if you think Burton should get his hands on it, then it must be really good. I’m bummed to hear that it doesn’t answer many of the questions as to why this all happened. Sometimes I find myself not being able to let go of a book after I’ve read it didn’t have closure.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It has some really great elements Tyler, and I think the audio allowed me to enjoy it more. I wish it had been more balanced, but as I said I am still curious enough to listen to the next book

  16. Megan

    I like the premise of this one, although it’s too bad it was a bit dragging and occasionally ridiculous. I hope you get your answers in book 2!

  17. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I’ve heard such mixed reviews of this book, but I think your review was the most comprehensive. I think I’d feel the same as you and enjoy it overall but not liking the sound of the areas where the author seems to lose her way. Still, I may wait for the next book to see if some of those deeper questions get answered.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think waiting is an excellent idea Melissa 🙂 It had elements I adored and others that left me wanting

  18. ShootingStarsMag

    I’ve heard this one is a bit slow and more of a set-up, which is frustrating, but I do like the premise. That’s great you enjoyed it overall and would like to read more!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think the audio helped with the slow paced middle Lauren 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ha..I am not sure about that but there were flying monkeys!

  19. kindlemom1

    I have seen some really great reviews for this one and I really want to read it, eventually…gah, so many books! I think I say that way too often but it is true.
    I am so glad you really liked this Kim, makes me even more excited to read it.

    I hope you are feeling better and have a nice weekend!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Ali, I have a bit of a fever which sucks, but catching up on reading which is a win 🙂

  20. Candace

    I’m not really sure I would like this one (and declined when it was offered) but I have to say that I like how creative the author got in making the world so different but still incorporating the characters we know. I’m glad you mostly enjoyed it anyway.

  21. Jenea

    I am pretty excited to read this one, I won it a while back. 🙂 I will be checking out the prequel too. I love Wizard of Oz and I happy that you enjoyed it for the most part. Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have the prequel on my list, I am told it answers questions 🙂

  22. Lori

    I read a few reviews on this when it was first released and bought it right away when I saw it was a Wizard of Oz re-telling. Now I’m thinking I should have waited for the audio! I’m not thrilled to hear the heroine is a bit annoying but I’m kind of used to that with younger heroines…haha Great review, can’t wait to read this one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yep, she is your typical teen for sure, but some of the elements and twisted ideas made this worth the listen Lori 🙂

  23. Tanja

    It’s been a while since I have been in Oz so I might pay it a visit again soon. I love it that here Oz is darker as somehow it seems to suit it better. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. Great review 🙂

  24. Stephanie

    I have been wanting to read this one and now you sold me on it. I also enjoy a good audio book- so this sounds perfect for the car. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Great car read, it has moments I adored and others that disappointed but overall a good intro and I am excited to try the next audio

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Anytime, it was different and despite issues I loved aspects.

  25. Dre

    I don’t mind if the romance took the backseat from all the action. It’s a good thing there’s no triangle 😀 I might wait for the next book to come out before I dive into this one. I am not in a hurry for Oz, but I do look forward to the darkness of this book.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Excellent plan Dre, and yes thank you no triangle!

  26. Maddy

    AAAAA. I’ve heard quite a few negative reviews about this that have made me extremely wary to read it, but your revie gives me hope! I’m glad you enjoyed it

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It has aspects I loved and loathed, but the fact that I want to continue is always a good thing Maddy 🙂

  27. Cyn

    Glad to hear that it was still captivating despite the issues! I love the idea of Dorothy being all evil, muahaha. Yay for no love triangle, though I usually do enjoy some romance in my books. Oh well. Guess we’ll see! Thanks for the review, Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      She is a evil brat for sure Cyn! There were aspects I adored and evil was one of them 🙂

  28. kim { Book Swoon }

    I’m glad you enjoyed Dorothy Must Die, despite a few issues. I have the book, and hopefully I’ll get back to it soon. I had really high expectations (maybe too high) and then put it aside when I read mixed reviews. I’m saving for when I’m in the mood for something a little different, and unqiue 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you enjoy Kim, I think if you have an idea what to expect going in , it will make for better read 🙂

  29. Silvia

    I’ve read a few reviews for this book and, I must say, everyone seems to find something that doesn’t completely work in the end. It’s like the big excitement at the beginning quickly fades during the read…Too bad. Anyway, despite the issues, I’m still intrigued and I think I’ll give it a go at some point. Great review, Kimberly!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is far from perfect, but I was glad it became stronger towards the end, and I am holding out home that book two delivers.

  30. Franny

    Oh, so glad to see you, too, found this book! While I haven’t read it yet, I’m happy to read thoughts from yet another blogger. You know I’m not a fan of audiobooks but still, I really enjoyed your review, Kimberly!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Franny, I look forward to your take on the physical book 🙂

  31. Mary

    Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, I’m still interested to see what happens next.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That is my assessment as well Mary. Hopefully curiosity doesn’t kill the cat I mean reader.

  32. Nick

    I was looking forward to reading this book, but then all the mixed reviews sort of pushed me off. While the world and everything seems very creative, I do think the dragging middle section of the book would bore me and affect my reading experience. For now, I’m not too convinced I want to read it, but if ever it becomes available at the library, I’m going to try it out.
    I’m glad you enjoyed parts of the book, Kim!

  33. Michelle

    I love retellings and I read the novella of this series just haven’t gotten to the actual book yet I have heard mixed things about this book and I think I am scared to read it. I am loving your review. Maybe I will try the audio of it instead of reading it.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have heard the novella is quite good. I need to pick it up

  34. Amir

    I have read similar reviews about this book stating the same, that this book is more of an introduction to the series. I actually have a paperback copy of this but I think I’ll wait for the second book before I pick it up. It will probably be a better experience for me but I’m very excited to get into this darker world of Oz. Lovely review Kimba!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think its work a read Amir, and have hopes for book two

  35. Lily

    While i haven’t heard the audio book version of this one i read the book and it just wasn’t for me. I liked the whole take of the Wizards of Oz story but the execution just did not work for me *sigh*

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It had issues Lily, and perhaps the audio helped smooth some of them out but like you the world itself intrigued me most 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was different, and I am anxious to see how things develop.

  36. Annabel

    I love reimagined fairy tale books! I’ve been wanting to read this, and your review has intrigued me further. It’s a little disappointing to hear it’s perhaps not as polished as it could be, but hopefully it gets better as the series progresses!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That is my hope Annabel. Despite issues I enjoyed it.

  37. Alexis

    I haven’t heard of this series, but I think I might check it out. I’m usually disappointed in a book with no romance though unless the action is really written in such a way to where I don’t get bored. I am a sucker for Oz related things though, so I’ll have to see for myself.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      There are hints of romance, but no development..maybe book two will strength that spark.

  38. Lupdilupt

    Just like Christy, I was very excited about it, I knew you were listening so I waited. Now I think I still will listen, but I can wait a little bit more since I have so many exciting new reales coming out, now if this would have been a 5 star, I would be downloading it right now. I still like the sound of it.
    Thanks Kimba :)))

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah, this one will keep till closer to the next release 🙂

  39. Christy

    I was excited for this book when I first heard about it and planned to read it as SOON as it was released. Have I? No. You know me and my slacking ways. I’ll eventually read it though.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is worth a listen, I am hoping the next book is stronger. 🙂