Dorothy must die by noa


(Minor spoilers.)

Dorothy Must Die is an interesting book series, where the good are wicked and the wicked are good. Although not written by the original author, it continues the Wizard Of Oz books, but with a dark and cruel twist. It warps the sweet and adventurous Oz into a creepy shell filled with danger, and turns once innocent characters into murderous villains. Dorothy becomes the power hungry overlord of Oz, Glinda the good witch becomes a manipulative, sadistic antagonist. And the wicked witches and flying monkeys become survivors of their apocalyptic world, fighting against the tyrants consumed by the dark magic hidden under Oz’s sugar-coated ground. It’s a captivating take, a pretty good read. (And just a head’s up, I do criticize a few aspects of this book series pretty hard, but don’t get me wrong, I love these books.)  

First I’d like to go over the pros and cons of this story, to help you find out if you’re going to want to read it. Alright then, pros: This book it pretty well written. If I were comparing it, I’d say it’s written almost as well as something like Harry Potter. The world is very compelling, it’s intriguing to see Oz done in such a dark tone. And most of the time, the dark atmosphere doesn't get in the way of the story. Most of the time… on to the cons. It’s true, sometimes the book does come off as much too intentionally edgy. It’s not that big of a deal, it kind of comes with the book being directed towards a teen audience. But the biggest gripe I have with this book series also comes from that direction, and it happens much too often in books made for teenagers. Some books or book series do it pretty well, but Dorothy Must Die does not! It’s the romantic drama subplot. This book fails pretty dang hard with that. It doesn't add anything new to this trope. It’s the trope with the main character and a hot boy who seemingly has no emotions until the main character gets them to open up about their dark past. And then they probably have a big fight or something and spend some time apart, or the boy is in trouble and the main character has to save them, or one of them leaves the other because they think they are impeding them, ect, ect,. It’s an annoying trope, but adding something fresh to it can still be readable and sometimes entertaining. In the least, the characters should both be interesting. Dorothy Must Die does not accomplish this. It’s a cookie cutter story that the book would be fine without. In fact, the handsome boy character could disappear from the story and it wouldn't change much. But we’ll get back to him when we talk about characters, you might be able to tell, but I don’t like him. Anyway, this is a pretty distracting element of the story. Ignoring it is kind of hard at points, but when it’s not focused on, the story is amazing. Which brings us to our text topic, the actual story.

The story seems pretty straightforward in the first book, it kind of says it all in the title. But as the series goes on, and as you begin to read the prequels—yes, there are prequels, nine of them—it starts to get more interesting. New characters begin popping up, plot holes are filled in, and mysteries are unraveled. It also begins to get progressively darker. Characters begin to die off, and secret plots come to light. It’s actually really fun if you’ve read all of L. Frank Baum’s books, because then when a secret is revealed you get to think “I knew it, you can’t surprise me!” And if you a haven’t, the twists make it really interesting. The story begins with the main character, Amy Gumm, being swept up with her trailer and her mother’s pet rat in a magical tornado to Oz, where she is greeted by a munchkin named Indigo who explains a lot about this new twisted version of Oz, who is promptly murdered by the Tin Woodsman. Shortly after, Amy is recruited into the Order of the Wicked, a group of witches—and the previously mentioned hot wizard boy, Nox—dedicated to killing Dorothy and her associates, and so her mission as the Woodsman, the Scarecrow, the cowardly Lion, and Dorothy Gale’s assassin begins. I don’t want to spoil the experience of reading books, so that’s all I’ll say about the story. On to the characters.

Most of the characters are pretty good. For instance, Glinda and the Scarecrow are both very interesting to read about, especially in the prequels. In fact, the prequels give more insight into tons of characters. It makes for a different experience to need to read prequels to better understand the characters. Personally, I liked this, it gave me more to read and let me explore the world more, but I can see why it’s not  for everyone. Although, not even the prequels could salvage some characters. Specifically, Nox, the main character's love interest, and worst character in the books. All he is is a collection of bad tropes. The really unfortunate part is that he drags the main character down with him. The story becomes so focused on their relationship it distracts from the more interesting story. There’s even another character that could do a better job filling the love interest role: Pete.

You meet Pete pretty early on in the story, and although he’s not the absolute best character, he would still be better than Nox. I can’t tell you much about him without spoilers, but I will say that he’s the adopted son of Mombi, a witch in the Order of the Wicked. On a side note, Mombi is actually a really great character. Anyways, coincidentally, Nox was also mothered by Mombi. Their relationship might be the only interesting thing about Nox, and Pete could already have that covered. But, to talk about some well-made characters in the main series books, Polychrome the rainbow fairy. Besides having one of my favorite prequel books, her character in the main series is pretty fascinating. My favorite fact about her—although it’s not heavily related to her actual character—is that she has a tiger with a paper unicorn horn strapped to its head named Heathcliff. Real unicorns had become increasingly rare and were hard to care for, so Heathcliff was her solution. It’s little details like this that make the good characters interesting to read about, you’d almost believe they’re actually living in Oz.

As much as I talked down some aspects of this book, I really enjoyed reading every single book. The different take on Oz is the real hook of these stories, and they become so much more enjoyable if you’ve read the lighthearted L Frank Baum books. It’s a great contrast.