Dorothy’s Back in Oz: Review–Dorothy Must Die (2014) by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (2014)

Suggested age range: 13 and up (Harper Collins, 452 pages)

Rating: 5/5 Stars [Loved it, Highly recommend it, and will read again.]

Source: Personal Copy

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


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.



10 thoughts on “Dorothy’s Back in Oz: Review–Dorothy Must Die (2014) by Danielle Paige

  1. Kate, I am a HUGE “movie” Wizard of Oz fan. It’s been that way since I was a child watching it every March when it was aired on TV (I think CBS). I’m sorry to say that when I actually read the book The Wizard of Oz I was sorely disappointed 😦 I never read any of the others in the series, but I’ve also determined that it’s typically people who read the books when they were children, they took to them. Reading it as an adult (who already adores the movie for decades) and author purposely reading books that were adapted to film to see the differences, for me, it wasn’t positive 😦

    Anyway, I’ve heard SO much about Wicked and that’s what I thought of as soon as saw the title. So glad you liked (loved) it and have something to look forward to! It DOES make me curious, I have to say 🙂

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