A Twisted Twister into Oz (Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige)
A clever twist on the classic story, Danielle Paige’s “Dorothy Must Die” series introduces a number of new characters in addition to what the reader might be familiar with.
Amy Gumm isn’t at all remarkable, her alcoholic and drug-abusing mother is unfit to look after her after a divorce, and her social life is lacking, with bullies like Madison Pendleton getting her suspended every other day. Like Dorothy, she lives in Kansas – and also like Dorothy, she gets caught in a tornado. She wakes up in Oz, though it is hardly the wondrous place she had seen in the movies. Dorothy no longer seems to be an innocent farm girl from the stories, and more a power-hungry tyrant. In this world, how can she know what is Good, and what is Wicked?
A lot of the time, I have a lot of trouble settling in with a story – usually, it’ll take a chapter or two to really start getting interested, but Paige managed to captivate my attention within the first few pages. The first chapter sets up the life of Amy in a relatable way that really makes you understand exactly what her life is like, from bullying at school to being neglected at home.
When the setting changes from Kansas to Oz, Paige really contrasts the two different dynamics of each world. As the story goes on, more about each character is revealed in a clever way that doesn’t require the narrator to explain it outright – instead, you find out more in their actions, which I find to be really refreshing. Amy Gumm is her own distinct character, but almost anyone can put themselves in her shoes and experience her journey for themselves.
Dorothy Must Die is the first of a series, with four main novels, and a number of novellas that provide a backstory for many of the characters. This first book is a great introduction into the upside-down world of Oz.
I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars – it’s a very intriguing read that plays on your knowledge of a fantasy world far away. Even the title cover is jarring, and the entire novel lives up to the effects. I would recommend this story if you enjoy a mix of fantasy and dystopia.