Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige Review (Dorothy Must Die #1)

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Published: 2014
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Length: 452 pages
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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.


The synopsis for this book captivated me. Along with the clever cover art and the fact that I adore classic retellings, I was hooked. 

Packaging: 4/5 Stars 

I find the sleeve and cover art of this book to be really well done- it’s clever and intriguing, and with the promising title, this book practically sells itself. 

Writing Style: 3/5 Stars 

I definitely feel that the author is a very talented writer, and shows a lot of potential in becoming a really great writer. However, I did have some issues with the writing in the first half of the book. I felt that the author did a lot more telling rather than showing in terms of worldbuilding- that instead of really revealing the new world of Oz through descriptive language, she simply told us how everything was. I found that the writing could get to be too abrupt and choppy at times, and that one set of events would sometimes ram much too quickly into another. However, particularly towards the second half of the book, Danielle Paige shows readers her potential through better pacing the book, adding elements of suspense that made my heart race, and showing the readers more about the world rather than telling. I also found that she’s particularly gifted in writing more gruesome scenes that made me feel slightly sick.

Characters: 3/5 Stars

I had some issues with the characters in Dorothy Must Die. Starting off with the protagonist, Amy Gumm- I did really enjoy how tough of a character she was. She was very enduring and resilient, which is something that I really admired in her. She was also very real as a character in the sense that she wasn’t all tough. Although that’s the way that she may portray herself, it’s made clear that there are very vulnerable sides to her, which are shown when she thinks about her mother, or whenever she has inner conflicts concerning morality. Speaking of her inner morality conflicts, that’s one of the biggest issues that I have with her as a character. Her hesitation and debating of whether or not Dorothy needed to die got really old and annoying really fast. There were many events that occurred that could’ve been prevented if it wasn’t for her having the same argument with herself over and over again- in which she contemplates whether or not Dorothy, who is quite clearly a narcissist, sadist and tyrant, deserves to die. On to Dorothy. I actually really enjoyed Danielle Paige’s version of Dorothy. I found her to be such a twisted, terrifying character that was really interesting to read about. Something that I didn’t appreciate, however, was the author’s enforcing of negative stereotypes in terms of the female characters in this book. I didn’t appreciate the subtle slut-shaming that the author partakes in, where she portrays Dorothy’s dressing provocatively in a negative manner and implies that revealing clothing and being evil are closely related. I also didn’t appreciate her pitting several female characters and Amy against each other, with the basis for this dislike being, of course, a hot boy that they’re all interested in. 

Plot: 3.5/5 Stars

The plot was definitely my favorite part of this book. I absolutely adore classic retellings, and the dark, eerie twist on the world of Oz was absolutely captivating. While I found the first half of the book to be a bit slow, the second half of the book helped to make up for it, as it was packed with action and was never short of gruesome scenes that made my stomach turn and reminded me of how sinister the new Oz really was. An issue that I had was with the abrupt ending- I wish there had been more time to allow the ending to progress and to allow what had happened to really sink in with the readers. 

Overall: 3/5 Stars 

Overall, I enjoyed Dorothy Must Die. I thought it contained an extremely clever premise that I was very absorbed in, and I loved reading about the new, dark, and twisted Oz. Despite the issues that I had with the characters and writing, I’ll definitely be continuing the series, as I’m very curious as to what’ll happen next. 

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