Author: Danielle Paige
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fairy-tale-and-or-retelling, fantasy-pr-everything-untoward, hot-like-meh, let-me-down
But sometimes you need to light a fire.
If only. Dorothy Must Die was one of the most anticipated debut novel of 2014 of mine, and so far, it’s been the biggest disappointment for me and my three bags of wool. It was barely a flame, not even able to attract a moth like me, driving me to skip it at times for Archie comics and I don’t even like them. Not to say it was a drag(it totally was but I’m being nice), but it’s the same fairytale-the Wizard of Oz- extended, instead of retold with imagination and fuckery like I expected.
Dorothy is evil, the yellow road is crumbling, and crows have human eyes and ears.
-in times like these, the Wicked will rise!
What entails is a shoddy revolution, Wicked Witches, mutilated monkeys and the rest. And yet, it’s pretty much the same story I saw(sadly, yes) back when I was in the second grade(woe used to be me). There’s the evil ruler(in this case, Dorothy), there are the witches(in this case, Wicked) who recruit a girl from Kansas(in this case, not so sweet and named Amy), and words are flipped. However, this didn’t affect, or contributed to my mild feelings for the characters were interesting, and had more depth than your average prom king and queen in a typical American flick(where, incidentally, they’re the first ones to be slashed/chopped/mutilated). And that was the strongest factor in favor of Dorothy Must Die for me.
From Kansas girls to her rat to the witches and the Tin Woodman, not one character was brushed off with superficiality. Certainly there were character who didn’t play much of a part, didn’t have enough screentime for us to get acquainted, but in snide and side remarks, one can gather that they’re much more than they appear as first, or act as. Case in point: Mombi, the Wicked witch of…somewhere.
Another pro to be noted was there were certain gruesome creatures, certain whimsical beings that were fun to imagine.
While we’re on that, I must add that the book lacked a certain atmosphere, sans which the story didn’t work for me. The enchantment was lost on me, and I was bored for a 4-fucking-32 pages while. In itself, the writing and telling of the land of Oz, its description, was juvenile, and had it not been for the dark subjects discussed(self-mutilation, forced child labor et cetra), I would’ve suspected it to be a light read. Yet I don’t mean to imply that Amy’s voice was lacking; simply that when one encounters an exotic, decrepit land like Oz, one expects a tone to be set for full engagement in the story. And Ms Paige failed to meet my standards on that count.
The story is straight-forward for most of the book, with no twists or turns or misdirections taking place. All work and no play(with the characters) made the book a bogus read.
Moreover, and I wholly realize I might be acting fastidious and impossible, there were a number of inconsistencies, trivial details lacking/erroneous/mismatched. Strap in, it’s gonna be a long one.
1.First off all, the biggest twist to this rather plodding story, the one that provided a bit of umph! factor that is introduced at almost the end has already been given away in the blurb. Spoiler much?
2.Amy and the trailer she lives in are flown away by a tornado to the land of Oz. Yet weeks later, she spies on her mom searching and finding an old sweater of Amy’s in a strange place. Where did that come from?
The princess felt that their conversation ruined the apple-eating experience and was therefore a violation of the Happiness Decree…
It[eating apples] was against the Happiness Decree. It’s not worth the risk.
Is it deliberate or am I reading it wrong?
4.Nox is introduced as the strongest fighter in the Order, yet Melindra almost always defeats him because Melindra was by far the best of us all. I guess you could always say there’s a difference being the best and the strongest, but I’ll tell you that that registers on bullshit-radar.
5.According to some:
Amy is the one one to kill Dorothy because.
But the because is so stupid you don’t want to know.
Because you[Amy] understand her(since they’re both from Kansas).
There was no understanding required for their plan.
According to others:
Amy is the one to kill Dorothy just because.
Because there are certain tools and people and methods.
(They’re both from Kansas.)
(I think I like this better, more mysterious.)
6.Multiple characters change their appearances, Polyjuice Potion style.
First character is Amy, pretending to be someone she isn’t amongst people who have known the person she is pretending at for a long time. I think it’s safe to assume Amy had been magically provided with the poor person’s voicebox along with their entire appearance, because surely Amy wouldn’t have been able to fake her voice for so long.
Second character is…let’s take a variaable:X. And yet, here’s how X is recognized:
Their[gender pluralized] voice was all X.
7. A sly, nervous grin.
What the actual fuck is a sly, nervous grin?
I can’t grin slyly and nervously simultaneously, and believe you me, I did try. Hell, I went out to smile at the stray dogs lazing outside my gates. And I have a little-graver-than-slight phobia of canines.
8.I didn’t know what was Good or Wicked anymore. All I knew was what was right.
And ignoring an innocent kidnapped and tortured is so right.
Whew! Glad we’re done with that, now I can concentrate on expounding on the very few positives I have.
Dorothy was a fantastic protagonist:kick-ass not only because she can literally kick-ass, but because she has the personality and voice of a kick-asser. She is bitter, and doesn’t have the noblest reasons for wanting things always, albeit she’s a good person at heart.
…just to say I had someone
Here she admits that she would help someone, anyone just to say that she had someone to help whom she’d go to any lengths for. She is played or maybe she isn’t, she never knows; this, as expected, confuses and frustrates her. Doubt and questions creep in; is her noble cause really hers?
Despite failing to set the tone, each chapter ended on these awesome punch lines; and there were wonderful quotes in between that helped in describing the characters, their passions and so much more.
Something about that much sweetness didn’t feel right.
And then I thought: Bring it on. There’s no place like anywhere but here.
I didn’t want to believe her, but I knew all too well that you can’t always get what you want.
“Magic loves change,” she said with a sigh. “Do enough of it and it will warp you in strange ways…”
A personal favorite:
We’re off to see the wizard!
Thus my mixed bag of feelings can be shortened down to two indisputable particulars:
The land of Oz didn’t enchant me.
Monkeys are awesome.
A better book, with similar outline, would be The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. It’s middle-grade, but it will twist your emotions so much more, and the little hint of wayyy-into-future romance is more heart-warming than the one here.