SPOILER ALERT: This blog post does have a few spoilers, so if you decide you want to read this book and don't want to know what happens, save this review for later.
One day, while I was browsing around Barnes and Noble, I saw this book sitting on the shelf. It looked intriguing. I love just about anything that puts an alternative spin on the land of Oz. The premise of the book is that, as stated on the cover, Dorothy Must Die. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Here's the thing, though- the story never actually gets to the point where Dorothy dies. That's right - in a book dedicated to the death of Dorothy, Dorothy. Never. Dies.
The story opens with Amy Gumm being sucked up into a tornado and dropped in Oz. Her mom is out at the bar when this happens, and arrives home to nothing because their trailer got sucked into the tornado as well. So, Amy is now in the land of Oz, which is completely different than the Oz depicted in The Wizard of. The villages have all basically been destroyed, now only inhabited by a few munchkins that could be considered rogue. They don't want any part of Dorothy's Oz.
As many of you might remember, Ozma eventually became the ruler of Oz (since she was the rightful princess after all.) In Dorothy Must Die, the story is that Dorothy came back to Oz because, after the first time, she missed the magic. She became corrupt (as many are likely to do when exposed to magic or powers they are unfamiliar with) and used her magic to sort of enslave Ozma and make Ozma more of a figurehead. Dorothy then stole a bunch of magic from other areas of Oz, which is why Oz is suffering so much. We discover throughout the novel that the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Lion have all been corrupted as well because of the gifts they received from the Wizard.
So, now, there is a small group of people who are dedicated to bringing down Dorothy and restoring Oz. Amy meets these people by happenstance when she is rescued from prison by Mombi. Mombi brings Amy to a cave where Amy meets:
*Glamora: Glinda's wicked twin sister
*Nox: A young boy who assigned to teach Amy how to fight.
*Gert: An old witch who can read minds
The people that Amy meets imply that they have one month to get Amy ready to fight and kill Dorothy. They tell Amy that she is basically their only hope for taking down Dorothy, because like Dorothy, Amy is from Kansas. So, Amy has one month to learn some manners for meeting royalty and to learn some mad fighting skills so she can kill Dorothy.
Here's the thing: This novel starts off with a great idea, and quickly falls into a mediocre story with weak writing. The premise is quickly lost when, after a twenty-eight chapters, we readers still haven't actually met Dorothy. We have no idea where she is. There is no move to actually kill her. The entire novel revolves around just training Amy. Training. That's it. Even though the title of the novel is Dorothy must Die, and the back of the novel cover says "Then: Dorothy Must Die," and the last sentence of the novel is "Dorothy was going to die."
The entire novel is just setup to the big event - that never actually happens! I mean, if you are going to write a book titled Dorothy Must Die - let's have less setup and more of Dorothy actually dying! I found the whole thing to be poorly written and executed, and I am not sure that I will continue with the rest of the series, because I was just so disappointed. Surely, there are better books I can spend my time on!