Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

June 26, 2014 Review 58 ★★★

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 452
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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 blue birds. 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 the yellow brick road, though—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.


Three star books are the most difficult to review. Three stars usually hint at ordinary, and DOROTHY MUST DIE isn’t exactly ordinary. But it wasn’t exactly bad, and it wasn’t spectacular either. It might have been the hype that did me in on this one.

“Be brave. Be angry. Don’t trust anyone.”

This is a very original retelling of the Wizard of Oz. Very much like how SPLINTERED told a darker version of Wonderland, DOROTHY MUST DIE tells a very different story of Oz. Obviously. Just look at the title.

backMy main problem with this book was the lack of actual things happening. The setup is great, but when I really sat back and thought about it-the plot wasn’t going anywhere. And if you had the hardcover like I did, and you saw what the back promised then you most likely spent the entire book waiting for those points to come in to play. Or at least be mentioned. None of the stuff on the left was even talked about until literally the last twenty pages of the book and even then, it was a very brief mention and made me go “What was the point?” to the rest of the book since nothing was really accomplished.

DOROTHY MUST DIE ends with a cliffhanger. It gives you more questions to add to the ones you still don’t know the answer to. The romance is pretty shaky, and the love interest could be a total jerk. However, I still did enjoy it.

The world building, characters, and originality totally saved this book. Emphasis on the characters. They are a very diverse cast, and all of them have unique traits and motives. I’m still questioning who is good and who is evil, and which side they are on.

I’ll be reading the sequel.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.2

58 Responses to “Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige”

    • Alise

      Definitely. I did love the darker aspects, but after the back I went through the whole story expecting something that never happened. I think that too.

  1. Veronika

    I really liked Dorothy Must Die, though it annoyed me a little too that it had nearly nothing to do with the end of the book. What really annoyed me happened in the end when Dorothy was cornered by Amy, it was supposed to be an exciting scene, I guess, but unfortunately because we already knew Amy has to do certain things before she can kill Dorothy, it was obvious Dorothy will escape somehow. Great review. :)
    Veronika recently posted…Melissa MacVicar – Ever Near (Secret Affinity #1)

    • Alise

      Yep, same! I remember that seen and being like “Seriously?” Ah, well. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel still. Thanks!

    • Alise

      Oh, me too. I actually wasn’t even scared to start it because I was convinced I would love it (maybe that was my downfall) Anyways, if you read it, definitely let me know :)

  2. Kirsty-Marie

    I’ll be reading the sequel as well, but I was so disappointed with this. I mean, all what you learn, is on the freaking back. So yeah, what was the point? Or at least, not tell you what the characters don’t know yet. I actually flicked back through it a couple times to see if I missed it when they were talking about what they had to do. Blah. It was slow though, but I didn’t hate it, or love it. :( But, maybe like you said, it was the hype? High expectations not met.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye

    • Alise

      Glad you felt the same! I really can’t believe they did that because not only are they spoiling everything, it leads you to expect something that doesn’t really happened. Same, I’m kind of meh.

  3. Rashika

    It is a pity though that in spite of all the things going for this book, the plot was barely there.. it makes me think that perhaps this was just a built up to the sequel and we’ll get the good stuff then.

    I think I may wait for the sequel though because cliffhangers and I are not friends. :P

    Fantastic review, Alise!! :)
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: The Bees by Laline Paull

    • Alise

      Yes, yes, and yes. This was totally just a build up, I’m pretty disappointed about that fact. Haha, wish I would have waited but I have no patience :p

      Thanks :DD

  4. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    I felt exactly the same way about this one as you did Alise! It was a great, darker look on Oz, but, like you, I felt that the synopsis was a bit misleading. [spoiler]She never even tried to remove the Tin Man’s Heart / steal the Scarecrow’s brain / or take the Cowardly Lion’s courage, which was disappointing, you know?[/spoiler] It was definitely entertaining though, and, I agree…there characters were all so full of win! :D Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…The Half Life of Molly Pierce

    • Alise

      Oh I definitely know :P That made me so annoyed because it’s not even mentioned until the very end in the weird random conversation with the wizard. Thank you :)

    • Alise

      Exactly! It was somewhat slow during the middle and right when it began to pick up, the book ended on a cliffhanger. Definitely frustrating.

    • Alise

      I thought that too. It was like two different books, what the back promised and what was actually inside. Thank you!

    • Alise

      Same. All books should have some sort of resolution for at least something, even if it’s the first book in a series.

  5. Amir

    I did hear about how the back of the cover is the actual storyline of the series, not the book and that kind of turned me off picking this up even though I have a copy in hand. I will probably wait for the rest of the series, because from your review this seemed like a half-baked book. The premise is great, but I think it would end up dissapointing me. Waiting might make this a better experience :)

    Awesome review Alise!
    Amir recently posted…Audiobook Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

    • Alise

      Aw, I wish I would have known that, ha. But then isn’t that kind of a spoiler, putting it on the back of the first book? Gah. Anyways, yeah! I would suggest that, the end practically cut off the story. Thanks :D I like your new commenting picture by the way!

  6. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)

    I’m going to read the sequel too… but I totally agree with everything else you said too! I was really bummed that the stuff I was told would happen didn’t actually happen. I loved the last 1/3 of the book and wish it would’ve STARTED there. I did NOT like the romance. I liked the castle adventure stuff. But because of the last part I will definitely continue on because that part was really addicting for me :)
    Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books) recently posted…What is a Spoiler?

    • Alise

      “I loved the last 1/3 of the book and wish it would’ve STARTED there.” This. I wish it had kept this pacing up for the entire book. The romance wasn’t even really a romance, I still don’t know if the guy genuinely likes her. Yeah!

  7. A Canadian Girl

    Most of the reviews I’ve seen for this one have been extremely positive so I like that you mentioned some of the negatives, Alise. Although you felt like not much happened, I still think the premise of this one is interesting. I’m pretty sure I’ll read this eventually, but will go in with much lower expectations now.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

    • Alise

      Yeah, that’s why I decided to read the book in the first place-all the raving reviews. That’s probably why I was disappointed too. Yeah.. let me know when you read it, I’d love to read your thoughts!

  8. Andreea

    I know how you feel. Three star book I really hard to review, you’re so right.

    I read a lot of these books and I enjoy them, but as you said, they aren’t fantastic. And I wish I could always read fantastic books and not waste my time on bad books or just average books. But at least it was not bad.

    And if you want to read the sequel, it’s good too.

    Great honest review, Alise!
    Andreea recently posted…All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays, #1) by Cristin Terrill

    • Alise

      Yeah… I guess that’s the thing about reading-you never really know what you are getting into. Thank you!

  9. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    This book seems like such a polarizing read across the blogging community. People seem to either head-over-heels love it, or they just want to throw it across the room. I’m glad your review was more middling since it seems to balance out everything else I’ve read. I was curious about this one at first but the more reviews I read I think it might not be quite the book for me. I love the sound of the originality and darkness to it though so who knows, I might change my mind down the road. Like you, I think it would be frustrating that nothing really happens. And it’s a bit of a pet-peeve for me when the blurbs for books are misleading like that. Anyways, I loved reading your review for it and I wish you would have loved this one more ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland…

    • Alise

      That’s what I’ve noticed as well. Most of the reviews are positive, which is really interesting to me as they aren’t even four stars they are just like BAM! Five stars. Haha. It kind of has a SPLINTERED feel, except I liked SPLINTERED better :P Right? Thank you! If you ever do read it, let me know :)

  10. Tanja

    Yeah, 3-star books are the hardest to review. I totally agree with that. I have seen this one around and I’ve always been intrigued by it. Just I’m afraid that all the hype will influence my feelings too. Maybe I will read it later on. Sorry it wasn’t as amazing as you hoped. Great review! :)
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: Just as You Are by June Stevens

  11. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader

    I stopped reading this one a while ago :( It had such promise but, like you said, it wasn’t really going anywhere. I was getting so frustrated because it felt like we were all just sitting around the entire time waiting for the mission that the back of the book promised and it just wasn’t happening. I’m hoping I can maybe jump back into the book later because I adore The Wizard of Oz movie but we’ll have to see.

    Awesome review and happy belated birthday!
    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader recently posted…18 Books to Read According to this 18 Year Old

    • Alise

      YES. I’m actually glad that someone feels the same way because that’s totally what happened.

      Haha, thank you :D

  12. Faye D'Social Potato (@kawaiileena)

    I know what you mean about those damn 3 star reads. They’re really hard for me to review, too D: I find it much easier to fangirl or rant about something, but to talk about a book that was… there… but not there… is just mind-boggling. In any case, I don’t really feel compelled to read this book. I mean I see it everywhere, but everytime I look at the cover, I just don’t feel “anything” that would shy me away, but not “anything” to lure me in either, so now I’m in neutral ground. And the fact now that you say nothing really happens makes me even more hesitant to read it. Decisions, decisions!
    Faye D’Social Potato (@kawaiileena) recently posted…#TintinShopMNL @ Fully Booked BGC + Aimee and Dre and Faye’s first meeting!

    • Alise

      Exactly! A book on either side of the extreme is incredibly easy to review, but give me one smack dab in the middle and what can I say more than just “meh.” The plot in this one is so hard to describe, but yeah, nothing really happens :P

    • Alise

      I know what you mean. This one did add some originality to the classic, but there wasn’t a lot that happened in the book.

  13. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Aw sheeeeeit my comment just disappeared. It’s a shame that not much happens in this book, i’ve heard that many weren’t pleased because it was too slowly paced.

    Lovely review! <33

    • Alise

      Aw, sorry >< Not sure what happened. It was! Which is not a good thing for a book this size. Thanks!

    • Alise

      Pointless, indeed. That’s exactly how I would describe it as well. If there is going to be a book like this just skip it and give us the sequel then.

  14. Lupdilup

    I have this on my wish list, and I almost got it a couple times, but other books got in the way..LOL Now I’m kind of glad. I think I’ll wait to see what the next one brings. I’ll keep my eyes open for your review.
    Thank you Alise :)
    Lupdilup recently posted…2014 Audiobook Challenge Update

    • Alise

      That’s what I would recommend! If you are liking the reviews of the sequel, maybe pick them both up. Yay, thanks :D

    • Alise

      That’s good to know that someone else felt the same. I’ll be looking out for your review then!

  15. Romi Foster

    I had really wanted to read this, but for a number of reasons I decided it wasn’t for me- one of my main concerns is that the list on the back cover, a list of things to do that sounds really interesting and makes me want to read the story and see these things accomplished, they don’t get mentioned until the end of the book! That’s not what I would have expected and I think I would find that enormously frustrating, especially as those words hold most of the potential for me.

    I’ll be interested to see what you think of the second book.
    Romi Foster recently posted…Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby…

  16. Alise

    Tell me about it! I would have love to read the story promised on the back of the book but that’s just not what was in inside. I have no idea why they did that, such a disappointment in that regard.

  17. Michelle

    Ahh, yes! I’m so glad that you liked this one. It’s definitely one of my most favourite reads from this year (although Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke beat them all) and yes, the diverse set of characters really stood out.

    I totally get what you’re saying with the three stars thing. Three stars is basically between the good and the bad, and you can’t really love it or hate it (fangirl or rant). It’s just in-between. Haha, but yes, this is especially out of the ordinary.

    Awesome review!
    Michelle recently posted…Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

    • Alise

      I’ve yet to read that book but I really want to, it’s been on my TBR ever since I heard of it.

      Exactly! It’s so hard to talk about a book like that, especially in a way that would keep people interested in the book.

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