Dorothy Must Die took me a very long time to read - nearly a month, when I usually finish books this length (400+ pages) in 1-2 days, max. The problem, despite the interesting premise and the promising setup, was that I found this book so boring to read. I'd rather read anything else - I read at least 20 other books in between the first page of this book to the last.
By all rights I should've loved this book. Featuring a dystopian Oz, many years after the events in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has now returned, turned completely evil, and is the de facto ruler of the kingdom. The once idyllic land now lay barren, mined for its magic; and apparently, losing its magic to Dorothy would mean the end of Oz.
Thus, Dorothy must die.
I don't know why they can't just scheme to steal her shiny red pumps and kick her back to Kansas for good, but you know. That would make the whole story significantly less blood thirsty.
Reading this story is like reading fanfiction. I love reading fanfiction, I've once spent an entire year reading nothing else; and this is a story of an original character in Oz. It's fanfiction, albeit published, and despite whatever other label you want to slap on it. Fanfiction is not a derogatory term (where I'm concerned), just because a novel is published doesn't always mean it is better. But I digress.
Amy Gump is a social outcast with a bit of an inferiority complex, a lousy name, a missing father and an alcoholic mother. An underdog who will later shine, you just know it, and this sort of formulaic character has been written many times into many different books. It's just not new. I'm not won over, despite 400 pages of her. She has very little personality. There needs to be more originality, I feel, and don't tell me that it can't be original because it's fanfiction. There's no such thing.
She was both exactly and nothing like I could have imagined. This was not the same girl I’d read about. She was wearing the dress, but it wasn’t the dress exactly—it was as if someone had cut her familiar blue-checked jumper into a million little pieces and then put it back together again, only better. Better and, okay, a little bit more revealing. Actually, more than a little bit. Not that I was judging. Instead of farm-girl cotton it was silk and chiffon. The cut was somewhere between haute couture and French hooker. The bodice nipped, tucked, and lifted. There was cleavage. Lots of cleavage.
The blatant sexualisation of Dorothy's character is a hit-or-miss, I guess. Yet another thing that I do not find necessary, but *shrugs
All the characters brought over from the classic Oz story have been warped and twisted. My favourite is The Tin Woodman and his metal army, but the description was long-winded, took up half a page, and boring. The Lion's was better:
He was barely recognizable as a lion at all. He looked like a monster, like some warped nightmare version of the king of the jungle. He was huge and golden, with bulging, grotesque muscles and a filthy, snarled mane. His lips were curled back, baring a mouth crowded with sharp, long, crooked fangs.
I get it, but I'm not impressed with the prose.
I'm even less impressed with the unnecessary love interest/love triangle.
1. Nox was assigned to teach Amy magic. He likes her ! And of course (she thinks) he is totally hot.
2. Pete, described by Amy as a "hot park guide", likes her two too!
"Ever since I saw you, I just had a feeling. I feel responsible for you.”
I do, however, like the Tin Woodman's unrequited love for Dorothy. It amuses me.
“It’s useless,” the Tin Woodman said. “Everything I do, I do for her. And still, she will never love me the way I love her.”
Verdict: The entire book feels like a pretentious attempt to attract the attention of movie makers. Not recommended; or I recommend reserving judgement until the next 2 books of the trilogy and goodness knows how many side novellas there's going to be.