Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dorothy Must Die – a review with spoilers.

Dorothy Must Die is about a girl, Amy Gumm, from our world, that gets swept up into the land of Oz and all it’s problems.

Real world problems: her father abandoned her as a child, she is raised by her addict mom, is bullied by popular girl at school and there is no income in her home (her mom stole her money).

Oz problems: she has no idea what the heck is going on, can’t understand how and why people die, and she can’t fight. Amy doesn’t know herself regardless of what world she is in but she learns, just like Dorothy doesn’t really know herself in the beginning either.

This is an Oz we know as it’s faithful to the story. All the original themes of identity are still tied into this novel, growing up, independence, wisdom, courage and compassion.

Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow and Lion who searched for their identity have somehow let it corrupt them. But these themes are revisited again through Amy’s experience and the characters we meet on her journey.

This book is dark and violent but lacks character development and ends fairly abruptly.

Amy and Indigo are in deep trouble when the tin mafia find them and before you even know it Indigo dies quickly and it works well to shock the reader, however in retrospect, there are other people that Amy meets along the way that die and their death lacks impact.  We don’t know the characters well enough to care that they died, and once they die we don’t feel the weight of their death.

Dorothy as the enemy is a great idea, but mostly she just seems super self-centred, like if Regina George ruled the world. The focus on Dorothy’s looks detracts from her being so awful and tears her down for her appearance instead of her cruelty and her sociopathic tendencies. We are consistently bashed over the head with the shallowness of Dorothy, it would have been more interesting to explore more about her brutality – mining for magic and making zombie examples of those that defy her – because she is a piece of work.

I think my favourite parts of the books had to do with the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion, but we barely spend any time with them.

The typical things you expect from this genre are all there; the discovery of a new world, making new friends, dis trust, development and discovery through some sort of transformation, death of someone close to the heroine, a love interest that no one has been close to before.

It’s an easy read and fun to see this new version of Oz but I don’t know how invested in the story I am, as I finished the book about two weeks ago and have barely thought about Amy and Oz. Apparently the CW has picked it up and will be developing it as a TV series, so it probably is worth a read before that happens.


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