Everyone knows “There’s no place like home” but what if Dorothy didn’t want to stay there? What if she wanted—perhaps needed–to return to the land of Oz?
This is the scenario of Danielle Paige’s novel Dorothy Must Die. Dorothy has returned to Oz (with her aunt, uncle, and Toto in tow) and things aren’t as rosy as they used to be. As noted in the book, “People talk about the real Oz, but I don’t even know what they mean by that. Oz has rarely stayed the same for long. That’s the magic, of course. Always changing.”
And change it has—the Munchkins are slaves, there is a group of wingless flying monkeys who cut their wings off so they can’t be under Dorothy’s control, and there are numerous pits in the landscape where magic has been mined. All of the familiar characters are far more sinister–Dorothy, Glinda, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow are power-hungry evil doers who are, in fact, quite wicked: Dorothy wants all of Oz’s magic for herself, the Tin Man pines for Dorothy and will stop at nothing to protect her, the Lion is a savage beast who eats his enemies, and the Scarecrow is conducting a wide variety of experiments on the living in his laboratory.
Is there any way to stop this madness? Yes, and the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (including Glamora, Glinda’s twin sister) thinks that Oz’s newest visitor–Amy Gumm (“Salvation Amy” from Flat Hills, Kansas)–can help them stop Dorothy. Amy was also caught in a tornado that took her to the land of Oz, and as she learns about Oz, she also trains to help get it back to its rightful ruler Ozma. Amy is starting to realize that being wicked is more complicated than it initially seems.
This darkly twisted tale is far more sinister than its predecessor. The bleakness counteracts with the humor in the novel. Dorothy’s extreme glittery and over-the-top glamour is fueled by the red shoes that seemingly propel her to possess more power. After all, “Those who have sacrificed always have the most to lose.”
Readers will be intrigued by the twists and turns provided by the plot, and the blend of fantasy and horror will provide readers with the opportunity to marvel at the wickedness of it all.