Having finished my second year, I’ve officially finished all (most) of my course books, meaning I can relax, by reading other books. I picked this one:

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‘Dorothy Must Die’, up because I kind of wanted something a little more easygoing than ‘The True History of the Kelly Gang’ which I read for my course. This is Amazon’s summary:

‘The New York Times bestselling first book in a dark new series that reimagines the Oz saga, from debut author Danielle Paige.

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 a road of yellow brick—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: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. And—Dorothy must die.’

The idea being that Oz is completely reversed: Dorothy is evil and the Wicked Witches want to save the world. And while the whole assassin theme doesn’t exactly sound easygoing, the first couple of pages gave the idea that since Amy’s perspective was that of a high-school girl, the plot itself couldn’t be too dark. The first couple of pages I read in the bookshop when I was trying to make up my mind whether or not to buy it reinforced this idea and gave the impression of a really cool female character, with a sarcastic edge that I really liked. Normally I’m not a huge fan of fairytales being set in the real world, preferring old-fashioned fantasy which always seemed way more interesting than the backstreets of London, but I’ve only seen ‘The Wizard of Oz’ once and thought it would be kind of cool with a modern twist.

However. The plot was actually way darker than I thought; I did a blog a while ago on a book called ‘Only Ever Yours‘ which really creeped me out and which I’ve since donated to a charity shop rather than have it lying about the house to scare me. This felt kind of similar to that in the way that it seems pretty superficial at first, and then just casually strips that facade away to explore some pretty dark stuff. I thought it was going to be straight-up fairytale but the plot’s magical elements have been given a kind of steampunk twist that I hadn’t expected. Overall this book was awesome, but it left me kind of confused. The plot was incredible, it had the courage to completely remake an already present fantasy world in its own way, and did a fantastic job of introducing new characters in such a way that you almost forget they weren’t in the original. Instead of stumbling over itself trying to explain where these new characters were in the original Oz and drawing your attention to the problem, it leaves it to your imagination and transitions smoothly from old Oz to new Oz, with the idea that ‘Dorothy Must Die’ is exposing the lost history of Oz, and making you feel as if those characters were indeed in both all along. The pace of the book was also exceptional; there was literally something happening on every page and the first book alone has enough content to have covered a whole trilogy itself. Yet whilst the first pages did such a good job of creating the protagonist’s character, from that point onwards the characters are explored only briefly, leaving the reader with a pretty superficial impression of them. That was what really confused me about the book; the author clearly had an incredible imagination as the depth of the plot was outstanding, yet characters and scenery were given only the briefest of descriptions, and the reader has no more clue of the personalities of the people in the book past what they can glean from their conversations. I also picked up a few mistakes in the plot; only incredibly minor and not nearly enough to detract from the quality of the plot, but enough to break your concentration and bring you out of the story.

Overall I’d give it 3 stars out of 5:

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But I’d definitely recommend it, and not only because it’s not that often that you see someone completely remake an old classic in such a unique way. It was amazing to see how the author made an entirely new story whilst still keeping it completely aligned with the old, doing such justice to the original, yet making it completely relatable to modern readers. The plot was beautiful and whilst I would have liked there to be more depth to the characters, the story is so strong that you’re drawn in anyway. The story was a brilliant idea; you’ll never look at Dorothy the same way again, not to mention her squad:

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and once you’ve finished and compared it to the original, it leaves you kind of:

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