Rating: 3.5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
I’m honestly a little torn on how to rate/review this book. On one hand, I love so much about it, but on the other hand, a lot of the things that I loved about it also came across as a little . . . dull.
But first, let’s talk about Oz.
First of all, Oz is backwards. Everything about it is ruined, thanks to Dorothy, who’s no longer that sweet little girl in pigtails who just wanted to go home. She now rules Oz, only concerned with her own happiness and her eternal thirst for magic. She’s enslaved the munchkins and flying monkeys, and, well, let’s just leave it as everything is topsy-turvy.
Oh, and the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man? Evil, evil, and more evil. They’re corrupt as all get out, and something out of a horror movie now.
Now, I love re-telling’s of childhood stories, especially ones that are twisted, corrupt versions. And this re-telling of Oz is beautifully done, sucking you right into the imagery and all the parallel’s of this evil Oz.
But the strange thing about this book is that while I was amazed at all that, there were many times I felt the story was dragging on. A lot is going on all the time, but at the same time I found myself trailing off and having to go back and re-read the last page, because Lord knows I can’t remember what I just read.
I’m not really sure what it was about the plot that made me do this, but the best thing I can think of is that I blame the title. I mean, it’s pretty obvious about what’s going to happen, right? And you know most of the book is going to be dedicated to leading up until Amy kills Dorothy, and at some point it just started to drag on. There’s all this mystery and “Don’t trust anyone, Amy” going on CONSTANTLY and I just wanted Amy to freakin’ kill Dorothy already.
“Be brave. Be angry. Don’t trust anyone.”
Another thing that really annoyed me were the people around Amy. As I said before, everyone – and I do mean everyone – is constantly telling Amy not to trust anyone, not even them, but they also get mad at her for not sticking to the plan to kill Dorothy when they aren’t telling her the plan to begin with!! And then they come back to say that “things are bigger than you, Amy,” and that she just needs to trust them and do what she’s told.
What is this?!
Pardon me if I find Amy’s reaction a little justifiable. Heck, I sure wouldn’t trust these people.
Probably my number one beef with YA books now-in-days is when (to me) the heroine is making a pretty good, rational decision, one that if I had been in her place, I probably would have also made, and no matter if it ends badly or not, the other characters in the book get all huffy-an’-puffy about her not sticking to the plan (even though they’ve been keeping a chest-full of secrets from her, apparently for her own good) and completely talk down to her. Because now (apparently) she’s ruined the whole plan (that she probably didn’t even know about) and what she should have done was sit quietly in a corner until called upon. Lord forbid the girl actually has the instinct to do what feels like the right thing to do and acts on it without being told to.
May I punch those characters now? Please?
(Screw it; I’m going for it.)
I actually really liked Amy. She’s got good common sense, and doesn’t trust anyone. She would be stupid to. She’s kind of been tricked and forced into killing Dorothy, but at the same time, she’s doing it because Dorothy just needs to die, and Amy has been told that she’s the only who can do it.
But she doesn’t just take that explanation and run with it. She does not let anyone push her around, and while she knows that she’s going to need to make some pretty difficult choices for the good of Oz, she doesn’t let that cloud her judgment. She’s still going to help people, even if it means putting a damper on the grand plan no one seems to want to tell her about.
And, like any good heroine, she knows when someone has gone too far in the name of the “common Good” and doesn’t stand for it.
“Like dipping me under the spring, she did what she thought she needed to do. But this time she’d gone too far.”
The romance: very, very light. This really isn’t a romance novel, at all. And while I did like that, the guy who is the love interest just annoys me. Amy’s too good for him, and I love that she’s not a drooling puppy over him.
(*Gasp*) You mean to tell me that the heroine isn’t a hormonal, sappy teenage girl who falls head-over-ruby-red-heels in love with the first good looking guy she meets?! WHAT IS THIS??!
To be quite honest, I think Amy should just tell everyone else “To hell with it,” and run away. Everyone around her is using her for their own reason, their own vendetta, and she knows it. I got the feeling more than once that she would just be better off trying to kill Dorothy on her own, everyone around her be damned.
The plot and how the re-telling was done is what really saved this book for me. It’s beautifully written, and I’m very glad to finally read a re-telling of The Wizard of Oz.
Horror version, of course.
There’s blood and guts. There’s the tearing of limbs and punishments via Dorothy about just looking at her the wrong way. She’s one of those characters that’s so ruthlessly evil that you find yourself getting excited about the prospect of her dying.
If you look at the back of the novel, it says:
“Remove the Tin Man’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
And then – Dorothy must die.”
But here’s the thing: only one of these things happen in the book. And not until practically the very end. And then looking it up on Goodreads did I discover that this is a freakin’ trilogy, so anyone want to take a guess? If only one of these things happened in the first, very long book in the series, I’m guessing that there will be one other one happening in the next book, and then two more happening in the last book. Oh, joy.
So, in other words, it’s going to get drawn out like crazy.