Posted by: Frank Miceli
Take everything you thought you knew about the Wizard of Oz and its characters and throw it out of the window immediately!! This is not the Oz we grew up with as children. At first you might think how can someone take a story that was and still is so fantastic, twist it and still make it something worth reading? Well Danielle Paige has found a way.
Let me start by saying that I am not always a fan of “Novellas.” However, for this series, the Novellas are an important way of understanding how Oz got to its current state of affairs. There are 9 Novellas in all, summarized in 3 books labeled Dorothy Must Die Stories Volume 1, 2 and 3. All 9 Novellas are set as prequels from where L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz ended and Dorothy Must Die begins. Each Novella is told from the point of view of a different character giving some much needed backstory. I have previously avoided Novellas for other series such as the I Am Number Four series but this is one set that I highly recommend taking the time to read. If you have not begun the series yet my recommendation would be to wait until March 14th when the last set of Novellas is released along with the final book in the series, The End of Oz.
Dorothy is evil! Yes, let me repeat that – Dorothy is evil! How could something such as this come to pass you ask? Well I believe John Emerich Edward Balberg-Acton (a mouthful I know) said it best when he wrote a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887. In this letter he stated that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men”. In this case Dorothy has indeed been corrupted. The corruption does not end with Dorothy however. Remember Dorothy’s friends? The ones who helped her in her journey the first time she visited Oz? Well you will hardly recognize the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Lion or Glinda the good witch anymore!
It was hard for me to believe that these loveable characters from my childhood could be seen in such a dark light. However, Danielle Paige has successfully managed to create new versions of characters that are far from what we remember. Such detail is given into not only the physical appearances of each character but also a glimpse into their state of mind. I could never have imagined the Scarecrow would be one of the most fearsome characters we are introduced to in this series. I was gladly proven wrong. It does not take long to forget that those who once tried to save the Land of Oz are now exploiting it and are on the verge of destroying it.
Dorothy and Amy Gumm share several similar qualities. Both girls are whisked away from Kansas to Oz. Both are in utter shock at Oz when they first arrive albeit it for very different reasons. Both girls seemed not to fit in back in the “real world”. Both girls also fight until the bitter end for their friends and family. I found this to be an important theme present at all times in the series. Dorothy and Amy come to Oz and find people who begin as friends but end as family. They will both go to the ends of the Earth to protect/save their family.
This series has it all. Characters to love and characters to hate. Characters to cheer for and characters to root against. Friendship, family and love. Magic and munchkins and flying monkeys. Sneaky “politics” and back alley deals. The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (a secret order of “bad” witches trying to save Oz and usurp Dorothy.) Unbelievable worlds you cannot help but want to be a part of. Trust me when I say, if you liked the Wizard of Oz growing up, this series is 110% for you. If you were not a fan of the original, I still believe there are enough twists that will allow this to be a very enjoyable read.
Do not forget to pick up a copy of the 4th and final book in the series The End of Oz which released on March 14th. Check out Danielle Paige’s website for details regarding a book release tour with scheduled appearances - http://daniellepaigebooks.com/
To Purchase these books please click the links below!
"I know my opinions will not always align with everyone else’s. I hope this blog serves as a way to introduce others to books they would otherwise not have read." - Frank Miceli Jr.
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