{A Twist in the Tail} DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Five more days. Five more days!!!
Are you ready to go back to Oz???

DOROTHY MUST DIE is the big book everyone is buzzing about this spring--and it comes out on Tuesday!!

The CW has an option to turn the series into a TV show. The publisher just released the first TWELVE chapters for you to read now.

Bookstores across the country are handing out sampler booklets to curious customers.

Social Media can't stop talking about it.

Epic Reads continues to create new posts around its new tentpole title, including the awesome Dorothy Must Die 101 primer that you all need to brush up on before reading and the fun What's Your Oz Name? generator.

(Mine, for the record, is either Evillene Pinagree or Evillene Baffleburg! Our last names are chosen by our astrological sign, and since I'm on the cusp line, I can go either way! Growing up, I was considered a Leo, but now with the new charts, I'm a Cancer. Go figure...)

O P E N I N G   L I N E:
    I FIRST DISCOVERED I WAS TRASH THREE days before my ninth birthday--one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started taking pills, and began exclusively waring bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.
    I was informed of my trashiness on the playground by Madison Pendleton, a girl in a pink Target sweat suit who thought she was all that because her house had one and a half bathrooms.

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most iconic tales of our generation. Memorabilia from the movie continues to be popular.

Why no, I don't have a whole dresser top full of Oz memorabilia to call my own.
Me, a hoarder? Never!!! ^.~

Retellings are far and between, but those that exist do very, very well. Look at Gregory Maguire's WICKED: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which has been turned into a runaway hit on Broadway. Look at the current villain du jour on ABC's TV series Once Upon a Time. The Wicked Witch was the most iconic character of all...

Until now.

It takes a lot of bravery and guts to take a beloved tale, twist it up, and shatter it into a thousand pieces. Danielle Paige was born Dauntless. She's more than up for the task, and has created a twisted, wicked version of Oz unlike anything else out there. Her full innovation reminds me of the way A.G. Howard completely corrupted and re-envisioned Wonderland in her best-selling Splintered series. DOROTHY MUST DIE is as dark and gritty as every retelling out there featuring a bad, bad green witch...except now, everything wicked is good, and everything good is wicked. Because in Oz, up is down and down is up.
...Say what?

Amy Gumm grew up in Kansas. She knows the story of Dorothy and her friends as well as everyone else. But they're just that. Stories. When her trailer home is swept away in a tornado and Amy herself lands in Oz, she can't believe it. Only the yellow brick road at her feet convinces her that this isn't a dream. But nothing is as it appears to be. She's stopped from rushing to greet her childhood favorite, Glinda the Good, and asked if she has a death threat. She hears that Dorothy is back in Oz and now a Princess...and very demanding. When the Tin Woodman captures Dorothy and she's thrown in jail to face execution, Amy is saved by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. At first, she's terrified. Who wants to be surrounded by a bunch of wicked witches and warlocks? But then she discovers that they're the only ones capable of saving Oz and destroying Dorothy...but only if she, ordinary girl Amy Gumm, agrees to be their weapon of destruction...

Sounds totally bad-ass, right? Very Kill Bill (Or at least, how I imagine the movie must be, since I'm too squeamish to actually sit down and watch it). And there is blood and gore. I kind of had to skim-read a couple of parts, I admit it. While Amy doesn't want to get her hands dirty, she realizes over the course of the novel that there may not be any other choice. Amy is also highly susceptible here. Growing up, she was called Salvation Amy and treated like trailer trash. Her mom is drunk all the time and doesn't care. In Oz, Amy has a chance to shed that image and find people who care about her for the first time in her life. While Amy starts off as incredibly annoying, by the end of the novel, she's begun to grow and evolve, and I can imagine her being totally fierce by the end of the series.

I really like the way Paige incorporates so much of L. Frank Baum's series into the novel and doesn't rely solely on movie references. I cheered when Princess Ozma and Jellia Jamb made their first appearances. I loved seeing scenery like the ever-shifting mountains come to life, and the Deadly Desert that completely surrounds Oz. Even the first-hand "experience" in being sucked up in a tornado and whisked away to another realm felt tangible. It was fun to see that, rather than have a pet dog, Amy comes to Oz with her mom's mean pet rat Star. Star reminds me of Buttercup from THE HUNGER GAMES. Buttercup always hissed at Katniss and only liked Prim, until she'd been through so much and just wanted a familiar face to love. Star is the same way. She loves Amy's mom and hates Amy, but once the two survive a tornado and landed in the unfamiliar world of Oz, they're suddenly one another's only companions and forced into a newfound friendship. Amy can't trust any one, not even people she should be able to rely on. Nothing is what it seems in Oz, and there's a motive for everything.

Were there issues in the book? Yes, absolutely, but it's a debut novel and the series--and author--will only improve from here out. Was I shocked that a huge spoiler from the end of the book was widely known before I even opened the book and began reading? Again, yes, but I can understand why and it definitely adds to the appeal of picking this up, even if it left me wondering for way too long. There's also a lot of creativity in the writing to balance these aspects out. Tattoos are suddenly crazy awesome, living things of their own (I think I want one of these!). There's also a product called PermaSmile, which sounds awesome on the surface, but it's really sinister and creepy, and showcases so much of Dorothy's philosophy. We also get to know Dorothy's policies more and more, sliding into the knowledge that our beloved heroine has destroyed Oz and become a frivolous, vain, unfeeling woman who cares only for her own comforts in life.

It will be interesting to see where Paige takes the series and how popular it will be. The CW has an option out to turn this into a series, but this fall, NBC is putting out a ten-episode mini-series (with the possibility to expand with a second "season") entitled Emerald City, which will feature a bloodier, more sinister Oz. The two series may be too alike to both be on TV. (Which makes you wonder if NBC  heard about Danielle Paige's book deal with HarperCollins and rushed to develop something similar!)

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

It has the iconic musts. Dorothy's dress. Her shoes (And if those shoes give you any indication, this is based on the original book series by L. Frank Baum, not the movie that changed her shoe color from silver to red). The red is, instead, reserved for the title of the book, giving the words DOROTHY MUST DIE a vicious feel, which is appropriate considering their meaning!

Look at the way those letters raise off the finished jacket:

© 2013 HarperCollins Publishers

Eye-catching, no?

I also love the textured background.

It's funny what people see when they look at this cover. One of my co-workers only saw the word DIE when I showed him the book, while another only saw the picture of Dorothy's dress and not the words!

Either way, definitely a memorable cover!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Danielle Paige
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Received: For Review (ALA Copy)

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: 
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. 
Steal the Scarecrow's brain. 
Take the Lion's courage. 
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!


  1. Really looking forward to reading this book

  2. Lovely review! This makes me want to read it more than I did before. I've never been all that interested in The Wizard of Oz but there's a first for everything.


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