Reading roundup – 21st March 2014

March 21, 2014

One of the upcoming books that has been on my radar is Danielle Paige’s debut novel Dorothy Must Die.  This is set in the world of L Frank Baum’s Oz in which a modern day Kansas teen is taken to Oz and tasked with bringing down the current despotic tyrant, our old friend Dorothy Gale.  The concept sounded intriguing and I have heard some excited buzz around this.

So you can imagine I was excited when I discovered that there is a prequel out called No Place Like Oz which tells the story of how plucky Kansas girl Dorothy became a tyrant.  At 132 pages it’s a pretty decent length for a novella.  The electronic copy also includes a snippet from Dorothy Must Die.

I loved No Place Like Oz and it’s really whetted my appetite for Dorothy Must Die.  It is based on the L Frank Baum stories rather than the 1939 Judy Garland movie – it mentions the Silver Slippers rather than the movie’s ruby ones (apparently it was felt red made a stronger visual punch than silver) and references characters such as the China Girl and Saw-horse who only appear in the books.  Some reviewers have been put off by the inconsistency of the dates; the Oz books were published in the early 1900s and Paige’s series is basing itself on them, yet she has the main character talk about things that would have been unknown in that period.  Personally, I was so sucked up into the story I neither noticed nor cared.  

For me, I found it important that Dorothy’s journey to despotism was a mixture of both character – Dorothy is portrayed as struggling to adapt to being a normal Kansas farmgirl again after having been the heroine of Oz – and magic.  I could easily see how Dorothy the heroine could turn despotic given this perfect storm – and I can understand why she has to die.

The snippet we get from Dorothy Must Die also makes me desperate to read more.  There are definite parallels drawn between our modern day Amy Gumm and Dorothy Gale.  Suspended from school, responsible for her addict single mum, no family or financial support, Amy has as much chance of escaping her Kansas backwater as Dorothy had of escaping her farm.  It’s clear that Amy too has a lot of strength of character.  I can’t wait to read her story in Dorothy Must Die.

Added to my library this week:

William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back.  This is the sequel to Ian Doescher’s brilliant William Shakespeare’s Star Wars in which he retells Lucas Star Wars saga in the style (iambic pentameter!) of William Shakespeare.  I picked this up in both Kindle and Audible format.  I would seriously recommend picking up the audiobook rather than the book.  The fantastic cast really makes it come alive.  Enjoy.


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