The Queen of Oz by Danielle Paige

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The Queen of Oz (Dorothy Must Die #0.9)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

The Queen of Oz tells the story of how Pete came to be. Let me save you about 80 pages of reading: Mombi is entrusted with the task of protecting and hiding baby Ozma so she decides to perform a transformation spell that goes wrong and turns Ozma into a boy, Pete. I don’t know why this detail couldn’t be added to the main story, but I guess since writing is a business, when you have the opportunity to write more and make more money, you do it, right?

The main thing I learned from The Queen of Oz isn’t even Dorothy Must Die specific: adults and teenagers need better lines of communication. Ozma wouldn’t have wound up in Glinda’s clutches if Mombi had been more open with Pete and Pete hadn’t succumbed to his “woe is me” hormones. Mombi didn’t have to immediately tell Pete his true identity, but she could have made it clear that there was danger. She also could have told him more about Oz and its political and social structure. I also think it would have been less suspicious to the general public if Mombi had let Pete out more instead of hiding him away. I think Pete would have helped the situation if instead of jumping to the conclusion that Mombi hated and resented him, he was more reasonable. There could be plenty of reasons why Mombi kept Pete isolated, but Pete figures that she wants free labor. Also, instead of trying to communicate with Mombi, Pete decides to run away, like how predictable. All over some chance encounter with a guy, how boring. This all shows that adults have to be more open with teenagers and teenagers can’t behave like the children they don’t want to be mistaken for.

Anyway, back to the novella. Unless your in the mood for an interlude of teen angst, don’t bother.

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Dark Side of the Rainbow By Danielle Paige

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Dark Side of the Rainbow (Dorothy must Die #0.8)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 1.5

You’re likely to DNF this novella. I’m just being honest. I probably would have if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been following this series so closely and wanted to provide a more informed review of the novella. The main problem I had with Dark Side of the Rainbow is how drawn out, dry, and boring it is. The story doesn’t get interesting until the last 10-15 pages, which means the story is about 75% filler.

Dark Side of the Rainbow tells the story of Dorothy’s interaction with Polychrome and how Rainbow Falls became a hidden kingdom in the sky. Like every other novella where Dorothy tries to interact with someone, she shows up and fucks shit up. In Dark Side of the Rainbow, Dorothy travels to Rainbow Falls with the intention of learning how to use fairy magic from Polychrome, but when Polly refuses to teach Dorothy, Dorothy decides that she will not tolerate any disobedience and decides she will destroy Rainbow Falls and kill Polychrome. But Dorothy underestimates Polly and is shown the door, even though Rainbow Falls has sustained substantial damage.

I’m really making this novella sound more exciting than it actually is.

Even with the showdown between Dorothy and Polly and a sort of explanation as to why Rainbow Falls is hidden in the sky, I’m still left with some questions:

Who the hell is Bright? And where the hell did he come from?

Paige gives Polly a love interest with no background as to who he is, where his from, or what his intentions are. To make matters worse, Bright appears and disappears from Polly’s life at will, which is very suspicious. Like, where is he going? And why does he keep coming back? WHAT ARE HIS INTENTIONS?

Overall, Dark Side of the Rainbow is a strong pass. This whole series is turning out to be a strong pass.  wlEmoticon-rainbow.png

Order of the Wicked – Danielle Paige

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Order of the Wicked (Dorothy Must Die #0.7)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

This novella might have been more interesting if it hadn’t been so long since I read a Dorothy Must Die novella or novel. Coming into the story fresh, it was hard for me to decipher who was important and who was not. Namely, I couldn’t figure out if there was a point to me reading Lanadel’s POV – I don’t remember her from the other books. Nox, Mombi, Gert, and Glamora are present, but no new information is given about them to say their stories are fleshed out. No new information is given about the Order either since everything “has to be” shrouded in mystery and secrecy to ensure nothing can be revealed if Dorothy happens to capture and torture an Order member.

If this sounds like a waste of a novella, it is.

Even if Lanadel is an important character, we don’t learn much about her: She joins the Order to avenge her family – Dorothy’s army murdered her parents and her two brothers – but she’s lying to herself as much as the Order is lying to her. Lanadel refuses to admit that her family is dead because, once peaceful, Ozians are turning on one another without being poisoned by Dorothy’s magic. Also, Lanadel refuses to see that she responds to Nox so negatively because he receives affection from the girl she has a thing for. (Lanadel may be gay, but I can’t be 100% sure because she never allows herself to explore her feelings.)

The whole novella becomes moot at the end when Lanadel states that she’s grateful for the training she’s received, but she’s no longer going to work for the Order. This makes all her whining needless because she’s not even going to work with the people she’s been bitching about the whole book. Lanadel claims she’s leaving because of the Order’s secrets, but really she’s leaving because Melindra is being sent to spy on Dorothy’s palace, where her death is almost certain, and Lanadel doesn’t have the courage to tell Melindra how she really feels.

Ruler of Beasts – Danielle Paige

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Ruler of Beasts (Dorothy Must Die #0.6)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2.5

This novella almost got three stars but then the ending happened. But let me go back and start from the beginning.

Ruler of Beasts isn’t as informative as the previous two novellas. Meaning, unlike with Tin and Scarecrow, there is no explicit point where Lion goes from good to wicked. Yes, Glinda uses evil magic on him, but Lion was so bored with “ruling” the Forest of the Beasts that he would have done her bidding without magic. After the interaction with Glinda, Lion spends most of his time eating and sleeping at the Emerald Palace until Ozma invites him on a journey. (Tin, Scarecrow, and Lion are journey/quest/battle junkies since meeting Dorothy.) I actually start to like Lion during this mission, but that doesn’t last long. During the mission, Lion finally starts to show his courage and to think about someone other than himself. However, at the end when Ozma learns Lion is working for Glinda, instead of accepting responsibility for his actions and admitting he is wrong, Lion mentally rants about how Ozma is a terrible person because she won’t accept the good he did do even if it was wrapped in bad. I really dislike people who instead of admitting their faults and mistakes, will blame the other person for not viewing the situation in a way that benefits them. This is how Lion reacts when Ozma, rightfully, stops trusting him because of his betrayal. For me, Lion goes from decent to terrible because of this behavior.

Overall, Rule of Beasts isn’t a novella I wish I had skipped, but it wasn’t very interesting. The novella made me dislike Lion and not in a way where I empathize with him like I did with Tin.

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The Straw King – Danielle Paige

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The Straw King (Dorothy Must Die #0.5)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 3

The Straw King tells the story of how Scarecrow stopped being the King of Oz. From other books in the series, we learn that Scarecrow stops being king because Ozma shows up and since she is the rightful ruler of Oz, Scarecrow renounces the throne to her. The Straw King takes a long-winded, dramatic journey to show how Ozma ended up with the throne. What really irked me about this novella is how some of the details seemed to contradict each other, but the contradictions were ignored for the sake of drama. For example, the characters repeatedly say that no one has ever tried to usurp the throne and yet Scarecrow is able to consult a book on despots. A book that’s so current it tells Scarecrow that Jinjur, the general of the attackers, has always wanted the throne and has never liked the Wizard, Scarecrow, Lion, or Tin. Isn’t that a bit too convenient and unusual? Jinjur can’t express to Scarecrow why he is an unfit ruler, but there’s a whole book “explaining” her motives and the motives of people like her, yet this has never happened before. Plus Jinjur and her army have guns and a moped. I never knew Oz had such weapons and if there are vehicles in Oz, why does everyone walk (sometimes fly) places? Why not just buy/rent a vehicle and get places faster?

Another discrepancy that bothered me is when Scarecrow is on his way to the Forest of Beasts and interacts with a Munchkin girl, Hibiscus Lemon. Hibiscus mentions that she doesn’t mind if the Wizard, Scarecrow, or Ozma rule Oz, but at this point in the story, Hibiscus should not think there is a possibility of Ozma ruling. She should still think that Ozma was killed when she was young. This isn’t a significant detail but it still bothered me.

Nonetheless, it is still interesting to see Glinda’s plan unfold.

“… the trick isn’t to be on the throne- it’s to be behind it…. Kings and queens come and go, but power stays with the powerful. You don’t have to be the King of Oz to rule it.” – Glinda

For those who watch Scandal, Glinda is the Cyrus of the Dorothy Must Die series; she’s willing to do whatever it takes to have power and control the throne (Oz’s oval office).

Overall, The Straw King isn’t much better than Heart of Tin. It’s less sappy, but Scarecrow has his own annoying characteristic (his need to be reassured that he is clever).

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Heart of Tin – Danielle Paige

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Heart of Tin (Dorothy Must Die #0.4)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

Even though this is a novella, parts of the tale can be interpreted as an ode about Dorothy written by the Tin Woodman. If you’re not into mushy romance or someone confessing his/her love for another every other sentence or so, then you should skip this novella. You don’t learn much about Tin’s role in bad Oz other than he loves Dorothy a lot and is willing to do anything for her to the point where someone can manipulate Tin by claiming that a particular action will benefit Dorothy and make her happy. For the most part, I pitied Tin. All he wants is to love and be loved but he is in an environment where love is a weakness and that weakness can be manipulated.

The only part I truly enjoyed about the novella- talk of love and devotion became tiresome quickly – was the power structure among the characters. At this point at least, it is clear that Glinda is at the top. She is influencing everyone’s behavior using some sort of dark magic. On the other end of the spectrum is Tin Woodman. He is clearly a pawn. Somewhere in between is Scarecrow. It’s clear that he’s not on the same level as Tin, but from this novella alone, it is difficult to interpret how much Glinda may be controlling Scarecrow. It’s also difficult to interpret how much Dorothy is being controlled but she clearly isn’t herself. However, other than this bit of analysis, Heart of Tin is mostly a journal entry of Tin’s (unreciprocated) love for Dorothy.

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The Wicked Will Rise… But This Book Will Fail To Meet Expectations

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2.5

I’m borderline offended that I’ve waited this long for the second installment of Dorothy Must Die and read all the novellas published to date and Danielle Paige publishes this garbage. I’m not normally one to say such rude and harsh things about a book, even books that I rate a 1-star or don’t finish are for what I consider to be legitimate reasons and I don’t say harsh things about them, but The Wicked Will Rise was truly a test of my patience and my perseverance. I wouldn’t be surprised if people couldn’t finish this book, but it’s more likely that people will love this book and I’ll be sitting on the sidelines questioning whether we read the same story.

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The Wizard Returns

The Wizard Returns (Dorothy Must Die #0.3)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 3

If Danielle Paige was trying to get me to hate the Wizard, then she did a great job. I was eager to find out what had happened to Wizard after he had “left” and subsequently “returned” later in the story, but I wasn’t expecting all of this. The Wizard is selfish, manipulative, and slightly misogynistic. I immediately didn’t like him and he had amnesia for crying out loud! Like you must be a terrible person and have a terrible personality if even when you can’t remember who you are, you still hurt people as if you were your old self. But I kept reading because I had high hopes for the Wizard. I thought Paige was going to spin the story around and make it a sort of coming-of-age novella. But no such luck. The Wizard actually ends up worse in the end when he gets his memories back. In the end, he’s selfish, manipulative, misogynistic, and deceptive. He claims to be staying in Oz to help them get rid of Dorothy, but really he’s an evil male Dorothy in the making.

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The Witch Must Burn – Danielle Paige

The Witch Must Burn (Dorothy Must Die #0.2)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 3

In a review about the first novella, I briefly complained about how the first novella left me with more questions than answered ones. When I found out that there was a second prequel novella, I thought it would answer those questions. I was wrong. Unlike the first novella, which was in Dorothy’s POV, this novella was in Jellia’s, Dorothy’s personal maid, POV. While Jellia could describe the changes that occurred between Ozma’s and Dorothy’s reign, she didn’t know the exact reasons why these changes were occurring. Of course, the most base answer is that Dorothy changed everything, but I wanted to know how or when Dorothy became evil? And if she’s been a pawn of Glinda’s since the original Wizard of Oz? How did the Scarecrow come up with his experiments and how did Dorothy feel about? Pretty much I wanted a more in-depth view of the world that Paige is creating. Sure this world stems from the movie The Wizard of Oz, but I want to know how everything became so twisted and how the main characters felt about this shift?

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No Place Like Oz – Danielle Paige

No Place Like Oz (Dorothy Must Die #0.1)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 3.5

Normally, I don’t bother reading prequels because I don’t care how the world in the first book  came to be, but I made an except for this one. I just needed to know how Dorothy went from being the sweet girl at the end of The Wizard of Oz to the evil queen in Dorothy Must Die. I predicted it had something to do with the red shoes and I was right! However, while Paige shows Dorothy’s descent into evilness, she doesn’t explain how Oz became so corrupt. Maybe this will be explained in another prequel book or later in the series, but for now I’m left without an answer.

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