A retelling of the original story 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 a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.
When I first saw this book on shelves I had no interest in reading it, but it’s always been there taunting me. I don’t know why it didn’t catch my attention at first but since I’ve been in a reading-rut I figured I’d try anything.
No surprise, I ended up liking it.
Switching up the story and making Dorothy the villain is pretty clever. Odds are we’ve all seen the original Wizard of Oz but what would happen if Dorothy took her fame a little too far? What if she got her hands on the same magic the Wicked Witch used to terrorize Oz?
Amy Gumm is a teenage girl from Kansas with pink hair who happens to get swept up in a tornado and taken to Oz to escape her everyday life. Like Dorothy, Amy’s frustrations started to take a toll. An absent mother and constant bullying at school, Amy couldn’t find any reasons to stay. If only a convenient tornado appeared…
Now, it’s only her and her mom’s rat Star trying to survive the twisted version of Oz they landed in.
The Other Girl From Kansas
It’s not hard to sympathize with Amy as she’s bullied for not having a lot of money and her mom chose drugs over her. However, Amy isn’t perfect and there were times she’d tick at a nerve. Amy isn’t one for listening and even when people, much more knowledgeable than her, tell her to do something in a situation she seems to do the opposite.
“Don’t do this to attract Dorothy’s attention. Don’t do this to piss the Tin Man off.”
Amy does exactly that and I’m slamming the book on my lap.
I get she’s a teenager and does have a mouth (something I had no problem with) but she did have a lot of growing up to do and being in a murderous world will do it pretty quick.
Wicked is Good
One of my favorite parts of the book is the Wicked Witches (from all parts of Oz) coming together and forming a rebellion to take out Dorothy. Don’t count on the Scarecrow, Lion, or Tin Man to help kill Dorothy; they’re just as dedicated to her as Glinda. That’s when the Wicked Witches come in.
At first, Amy did come across judgemental when she learned what she got herself into. Mombi, Glamora, Gert, and Nox each have a specific skill set they plan on training Amy with from manners to magic and fighting.
You may wonder why Amy’s being trained in the first place? Well, most of Oz thinks she’s there to take out Dorothy since no one knows why a tornado brought her, but see it as a sign. Amy, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with it or the Wicked Witches.
For the most part, I did like this book, but there are parts that I wasn’t a big fan of. I already mentioned Amy and her not-listening nature but one of the things I did like about Amy is how much she cared about others. She cared about the flying monkeys sawing off their wings so Dorothy couldn’t control them, but any time she tried to save someone the Wicked didn’t see as a priority, they got mad at her.
Meanwhile, they tell her next to nothing and send her out on her own without any help.
Amy’s love interest, Nox, isn’t a bad fit but they are literally a forced relationship. The damn Wicked Witches admit it. I preferred the guy Amy met when she first arrived in Oz, Pete, but the mystery surrounding him got me more interested in Amy and Pete than Amy and Nox. When the twist surrounding Pete is revealed I’ll admit it took me by surprise.
Amy and Nox isn’t the worst couple I’ve come across, and with more books to read they may grow on me, but for now, I just didn’t get excited over their scenes together. I didn’t get one of those stupid grins when I see a couple I root for together.
Seeing Dorothy in a different light than what we already know of her kept me reading. Once Amy got to Oz, it brought a new life to the story. Watching her grow and gain more confidence in herself and what she can do kept me reading. I honestly wasn’t sure how it would end. With more books in the series, I didn’t expect Dorothy to die within the first, but curiosity kept me reading.
From a lipstick that forces you to smile to using Munchkins and flying monkeys as slaves or the Cowardly Lion “eating” the courage within a person for his own, it turned out much more twisted than I thought before going in.
Any time there’s a retelling of an original story it usually catches my attention, for better or worse. The Lunar Chronicles are one of my favorites, just as an example. If you’re like me and put off this series, because you weren’t sure if you’d like it or a darker version of the original, I would recommend this for those skeptics.