Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) – Danielle Paige

Plot: 

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. (Goodreads)

Amy Gumms has always struggled in life. She lives in a caravan with her mum and falls victim to bullying in school. So when she finds herself swept, literally, away from Kansas and into Oz, she’s unsure what it is she’s here for or if it’s even real.

Quickly Amy learns of the fate of the characters from The Wizard of Oz and the untold story after Dorothy leaves. Oz is now overrun by Dorothy, who came back and stole the throne, and it’s slowly losing it’s magic. Amy becomes embroiled in a plot to rescue Oz, labelled as the hero that has come.

Her mission – kill Dorothy.

Review:

One of my most anticipated novels for 2014, I was super excited to read this having been interested in “fairytale” retellings. Whilst Dorothy Must Die wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it actually didn’t disappoint either.

Danielle Paige did a great job in mirroring the exact tone that came from the movie The Wizard of Oz. I haven’t actually read the novel so I’m not too sure about the tone there, but whilst reading DMD there was that whimsical, dreamlike mood to it but with an unsettling feeling as well. Usually with re-tellings I prefer that whilst the plot is different, the tone is similar enough to recreate the same feelings I had reading the original. It also didn’t feel so absurd that Amy had landed herself (literally) in Oz, because gradually the characters begin to pinpoint her reason for arriving. Still, I did feel like she took the whole experience relatively calmly. I would’ve freaked out!

The uneasiness whilst reading was due to Paige’s writing and her characters. The plot is suppose to be a lot more darker, but there some points when the violence got really intense and I was left feeling squeamish. Deaths that happened were grotesque and Paige wrote those moments in such a descriptive way I literally thought something was being stabbed in my guts. The characters were also modified so that they lost their original traits and became almost monster-like. It was really creepy, especially the Lion after knowing him as somewhat of a cuddly feline.

I’m not sure I love Amy just yet, but she does have great characteristics. She’s pretty badass when it comes down to it and I can rely on her to uphold the plot. I prefer characters who have some depth, but aren’t exaggerated or overly dramatic. Amy’s got scars, but it’s something that doesn’t overtake the entire story but instead, helps build her character. What I find interesting is the uncertainty of who is “good” and who is “bad”. There are definitely two sides painted, and it’s been told that Dorothy & co. are “bad”, but the people on the “good” side still carry question marks. In fact Amy is constantly reminded to not trust anyone but herself, which keeps the mystery and intensity on edge.

There was just one thing I wasn’t a fan of, and that was the love line that developed. It was such a typical move done in a cliche way, but because it was a pretty minor part I kind of overlooked it. I do like her male counterpart but maybe if it was done in a more slow and progressive way it wouldn’t have been as unbelievable or annoying.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this revised version of The Wizard of Oz. There’s a lot of potential for it to become even better considering this is the first book of the series and I am so excited to keep reading!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

The Legacy – Katherine Webb

Plot: 

After the death of their grandmother, sisters Erica and Beth Calcott return to their childhood summer house – Storton Manor. Once a place full of happy memories, they are now haunted by their cousin Henry vanishing mysteriously one holiday. Erica cannot stop thinking back to that summer as she goes through her grandmother’s belonging, but comes up with no answers.

There are too many family secrets, from generations before them, in which they must face in order to move past the events of the present. This is their legacy.

Review:

As much as the plot sounds overly dramatic, that is basically what The Legacy is about. It’s a lengthy novel with twists and turns, and stories between stories before we get to the finale. I found though, that for all the complexity, Katherine Webb did a good job in unravelling all the mysterious ties to create an intriguing read.

I’m pretty much a sucker for family mysteries, which is probably why I decided to read this. I don’t think I was disappointed with the whole web of secrets, but more the experience of reading it. Whilst Webb’s writing was descriptive and engaging, I found myself zoning out in some moments. I think the problem was the pacing and tone of the writing. I could imagine the scenery and places mentioned while reading, but because Erica’s voice is so sentimental and whimsical, it really set a slow and dull tone. At some points I had to work really hard to plod through what was happening. However, Webb also includes Erica and Beth’s great grandmother’s story, placed between present chapters. Caroline’s voice is a lot different, and I was more fascinated with her story as opposed to what was actually occurring in the present. In fact, I actually looked forward to her chapters more and there was no problem in reading that perspective. It was great to see that Webb created two distinctive voices as well, so it was clear who’s view I was reading from.

I’m not sure I loved all the characters, just because I felt like they were flat. Beth had scars and the story tried to unravel her fears, but even the revelation couldn’t really rescue her character. Erica was more like a curious teenager than her actual age, of which I could not pinpoint. I think I preferred Caroline and the characters in her past because they were a lot more interesting to read about.

The plot wove such an intricate storyline though, that I kept wondering how Webb would unravel all the mysteries. She did eventually, and in a way that caught me by surprise. This definitely made up for most of my reading experience, as the writing caught up with the intensity and helped me power through till the end. It did take awhile to get there, but I think it was worth it. It made me feel as though the read was actually worth it, I really did not expect for the mystery to be resolved as so.

There were still some questions that I had and moments that didn’t really make sense or wasn’t really addressed, but I just overlooked it at the end. It was deep and sad at some moments, and a lesson that can be learnt but overall it just lacked a little impact. I do recommend though, if you like a good mystery, especially one that has complexities but fit together to perfect the puzzle.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

June Wrap Up

Aaaaaand we’ve hit the halfway mark of the year guys. Absolutely crazy! This month was pretty quiet for me though, what with exam periods and trying to get everything done before uni ended.

Besides trying to pace my readings, I haven’t done a lot so I guess this wrap up post is going to be short. I did manage to get down what I’m planning to read this Winter Break though (yes it’s Winter here and I hate it with a passion).

Tell me what you’re planning to read down below!

One of the most exciting books I read this month was the final instalment of The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare – City of Heavenly Fire. Much to my surprise I actually loved it, I even did a full (spoiler free) review followed by discussion about it!

My total for this month is 9 and yes, I have actually surpassed my goal of 50  books for this year. That’s ok though, I just bumped it up to 80.

Reviews:

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy #2) – Michelle Hodkin

Percy Jackson Series – Rick Riordan