Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dorothy Must Die // painfully whiny and cliché

Cliché after cliché after cliché after cliché.

This was so painfully cliché that I had to DNF at 27%. I couldn't take it. The premise was interesting, and this new and darker Oz was interesting and something I really wanted to explore, but all the twisted brambles and dark edges were diminished by ALL THOSE CLICHÉS. Some of them weren't even clichés precisely, just phrases that just absolutely did not need to be in the book because they sounded so childish. Here's a list:

"Don't make the same mistakes she made." Could he have been talking about Dorothy?
-- Did Amy really need to ask that question?

a girl from Kansas doesn't let much get to her.
-- What does that even mean? That line is just so empty.

It was a magically delicious apple!
-- explanation points? Seriously? Are we 5?

Ollie had gotten away. He had abandoned us, if you wanted to be technical about it.
-- This read like someone was trying to desperately reach a word count.

Her eyes were open but no one was home.
-- Clichés like this really don't work when I'm meant to take something seriously.

Someplace so dark I couldn't see my hands.
-- I think you get the point.

This was only a handful from the first 27% of the book. The thing with clichés is that they can work if you know you're using them, or twist them in a new way and make them your own. But these just didn't work. They completely took me out of the story and ruined any semblance of a dark atmosphere (which was limited anyway due to the intense telling and no showing).

To add to this, I could not stand the protagonist's voice. I imagine it was meant to seem sarcastic, but it doesn't come across strongly enough so she just sounds petty and bitter. There is a typical high school mean girl who bullied Amy, but I didn't appreciate the stereotyping of making her pregnant - with some lines suggesting she deserved it for being a mean person.

This isn't the only time Amy judges other women for their appearances. She describes Dorothy's dress in clear detail:

The bodice nipped, tucked and lifted. There was cleavage.
Lots of cleavage.
Dorothy's boobs were out to here, her legs up to there.

Sorry is this the middle ages? Are women still defined as sluts and villains by the way they dress? Amy says "Not that I was judging", but describing other female characters to be awful purely through appearance seems kind of judgemental to me.

This really juvenile narrative voice made it really hard for me to engage with the story itself, which may not have been half bad (although Amy does kiss a boy on the cheek after knowing him for 2 days so maybe I'm optimistic). I think the knowledge that this is a series also weighed on my mind, because I would not be able to handle another three books of this.


  1. It seems like my decision not to give this series a try was a good one. I haven't really heard amazing things about it, and I feel like retellings can be massive hits or misses.

    It's a shame you didn't like it, though. Especially since Oz retellings aren't as popular as fairytale ones so it's not like you can easily go and find another one that might be to your taste.

    I really don't like the sound of Amy, and I cannot stand it when female characters describe other women/girls like that, and look down on them for owning their sexuality. It always makes me DNF a book so I would have DNFd it like you did.

    I hope you find a great book to read next, Helia!

    1. Yeah you definitely haven't missed out. I love the idea of retellings but I often find them lacking in terms of world building and realism (just because I've read the story before doesn't mean I'll automatically connect to it like I did with the original).

      I actually wanted to read this because I've been planning to write an Oz retelling of my own! I was concerned they might be similar so I really want to get through the whole of this book, but from what I've read my idea is very different and I've given my friend my plot Synopsis and she's confirmed that they are nothing alike which is good news :D

      I've head that Amy improves throughout the series as a character but GAH I couldn't stand her. It wasn't just the woman hate - she was just genuinely bitter and annoying.

      Thank you Chiara!!

  2. YES YES YES! I love retellings so I tried this book out ages ago, but I couldn't stand it! I think I made myself read the whole book but you missed out on absolutely nothing. What really got to me was that things that are mentioned in the plot summary on the back don't even happen until the final few chapters. This story is going to be so incredibly stretched out -- maybe it would have been better if it'd been one book, not a series!

    1. I'm glad to hear it! I was definitely feeling as though I was misled by the blurb - literally nothing happened in what I read other than Amy whining about how much her life sucks and how she basically hates every woman she comes across, alongside some really annoying echoing of Oz iconic lines. I would love to see this full 4 book series as a standalone book - I imagine I'd enjoy it a whole lot more