When I picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect, I assumed it would be a parody of the Wizard of Oz, one of my all-time favourite movies and books by Frank L. Baum. When I was a child I watched this movie on repeat and fell instantly in love with Judy Garland and her ruby slippers. This book was on a new level compared to the movie and book I know well. Oz has been ripped apart by Dorothy who is draining the land of it’s magic, she has created her team of horrific officials made out of the scarecrow, the lion and the tinman and the only person who can stop them is Amy and the wicked witches.
There are some minor plot details below so continue with caution.
This book doesn’t hold back, opening with the tumultuous relationship between Amy and her mother. Amy’s mother is depressed and depends on drugs to get through her day, they live in a trailer park and Amy isn’t very popular at school, with her fellow classmates or teachers. At first I was interested in Amy, she didn’t have it easy but within a few pages it’s easy to see she isn’t a character that gets pushed around and stays quiet about it. Amy has her guard up, her attitude ready for anyone who challenges her and her strength both physical and emotionally had me hooked; I’m a sucker for a strong female protagonist.
As I said earlier this book did not hold back and some of the details were much darker than I expected; animals dying, torture and a lot of death. To be honest Dorothy was a right bitch in this book and even the descriptions of her and what she wore painted the picture of the queen bee from high school. One of my favourite characters in the book was Star, Amy’s pet rat, being an owner of two rats I was really proud to see Star feature in the plot and for her to have an important part.
I did find it a little strange that Amy landed in Oz after a tornado and within a day befriend people, believe what they say and fit in with only a grumble of confusion and disconcertion. There are points in the plot where she wonders how she ended up there, why this is happening and when she finds herself in a sticky situation she takes the only opportunity she can to get out. She weighs up her options to go home but then she faces an inside battle whether she even wants to go home? The fact that she comes from a single parent family, low income and a mother fighting her own demons brings this ‘fairytale’ and magical retelling into the real world. I enjoyed the fact it started with a realistic family representation even if it wasn’t expected. However I will be greatly disappointed if we get to the end of the series to find out the whole scenario is in Amy’s head as a form of escapism from a tough family life. It better not go all ‘Lost’ on us!
Overall there were parts of the plot that were slow, I did struggle sometimes to get through the book and as much as I wanted to read what happens next I found it equally as difficult to pick the book up at the start. Towards the middle the action started to unfold but it did take a long time to settle into the plot.
Although I want to know what will happen in the rest of the story I have a feeling it will be a while before I rush out and buy the next books in the series. I am also a little hesitant because I know this is a long series and I do wonder how many books have I to get through before Dorothy gets what she deserves. The ending to this book was exciting, fast paced and left me wanting more but a great ending didn’t compensate for a tedious beginning.
I gave this book 3 and a half stars out of 5 on goodreads because overall the plot was interesting even if I do harbour a little bit of resentment for darkening one of my favourite movies/classics. However I found the last third of the book intriguing and I was interested to see what was going to happen. I’m going to keep a lookout for the next book in the series and depending how I feel on the day, they may get added to my collection.