The Star Malaysia - Star2
Mission: Kill Dorothy
cruel Grand Inquisitor of the Emerald Police, the Scarecrow has turned into a mad scientist, and the Lion goes around consuming people’s fear, as well as assorted body parts.
Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz, has been basically zombified, while Glinda the Good Witch is a party to Dorothy’s fascist rule.
The Munchkins are being pressganged into mining more and more of Oz’s magic to feed Dorothy’s craze for power, and the flying monkeys are being forced to choose between cutting off their wings for freedom, or keeping them and being enchanted to serve Dorothy.
Meanwhile, the rebellion (because of course there’s a rebellion) is being led by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, headed by the remaining Wicked Witches of Oz. (Nope, Dorothy didn’t get all of them. Ever wondered who was the Witch of the South? You’ll find out in this book.)
Amy – sarcastic school misfit, daughter of a pill-popping trailerpark mum and a father who abandoned them – gets dumped into the middle of all this by (surprise! surprise!) a tornado.
Although she is initially reluctant to get involved in Ozian politics, she ends up not having much of a choice when she frees a condemned flying monkey and gets caught by the Tin Woodman.
Brought before Dorothy herself, Amy is soon thrown into jail and faces a sentence of a Fate Worse Than Death.
Her only way out is to join the Order, where she is given the task of assassinating Dorothy, because, well, no one else can do it, much as they would like to. (Why? Because people from the Other Place are special.)
Along the way, she gets trained in all things martial, magical and manners-related.
No prizes for guessing that her martial trainer is a sceptical but hot young wizard who goes by the name of Nox. Cue instant attraction and acute denial.
Amy, as a reluctant hero, is pretty believable, and Paige’s writing is easy to read.
The main problem – aside from the instant-attraction bit, a fairly pervasive problem in young adult fiction – is that, despite the blurb, Amy only discovers her threefold task near the end of the book.
So, no, Dorothy does not die in this book.
And, in fact, the whole book is merely a build-up to Amy’s discovery of the actual task ahead of her.
While I did rather enjoy reading the book, this ending left me disappointed. The experience was rather like a balloon being steadily being blown up to full size, only to be allowed to rapidly deflate just as it is reaching its zenith.
And I’m not sure that I’m sufficiently invested enough to wait out the two more sequels and two digital novellas that are suppose to follow this novel, to find out how and if Dorothy does indeed die.
Overall, a decent read, with a disappointing ending meant to lure the reader into buying three books, when one would have done.