2.5 out of 5 stars
Some things are better (steadier and more heartfelt), some things are worse (so many monkeys): The Dorothy Must Die series still isn’t wow-ing me.
First book SPOILERS right off the bat, y’all. Read Dorothy Must Die first.
The Wicked Will Rise picks up literally moments after Dorothy Must Die ends, with plucky magical heroine Amy Gumm plummeting from the roof of the Emerald Palace. Her attempt to kill Dorothy has failed. But neither does she kill herself. Cue the monkeys.
Amy, Nox, and the Order of the Wicked must regroup in their plan to stop Dorothy’s tempestuous dictatorship. They have new information, namely that the Lion,
the Witch, and the Wardrobe the Tin Woodman, and the Scarecrow must be defeated first. Such is the magic of this place. They also have some help, maybe: Ozma, the formerly powerful and now crazy/simple/prophetic true Queen of Oz, and Pete, a gardener with a knack for emergency timing.
Ozma is both really interesting and really lame. She has a big secret, which we learn mid-book and is truly a creative, strange twist that made me “AH!” out loud. It’s also ridiculously clear to me that our heroes need to find out, and fix, whatever happened to Ozma. No one makes that a priority.
The unnecessarily gross violence continues in this book – it’s intermittent, but clearly Danielle Paige does not subscribe to Spielberg’s “Jaws” school of thought, where you get a scary hint and are left to imagine the worst. Here, you have to read it.
Once again, Amy is the best part of this book. She’s figuring out her strengths, how to define herself when all sides want a piece of her. Amy doesn’t really trust anyone – that’s a good thing. She is not the twittering ingenue of so many stories, who wakes up in trouble that’s really of her own making. As Dorothy says, she likes a girl with “gumption.” But if Amy is like Dorothy used to be, what will Amy become if she defeats her fellow Kansan? It is the only question I care about in these books.
The world of “The Wizard of Oz” still holds little nostalgia for me, so these books will never truly capture my imagination. But Danielle Paige has captured a bit more heart in The Wicked Will Rise; less paint splashed on a wall, instead a picture is beginning to emerge.