Friday, September 15, 2017

Dorothy Must Die Series by Danielle Paige


I'm an Oz connoisseur.

For many years, I have enjoyed each libation from the yellow brick road.

L. Frank Baum's work has enjoyed renaissance after renaissance.

Some of it lauded, like the creation of Elphaba in Gregory Maguire's (and the broadway show) "Wicked," while others are wet sneezes -- much like this entire series.

The most recent awakening in the land of Munchkins, Winkies and the Emerald City by Danielle Paige had major potential, and since recreating stories and fairy tales with modern twists is such a thing right now, Paige made the good guys bad and the bad guys good.

I decided, I think I can get behind this..but...

As I read I realized: this lady is winded. 

Like, tornado winded.

The "Dorothy Must Die" series is two books too long.

The plot had potential...Dorothy evil? OK, I'll buy it.

For now.

Until Paige goes into detail about how Dorothy wears everything blue gingham.

Then she lost me.

Why I kept reading, I'm not entirely sure.

There's bodices, and cleavage, and pony tails, and glitter, and by the time she's done describing the once and not-so-future heroine, Dorothy is drawn like that of a Anime character.

Giant eyes. Little nose. Tiny mouth. Long legs. Brown pigtails for miles.

And then Dorothy starts to speak, and it's that of a spoiled brat.

You can say it was her cravings and addiction to the magic of Oz that did all this, but I'm not buying it. A girl from the early twentieth century is not going to talk like some Millennial hating her hand-me-down iPhone.

Danielle Paige went overboard. It was so overboard that I would rather have watched "Overboard" with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.

Some of her ideas deserve merit, but the purity of the idea is bogged down by her voice.

Her style must appeal to junior and high school girls (and possibly boys) who live in a constant state of everything is so much more important than the last thing that was so much more important ohmygodI'mgoingtodie and I can't stop checking my Snapchat.

For me, it was irritating, like I was breaking in a pair of good-lookin' ruby slippers, but they kept chaffing my heals.

That's exactly what this series was: it looked nice, but after a while, it just. Wasn't. Comfortable.

I have total buy-in of all her allusions to the first three books written by L. Frank Baum.

But what am I not buying?

The few scenes with the Goth Munchkin girl with a filthy f-bomb-dropping mouth and tattoo sleeves.

The silver slippers (there were no ruby slippers in the original books) that morphed into combat boots the minute the main character put them on.

The fact that Glinda was evil and she had a twin sister named Glamora -- and at some point by the third novel, they share a body.

The Yellow Brick Road moved like an escalator and the people movers at the airport.

The former flying monkey that wore lipstick.

Then there was the ridiculous love story -- do young adult series like this have to have a relationship attached to it?

"Hi, my name is Amy. I'm the other girl from Kansas. And the character Nox is my first boyfriend ever and will be my boyfriend for life."

I did keep reading because I enjoyed the twist that wicked was needed to win. The first book had the main character, Amy, in disguise working at the Emerald City trying to learn Dorothy's every move. I enjoyed how the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion were the bad guys, and not just bad...they were down-right deranged. And gruesome.

I can't deny the horror-lover in me didn't appreciate that.

And while I wasn't a fan of the main character, Amy, the other girl from Kansas, Paige did a nice job keeping the Wizard a mystery.

Actually, I enjoyed every other character in the book but the main character. It was too bad the book was in first person, and I was stuck in her head.

That is, until book four -- then Paige decided to do something I loathe. While some may see it as a creative spike in the literary volleyball game, I find it a cheap excuse to make the fourth book LONGER -- otherwise there wouldn't have been a fourth book at all.

She introduced Dorothy as a narrator.

For three books and about 900 pages, I've been in the head of Amy. Then, in the fourth book, we switch back and forth between chapters.

It was unnecessary, and it made me loath both narrators.

The series was fascinating enough to keep me reading, but the bad taste that some of it left in my mouth continues to permeate, making me forget the positive, and only remember the cringy.