- Page Count: 452
- Release Date: April 1, 2014
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- My Rating: 4 stars
I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission.
That was so much fun! The idea sounded a bit silly to me at first, but the story is in no way simplistic. I know I’m super late to this party… but here we go:
Amy Gumm’s an unpopular girl who lives with her unsupportive mother in a trailer park in Kansas. There’s a lot of unnecessary girl hate at the start, but then a tornado comes and drops Amy off in a dystopian version of Oz. Princess Dorothy and Glinda are no longer good and are carrying out a frilly pink Happiness Decree of tyrannical oppression. It’s kind of amazing. Glinda even has some Botox-like PermaSmile cosmetic stuff.
After escaping from prison, Amy ends up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked… wicked is good and all sorts of opposites (only everyone sort of has their own agenda). She learns that Dorothy’s become a “magic-hoarding facist” who’s mining all of Oz’s magic out of the ground, so therefore Dorothy must die. Amy starts training in magic & etiquette so she can impersonate a servant and get close to Dorothy.
Amy has to really figure out who she is on her journey and isn’t quite sure at the start. She hears a lot about how “it’s not magic that makes you who you are. It’s the choices you make.” Magic supposedly corrupts outlanders because they’re “not built for it,” so Dorothy just keeps wanting more. Amy can decide what kind of magic she practices and access it from either a good or bad/angry place.
I really liked the darker undertone with how the Scarecrow does so many creepy experiments on people (like liquefying their brains and injecting the fluid into his own). And all of the other servants are like a brainwashed cult praising Dorothy nonstop… or else they’re sent in for an Attitude Adjustment.
There were a lot of other neat ideas, like how the Lion eats fear, the flying monkeys cut off their magical wings to be free, and how magic“always wants to be something different from what it already is.” The worldbuilding and twists on the familiar Oz stories were fun, too.
I wasn’t particularly into the first 50 pages, so I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this story in the end! I adore retellings, but have learned I’m super picky about them. I think the main character will really make or break them… and Amy turned out to be pretty likable.
The strong writing also made it really easy to get into this story. The plot is complex enough to carry a whole series, so I’ll definitely read the sequels!