BOOK REVIEW: Ruler Of Beasts – by Danielle Paige


Title: Ruler Of Beasts
(Dorothy Must Die #0.6)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: February 16th 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: July 20th 2016
Pages: 84
Rating 3,5qqq

“You are not Wicked, dear Lion. But sometimes you put what you want over what is good for Oz.”


Although I still think the novellas are not as good as the actual series, I do think Ruler Of Beasts is one of the most entertaining prequel short stories of the bunch. Unlike some of the other novellas, this one actually adds a whole new possible angle to the actual story. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed the Nome King will make another appearance in the actual books, because his character is without doubt an interesting one! Like with the rest of the series, Danielle Paige‘s prose turns Ruler Of Beasts into a really easy and fast read. The beginning is a bit slow and Glinda is annoying, but I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this particular novella so much is the huge part both the Lion and Ozma play in the story. Lion can become a bit whiny, but he does know how to spice up a story. If you have read the previous novella, you will surely enjoy this one as well. I can’t wait to finally start the third book though!


When the Cowardly Lion first started his journey with Dorothy and the others, he wanted to have courage above all else. The Wizard gave him what he has always wanted, and now we find out what happens afterwards. The Lion’s wish has finally come true, but his life is not how he had imagined it. Sure, he is the courageous ruler of the forest and the beasts, but with Ozma ruling and Oz this peaceful, the Lion is bored. He misses the days of his adventures with Dorothy, the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow, and now he is desperate to find something to liven up his day. Then Glinda shows up on his doorstep with a mission, and even though the Lion is not sure if it’s wise to accept, he jumps at the chance to do something exciting anyway.


I think Ruler Of Beasts is one of my favorite novellas so far. I really enjoyed the fact that Ozma played an important part in the story and the Nome King surely is a great new character! I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will make another appearance in the future, because it will definitely add a nice plot twist to the main story. Like I said before, if you enjoyed the other novellas, definitely make time for this one as well. It’s not a must-read, but Ruler Of Beasts is without doubt entertaining.

BOOK REVIEW: The Straw King – by Danielle Paige


Title: The Straw King
(Dorothy Must Die #0.5)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: November 10th 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: July 8th 2016
Pages: 156
Rating 3qqq

“The monkeys ignored him completely as they discussed wind currents and angle of approach, and even the Lion seemed to have forgotten he was there. He might as well be back in that field tied to a post for all the good the Wizard’s gifts were doing him.”


I haven’t been a big fan of the Dorothy Must Die novellas so far and in a way I’m asking myself why I still continue reading them. The fourth novella was particularly bad, but after being promised that the next two were better I decided to pick up The Straw King anyway. And I agree this one is without doubt a huge improvement from the last one! Not mindblowingly good and I would have liked to see more of the Scarecrow himself in it, but all in all still quite entertaining. This novella reads a lot faster than the previous one and I liked that it gave new information about how Ozma first came to power. The battle scenes were interesting! But like I said, the novella didn’t do much to further develop the Scarecrow’s character. It was more just another random background story where Glinda and the Lion seemd to play a bigger role than the character this novella was named after. Not exactly what I was expecting when I decided to read The Straw King. If you liked the other novellas you will most likely enjoy this one as well… But I can’t say it’s a must-read.


The Scarecrow only ever wanted to have a brain, but it looks like he got more for his wish than he can handle. What happens to the Scarecrow after he finally gets the gift of a brain from the Wizard and was appointed the new ruler of Oz? The Scarecrow is desperately trying to make up for lost time and reads as many books as possible to learn more about his new kingdom. He has the brains, but he feels he still lacks the information to be a proper ruler… And things take a turn for the worse when his reign is threatened. He is not sure how to handle this situation, since something similar has never happened in Oz before. And the Scarecrow is so desperate that he will turn to anyone who can help, even if that might not be the best thing for his own future.


I liked this fifth novella a lot better than the previous ones, but I still stand firmly by my opinion that the novellas are nowhere as good as the actual series. Why do I still read them? I guess I already had the copies of the first few and I don’t like leaving a series uncompleted. The Straw King was probably one of the best novellas of the bunch, although the Scarecrow doesn’t exactly plays a big role it. At least it adds some new information to the original series!

BOOK REVIEW: Heart Of Tin – by Danielle Paige


Title: Heart Of Tin
(Dorothy Must Die #0.4)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: July 28th 2015
Finished reading: June 13th 2016
Pages: 93
Rating 1,5qqq

“Think about the first time you really fell in love. No, I mean, really think about it. How it was like your whole life before that moment was a black-and-white movie, and suddenly you stepped into Technicolor.”


I wasn’t going to read any more Dorothy Must Die prequel novellas because the first three mostly disappointed me (especially the third one), but I decided to give them a go anyway before reading Yellow Brick War. And I don’t like to say this about any book or novella, but reading Heart Of Tin was simply a waste of time. I REALLY didn’t like this sappy romance story where all that happens is that the Tin Woodman pines for Dorothy all the time and tries to win her over…My feelings went between feeling annoyed and wanting to vomit, and honestly I still wish I would have just DNFed it. I will still read the next two novellas though, since various bloggers have confirmed that Heart Of Tin is the worst story of the bunch and the others are a lot better. But if you ask me, definitely stick with just the main Dorothy Must Die series and skip the novellas unless you REALLY love the series in the first place. They don’t actually add a lot to the main plot…


The Wizard finally gave the Tin Woodman a real heart, but he didn’t live happily ever after just like in the original story. In fact, the new heart of the Tin Woodman has it bad for Dorothy. What was onces a gift now turns into torture as the Tin Woodman pines for Dorothy and she doesn’t seem to return his feelings… And he is determined to do whatever it takes to show his loyalty, win over her heart and make her his. Even if this means ignoring the fact that Dorothy seems to have a completely different agenda since the last time she was in Oz.


Like I said before, I enjoyed the the actual series a lot better than the prequel novellas, and Heart Of Tin has to be the worst one by far so far. This novella doesn’t add anything new to the main plot and is mostly VERY annoying. There is no real plot and the story is mainly about the Tin Woodman repeating on and on how wonderful Dorothy is, hearing him pine for Dorothy and him feeling rejected when Dorothy doesn’t seem to respond to his feelings. Even if you loved the main series, I would recommend just skipping this novella and continue with the fifth one.

BOOK REVIEW: The Wizard Returns – by Danielle Paige


Title: The Wizard Returns
(Dorothy Must Die #0.3)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: March 3rd 2015
Finished reading: June 11th 2015
Pages: 100
Rating 2

“I still don’t even know what I’m being tested for.”
“The future of Oz,” Pete said. “No pressure. Like I said, so far, your score is pretty low.”


I really enjoyed both Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise, but these prequel novellas have really taken a turn for the worse. The Wizard Returns is the worst one so far. It seems like Danielle Paige is only trying to fill some pages in order to earn more money and this third novella doesn’t add anything at all to the main story. The wizard isn’t one of the most important characters and I don’t think he is interesting enough for a separate story. Sure, the prose is about the same as the actual series and it is a quick read, but I was actually bored by the end of the story. I have to be honest and I say this one is a waste of time… I don’t think I will be buying the next novella any time soon when it comes out.


Everyone in Oz seems to be sure that the wizard left Oz in a hot air balloon many years ago, but it turns out he didn’t. He wakes up one day in a field of poppies without his memories and he has no clue where he is or what he is doing there. He has to face various tests in order to win his memories back and possibly save Oz in the future… He slowly realizes he was quite a bad person in the past, and he is not so sure if he really wants the best for Oz. If only he could remember it all…


This third novella is a whole lot of meh. I really couldn’t care less what would happen to the wizard in The Wizard Returns and I only finished it because it was so short. It seems like Danielle Paige didn’t put any effort in this novella and I sure hope she will spend more time on the third book. I suppose she will though because the expected publish date is set for 2017… But I won’t be touching the fourth novella that is supposed to be published next month. If it’s anything like The Wizard Returns, it will just end up being a waste of time.

BOOK REVIEW: The Witch Must Burn – by Danielle Paige


Title: The Witch Must Burn
(Dorothy Must Die #0.2)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: November 11th 2014
Finished reading: June 7th 2015
Pages: 100
Rating 3

“You can’t choose who you are. But you can choose what you’ll become.”


This second prequel novella of the Dorothy Must Die series is slightly better than the first one, although I still wasn’t too impressed by it. The writing style is about the same as the actual series, but I cannot say I’m a big fan of the characters she decided to focus on in the novellas. I can’t deny Jellia is an interesting character, but she is actually quite similar to the Amy Gunn of the actual series and I really can’t stand Glinda and her pink castle. I wish Danielle Paige would have chosen something a bit more original for her novellas, because the ‘big secret’ Jellia has isn’t exactly that shocking. The Witch Must Burn was more of a very long description of both the Emerald City where Dorothy lives and Glinda’s cotton candy pink castle… Not exactly something exciting or a novella you have to read to really understand the actual series. It’s a quick read though, so if you like pink descriptions and want to learn a bit about Jellia’s history I guess it’s still an ok read.


Dorothy is quickly turning into the newest wicked witch in Oz, power and magic hungry and slowly destroying the Oz as it is known. And she is not the only one in control. Glinda still has a big influence on Dorothy and she didn’t bring back Dorothy without having her own secret agenda. The supposedly good witch of the North is searching for a way to mine the magic of the land of Oz, and Dorothy and the Scarecrow play a big role in it. When Glinda pays a visit to Emerald City, she decides that the head maid Jellia has something special about her… And demands Dorothy to lend her Jellia for a few months. They travel back to the pink castle that Glinda calls her home, and Jellia soon discovers GIinda is planning something wicked.


I’m glad I’ve read Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise first, because I don’t think I would have continued the series after reading the novellas. They just aren’t as good so far as the actual series, and the characters Danielle Paige focuses on are quite annoying. I admit I like Jellia, but Glinda plays a big role in The Witch Must Burn as well and I really can’t stand her and her pink world. Only imagening her castle already gives me a headache! The writing is quite entertaining and it’s a short read, but still it cannot compare to the actual series.

BOOK REVIEW: No Place Like Oz – by Danielle Paige


Title: No Place Like Oz
(Dorothy Must Die #0.1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: November 12th 2013
Finished reading: May 29th 2015
Pages: 125
Rating 3

“Home isn’t just where you’re born-it’s where you belong. I found my home and I let it go. But I came back. Now I was home for good, and I would never, ever make the mistake of leaving again.”


Since I enjoyed reading the first two novels of the Dorothy Must Die series, I decided to read the prequel novellas as well. No Place Like Oz is the first of three novellas Danielle Paige has already published and tells about what happened to Dorothy after she went back to Kansas. The writing style is the same as in the novels, but somehow I didn’t enjoy this first novella as much as the actual series. Dorothy isn’t one of my favorite characters and in this novella it already shows she is going to be one annoying evil ‘witch’. I guess that’s the whole point of the character, but still I wasn’t impressed. No Place Like Oz can be read without reading the actual novels and with only 125 pages it’s quite a quick read that will give you an insight in how Dorothy came back to Oz. Just don’t expect something mindblowing.

shortsummary1reviewAfter Dorothy Gale saved Oz, she returned back to good old Kansas. At first she was happy to go back, but now she’s there she realizes Kansas doesn’t compare to the vibrant world of Oz. Dorothy is happy to see her aunt and uncle again, but she misses her friends from Oz and the adventures they had together. She decides she wants to go back and desperately tries to find a way to get what she wants. She seems to get her wish on her birthday, but things are not the same as before in Oz. Dorothy travels to see her old friends and is determined to get the Oz she remembers back. But Oz will never be the same and Dorothy is getting power hungry…


It’s not a bad novella, but since I’m not really a fan of Dorothy I wasn’t able to enjoy No Place Like Oz as much as the actual novels. The writing is the same and it’s quite a quick read, so I would still recommend it to those who want to learn more about how Dorothy got back to Oz and how she turned into the Dorothy we read about in the novels. Just don’t compare it to Dorothy Must Die or The Wicked Will Rise.

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked Will Rise – by Danielle Paige


Title: The Wicked Will Rise
(Dorothy Must Die #2)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: March 30th 2015
Finished reading: May 17th 2015
Pages: 293
Rating 3,5

“But really what I mean by crappy is, like—you know—not very good at it. Like, if there were a Witch Mall, Glamora would work at Witch Neiman Marcus, Mombi would work at Witch Talbot’s and I would work at the Witch Dollar Store, where people would only come to buy witch paper towels, six rolls for ninety-nine cents.”


I read Dorothy Must Die last month and even though I was a bit disappointed by the lack of action in this first book, I decided to read the sequel The Wicked Will Rise anyway to see if Dorothy would finally start working on her mission. Where the first book was a bit slow, Danielle Paige tried to squeeze in more than double the action in the sequel. I don’t mind a bit of action, but I couldn’t help but think it might have been better dividing it between the two. I mean, this sequel has about 150 pages less than Dorothy Must Die, so at points the story felt ‘rushed’. Still, I cannot deny I enjoyed it anyway and I will most likely end up reading the third book at some point when it comes out. (Whenever that is.) The prose is easy to read and I like Amy’s character. Combined with a fast pace it is a quick and entertaining read, although I think I liked Dorothy Must Die better.


WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read Dorothy Must Die yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Amy Gumm is still stuck in Oz and is trying to continue her mission. She has to kill Dorothy to free Oz, but first she has to remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain and take the Lion’s courage… She has only partly succeeded so far, and Dorothy still lives. Amy has managed to escape death so far, but the Revolutionary Order has vanished and Amy doesn’t know what to do next. The people around her all seem to tell her only half-truths and she doesn’t know what to believe anymore or who to trust. Good and evil are all mixed up in Oz right now; so who is truly wicked?


Although Danielle Paige at least made sure Amy did actually work on her mission in this sequel, I cannot help but feel she tried to rush the story too much. The Wicked Will Rise is shorter than the first book, but it had way more action in it… Not a bad thing on itself, but I felt the balance between the first two books was a bit lost. Still, this is quite an entertaining read and I enjoyed the sometimes funny prose. Recommended to those who enjoy a good Wizard Of Oz retelling; just make sure to not compare it to Dorothy Must Die

BOOK REVIEW: Dorothy Must Die – by Danielle Paige


Title: Dorothy Must Die
(Dorothy Must Die #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: April 1st 2014
Finished reading: April 30th 2015
Pages: 453
Rating 4

“I hate to break it to you, but just because someone has pretty hair and a good skin tone and a crown instead of a pointy hat doesn’t mean she’s not the baddest bitch this side of the emerald city.”


Dorothy Must Die has been on my TBR list ever since it came out last year, but somehow I’ve only gotten myself a copy just recently. This novel by Danielle Paige was a great read in general, although I have to admit I was a quite disappointed by the lack of actual fighting against Dorothy and her close friends the Lion, Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. The main character Amy is supposed to have the mission to remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage and then finally kill Dorothy. Still, in Dorothy Must Die, nothing remotely related to that starts happening until the very end. And that left me feeling like I was cheated on. Sure, it’s a great way to ensure people will buy the sequel, but still… I already have a copy of The Wicked Will Rise waiting on shelf though, so I guess it did work. The prose, characters and general setting made me forget about the false promises and I will be looking forward to see if Amy this time does start working on her tasks. If not, I’m not sure I will actually read the third book…


Amy Gumm doesn’t have an easy life back in Kansas living in a trailer and a drunk mother to deal with. She often thinks about wanting to escape, but wasn’t expecting a tornado to do the job. Amy is taken to Oz, and it’s not the place she knows from the movies and books. Everything seems twisted; the good witches have turned bad, while the wicked ones might actually turn out to be the bad guys… What happened? Dorothy happened.

Dorothy found a way to come back to Oz and she has taken over. Now power and magic hungry, she rules Oz as a dictator and the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are her cruel helpers. Magic is slowly disappearing from the rest of Oz, harvested by Dorothy to fuel her desires for power. The Wicked have started a rebellion and asked Amy for her help. In order to save Oz, Dorothy must die.


Dorothy Must Die is definitely an entertaining story with great worldbuilding and a prose and pace that makes you want to keep on reading. I liked the changes to the original Wizard Of Oz story that Danielle Paige made, but I wished she hadn’t made false promises about Amy’s mission in the story. It left me almost disappointed at the end of this first book, and I wasn’t able to give the full rating I would have given it otherwise. Still, this novel is highly entertaining and I loved the prose, so I will definitely recommend it to YA fantasy fans. Just prepare yourself for a slow journey where Amy doesn’t work as much on her mission as you would have guessed from the back cover…

WWW Wednesdays #37 – April 29th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

harrypotterandthedeathlyhallowsdorothymustdieI have been reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige since yesterday and I’m absolutely loving it so far. I’m definitely going to try and finish it before the end of this month! Same goes for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows; I’m about 70% into the story and it’s incredible how many new details I’m discovering while I’m rereading this last book in the HP series!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

themetamorphosisIvampireacademy finished Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead the other day and I cannot say I enjoyed reading it. I guess cheesy vampire stories are just not for me, especially if the main character is such an arrogant pain in the ***… I also finished The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka for my TBR Pile challenge, a novel that was ok in general but not the influential classic I thought it would be. Luckily my current reads are better!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

atwistinthetalemrpenumbras24hourbookstoreUsing my TBR jar a while back got me A Twist In The Tale by Jeffrey Archer, a book I can conveniently use for my Bookish Bingo Girly Geek challenge… It was written in 1988, the year I was born. 😀 I’m also looking forward to be finally reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan… I’ve heard mixed things about it, but it sounds like an interesting read.

Teaser Tuesdays #40 – April 28th: Dorothy Must Die


TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve finally started reading Dorothy Must Die today, a novel by Danielle Paige that has been on my must-read list for way too long now… I’m having one of those feelings this will an awesome read, so hopefully it will end up living up to expectations! The cover and blurb sure look promising…


My teaser (13%):

“How could I come all the way to Oz and pass up a chance to meet the one and only sorceress herself? It was like going to Disney World and not getting your picture taken with Cinderella. ”

What are you reading right now?