My 14-yo granddaughter picked this up at a bookstore and I totally glommed onto it because of the title. One of my favorite story themes is OZ. And this was. So. Much. Fun.
Our protagonist is another teen plucked out of nowhere-Kansas by a tornado but her experience in Oz wasn’t what the movie or the book promised. When Amy arrived in Oz, there were no technicolor Munchkins and the landscape was pretty bleak. She was greeted no, really she was saved from her Kansan trailer tipping into a bottomless pit by a beautiful nameless boy who could only advise her to follow the yellow brick road and a warning not to make the same mistakes as “her.”
The “her” in question turned out to be an evil-to-the-bone Dorothy. Something happened to Dorothy making her a greedy, cruel psychopath who, with the previously-good Glinda, was busily stealing all the magic out of the land, laying waste everywhere. And everyone who used to be good, isn’t anymore; there’s a vicious Lion, a sociopathic Scarecrow, and a heartless Tin Woodman.
Amy is soon captured by the Tin Woodman and taken to Oz. Her interview with a strangely changed Dorothy doesn’t go well. She ends up imprisoned and then rescued by a Wicked Witch, Mombi. From there she is recruited to join the Order of the Wicked in order to save Oz. And time is of the essence as the land is almost completely drained of magic.
Amy is sent by the Order to infiltrate the Emerald City. She sees first-hand the extent of the Scarecrow’s evilness which is pretty dark. She also encounters a zombified Ozma who is obviously under a spell by Dorothy. And she has a bizarre encounter with the Wizard who has come to visit Dorothy. He appears to be one of the few people who aren’t ensorcelled by Dorothy and doesn’t appear too concerned about kissing her ass. Anyone who doesn’t kiss tends to be destroyed immediately. He discovers who and what Amy is but isn’t inclined to expose her; instead he hints that he may be able to help her. But whether he is evil or not, is a question no one can answer. And Amy has a mission from the Order: while she’s in the palace, she’s to look for an opportunity to kill Dorothy.
This was just six kinds of fun if you’re into Oz. I loved that everything was turned on its head; although the level of evilness was a lot what with all the torture and killing. Amy is a very interesting character with a lot on her mind and in her heart but she perseveres to the bitter end when she thinks she can make a difference. She doesn’t always get it right but she never quits.
This is marketed as a young adult and due to the amount of awfulness, I would not recommend it to middle-grade readers. ~~ Catherine Book
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