Quantcast

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 8+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige, narrated by Devon Sorvari, is the third part of this young adult series in an alternative world to the one we grew up with in Oz. This is a series that would be hard to follow without having read the first two books in the series — Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise.

Amy Gumm finds herself back in Kansas, but she’s not alone.  The Wicked are with her as well, and she must find something to help get them back to Oz before Dorothy destroys everything.  This is Amy’s worst nightmare — returning to high school where she’s picked on by her peers and her mother is too drunk to even care where she is or if her homework is finished.  However, the witches show her that things have changed since her disappearance, and her mother is now sober and her former bullies are nicer now that they’ve been ostracized.

In this installment, the action is much slower as Amy reunites with her mother and the peers that once tortured her.  She feels just as out of place here as she did in Oz, but at least in Oz she could use magic and had a purpose.  She meets up with the former quarterback and his former girlfriend — Amy’s nemesis — and they strive to uncover the truth about the real Dorothy from Kansas.  It’s clear that Dorothy’s story was real and that no one believed her, but there is something magic still hidden in Kansas, and Amy must find it.

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige, narrated by Devon Sorvari, is a unique retelling of the Oz story, and readers will enjoy the characters and plot twists.  However, the dangling cliffhanger means there is sure to be another book in this series.  When the action abruptly ends, readers can be frustrated, especially in the case here where there is a big question mark over everyone’s fate.

Rating: Tercet

About the Author:

Danielle Paige is a graduate of Columbia University and the author of Dorothy Must Die and its digital prequel novellas, No Place Like Oz and The Witch Must Burn. Before turning to young adult literature, she worked in the television industry, where she received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She currently lives in New York City.

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 9+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige, narrated by Devon Sorvari, is book two of a series, and this is a series you’ll want to read in order. (check out my review of Dorothy Must Die)

Amy Gumm is battered and bruised and concerned about The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, particularly about the safety of Nox, a brooding young warlock. Even though she’s failed in her mission to kill Dorothy, she is determined to complete her collection of the objects controlling the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion.

She’s still unsure who she should trust in the world of Oz, a place that’s full of fluctuating magic.  Left on her own, she finds herself face-to-face with distrustful wingless monkeys who refuse to get involved in the war against Dorothy.  She has little choice but to strike out on her own and find Nox and figure out how best to take care of Dorothy and the evil powers that rule the Emerald City.  As she enters the land of forgetfulness and digs deep to find her true self, she must struggle to keep the dark magic at bay.

Unlike the previous installment, Paige has created a very fast-paced book that provides the right balance between backstory and action, as well as character development and description.  Amy is the main focus, and as she comes into her own, readers will cheer her on, even when she’s making decisions that may not have the best outcome.  Readers will want to root for her.  Even as she still has doubts about her abilities and her role in the war, she’s coming to terms with her place in it and she’s taking action.

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige, narrated by Devon Sorvar, does end on a cliffhanger of sorts, but readers won’t mind since they’ll be even more invested in Amy’s story by the end of this second book.

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Danielle Paige is a graduate of Columbia University and the author of Dorothy Must Die and its digital prequel novellas, No Place Like Oz and The Witch Must Burn. Before turning to young adult literature, she worked in the television industry, where she received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She currently lives in New York City.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 452 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is a twisted rendition of The Wizard of Oz, with a lot of references to the classic movie of the same name starring Judy Garland.  Paige has brought Amy Gumm to Oz the same way that Dorothy arrived, but unlike the happy ending in the story Amy knows, Oz has found itself sapped by Dorothy’s lust for magic.  Given that this is book one in a young adult trilogy, readers can expect that despite the title, obstacles are greater than they first appear and the story will drag on.  However, Paige keeps too much information close to the vest, leaving the main protagonist and the reader too much in the dark.  With the pacing bogging down in parts for extra long training sessions and discussions about things that don’t advance the plot or characterization much, readers may find their mind wandering and wishing Amy would just get on with her mission from the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

“I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday — one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started taking pills, and began exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.” (page 1)

Amy is a young woman with image issues and someone who has spent too much of her young life being an adult when her mother wallowed in her self-pity.  When she arrives in Oz she may seem tough to the munchkins and others, but on the inside she’s unsure of just about everything.  Consistent reminders not to trust anyone force her to rely on herself and her own instincts, which in some cases prove not to be so good.  This journey story is rife with twisted characters from Oz, magic, and indecision, but it also creates an alternate universe that will leave readers wondering what happens next because this is not the story they remember.

“Relying on a rat to guide me through a magic maze pretty much summed up my last twenty-four hours.  I felt out of control, isolated, and uncertain where I was headed.  I plunged forward regardless.  Sometimes the path was narrow and claustrophobic, the hedges so high I couldn’t even see their tops.  Then I’d turn a corner into a sweeping cobblestone boulevard where the topiary walls were short enough that it seemed like I might be able to dive over them with a running start.”  (page 384)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, our March book club selection, was an interesting twist on a story many of us already know, and while the book’s twisting of characters worked better for characters like the Scarecrow than they did for the Lion, Paige has built a believable construct from a world consumed by greed.

About the Author:

Danielle Paige is a graduate of Columbia University and the author of Dorothy Must Die and its digital prequel novellas, No Place Like Oz and The Witch Must Burn. Before turning to young adult literature, she worked in the television industry, where she received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She currently lives in New York City.

What the Book Club Thought:

We discussed this one and our February pick, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, at the same meeting.

Everyone seemed to enjoy Skloot’s book and we had a great discussion about medical ethics and privacy as well as whether we’d want our names to be known if our cells ended up helping cure disease or wipe out the human race.  It was a lively discussion, even with those who did not have a chance to read the book.

Most people liked Dorothy Must Die for the most part, though several said the pacing was off and a couple members mentioned that the best drawn of the characters was the Scarecrow.  Some expressed an interest in reading the second book in the series, but we’ll have to wait until next month’s nomination period to see if that happens.  Otherwise, some will likely read the second book on their own.