Sunday, January 12, 2014

Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so I would like to highlight some short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.   In addition to offering up a mini review of these short works of fiction,  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects.

This week I'm featuring a prequel story from Danielle Paige's Wizard of Oz retelling:

Title: No Place Like Oz
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die, book #0.5
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
In this digital original novella, Dorothy travels back to Oz to reunite with old friends, but her story may not have a happy ending. No Place Like Oz is a prequel to the forthcoming novel Dorothy Must Die.

After returning to Kansas, Dorothy Gale has realized that the dreary fields of Kansas don’t compare to the vibrant landscapes of Oz. And although she’s happy to be reunited with Aunt Em, she misses her friends from the yellow brick road. But most of all, Dorothy misses the fame and the adventure. In Kansas she’s just another prairie girl, but in Oz she was a hero. So Dorothy is willing to do anything to get back, because there really is no place like Oz. But returning to the land she left comes at a price, and after Dorothy is through with it, Oz will never be the same.

Perfect for fans of Alex Flinn, Marissa Meyer, and Gregory Maguire, No Place Like Oz is a dark reimagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Building off of its rich mythology, Danielle Paige creates an edgy, thrilling story for teens that chronicles the rise and fall of one of the literature’s most beloved characters. This digital original novella is a prequel that sets the stage for the forthcoming novel Dorothy Must Die.

This novella, which comes in at 125 pages, was far longer than it needed to be and took me much longer than any novella before it to complete.  I was just so bored.  I get why this story was released now and why it's important to the series, but all it did was make me question whether I wanted to continue on with the series.

Essentially, here's what I took away from this story:  Dorothy desperately yearns for her adventures in Oz, she gets the opportunity to return, finds that she can wield magic on her own, and lets said magic go to her head, turning her into what she once sought to destroy.  That all sounds well and good, right, but most of that happens in the last 30% or so.  I really could have done without the first 2/3 of the story.

Except that it does help to illustrate that the author is going back to the original story with her retelling and not just focusing on what most people know from the major motion picture.  That aspect did impress me somewhat, as did the imagery, even as overdone as it was at times.  However, I think that a flashback sequence in the forthcoming full-length novel could have served the same purpose as this novella, which is to show that Oz's one-time savior has succumbed to power and is now a tyrant in her own right and must now be destroyed as those before her were.

I hadn't planned on reading the excerpt from Dorothy Must Die at the end of the novella, having already decided not to read any more of this series, but my curiosity got the better of me.  And if it hadn't been for that excerpt, I wouldn't be picking up the full-length novel in April.  But as it stands, I'm quite intrigued by Amy's character and her hardships and how her situation compares to Dorothy's from the first time she visited Oz.  Also, the tone of the novel, at least what I gathered from the excerpt, is completely different from that of the novella, which is a good thing in my opinion.

This novella is necessary for one reason and one alone:  to change the reader's opinion of Dorothy, such that they might actually feel that she deserves to die when the time comes.  Dorothy is a beloved character to many people, and I think most would have a difficult time turning against her.  But this short story does an excellent job of that.  I can't stand her now and if I find out that her perspective is included in Dorothy Must Die, I still may pass on it because I took no enjoyment from reading from her point-of-view.  So, if you think you're going to have a hard time despising Dorothy, I'd say this novella would be a good jumping off point for you.  Otherwise, save your money for when the real fun begins.

GIF it to me straight:

No Place Like Oz (Dorothy Must Die #0.5)Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

About the author:

Danielle Paige is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City. 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. Dorothy Must Die is her first novel.

Find Danielle:

Twitter | Goodreads


  1. Mm, wow. I didn't even know there was a prequel to Dorothy Must Die. I admit, I'm tooootally not one for anything unnecessary. I hardly ever read "extras" when it comes to books. (I haven't even read the extra booklets that go with the Divergent series, and I love that series.) I'd probably skip this one! But I'd still like to try Dorothy Must Die.

  2. Well, this book/series is definitely a miss for me. Dorothy Must Die isn't really something that I'd be picking up anyway just because I don't think it'll bode with me (I have a hard time liking re-tellings) so thanks to your review, it's definitely something I would be skipping.

    Great review!

  3. Oh no!!! I have such high hopes for dorothy Must Die but this does make me nervous. I guess I should definitely lower my expectations like your gif says, just in case.

  4. I'm not a die-hard fan of The Wizard of Oz. In fact, I'm not entirely sure if I've seen the movie from start to finish as a whole. I was pretty terrified of it as a kid, but I'm on good terms with it now. I'm intrigued by the concepts behind this re-telling. While I won't be picking up this novella, mainly because I don't think I'll have a hard time loathing Dorthy, I'll still wait for early reviews to tell me if this series is worth reading. Thanks for your input, Jen! It was very informative. :)

    The Flyleaf Review

  5. Wow..I was itching to get my hands on Dorothy Must Die but now I'm not so sure.

  6. I am cracking up at that Gif. lol

  7. I remember seeing you talk about this on goodreads when you were reading it. I hate novellas that are boring and drag on forever. It's a novella... it should be a past paced read that gives you extra perspective. Not make you want to claw your eyes out.

    I have not heard of these at all. I always thought the Wizard of Oz was boring as shit. My mom would make me watch it all the time when I was young. It was like one of her favorite Sunday Morning hungover movies. lol


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