Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mini Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
Release date: November 12th, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: #0.5 in the Dorothy Must Die series
Source: purchased
Rating: And my head I'd be scratchin'/While my thoughts were busy hatchin'/If I only had a brain


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.

Oh, tiny little book, I have such mixed feelings for you. On the one hand, you were strangely addictive, and I read you straight through in one sitting. But at times, you left a truly bad taste in my mouth that I'm going to try to explain.

No Place Like Oz is the novella prequel to the upcoming title Dorothy Must Die, which is about an Oz in which Dorothy is a supreme and despotic ruler who... well, must die in order for peace and prosperity to return to Oz. NPLO is the story of how Dorothy went bad. It's also a Full Fathom Five production. Full Fathom Five is James Frey's packaging company, and... well... people have thoughts about it.

Anyhoo, onto the novella itself. We open on Dorothy's sixteenth birthday, two years after she returned home from Oz, and Dorothy's having a bit of an identity crisis. How can you return to black and white once you've lived in full color? Dorothy doesn't really know how, and all she wants is to go back to Oz. I had problems. What year is this meant to be? Because The Wonderful Wizard of Oz came out in 1900, and yet there are references to the Great War and all of a sudden Dorothy is name dropping Shirley Temple, and I hate it. I know the movie came out in 1939, but surely that's not the world we've invaded. Right? Right?? Also, Dorothy's voice sounds incredibly modern.


The writing is, honestly, no great shakes, but I quite enjoyed watching Dorothy turn wicked. Is there something a bit disturbing and depressing about witnessing a childhood icon turn nasty, petty, and evil? Especially while you're inside their mind while it happens? Yes. Was it twisted in a sort of good way as well? Yes. Evil Dorothy is fun. I am looking forward to watching her die.

I'm mostly "meh" on this novella, to be frank. Evil Dorothy is a DELICIOUS concept, but my problem with reading packaged books like this one is that I'm always wondering whose writing and thoughts and ideas I'm reading. That may not matter to most readers, but it matters to me. Call me old-fashioned and idealistic, but I don't like to read books like they're products. I know they're products, and ought to be marketed and reviewed as such, but when I'm lost in a book I like to think of it as a work of art that fails or succeeds due to the author's skills.


There's no denying that No Place Like Oz and its upcoming novel companion, Dorothy Must Die, are intriguing to the max. DESPOT DOROTHY. I want so badly to read that story, though I feel like I'm destined to be disappointed, just like I was with this novella. I probably won't be able to get past the Full Fathom Five-ness of it or the fact that I don't know if I'm even reading Danielle Paige's writing, really. There were some truly magical moments in No Place Like Oz, though, so not all hope is lost.


  1. I had thoughts on this but most of them were positive. Of course, I also live in my oblivious little Angie-land and knew nothing about this Full Fathom Five production stuff. I just really liked the tiny bit of world-building we saw on the history of Oz and its magic, and thought an evil Dorothy and evil Glinda was new and interesting and deliciously intriguing.

    I have to agree that Dorothy sounded modern. I thought it was also interesting how the shoes didn't exactly seem to turn Dorothy evil, but rather just brought out qualities she already had but was suppressing. Most of the time I wanted to punch her in the face for being such a whiny, ungrateful brat, so I'm looking forward to seeing her die.

  2. Oh man. I did hear that it was Full Fathom Five but had sort of put it out of my mind. I'm sad to hear it left you dissatisfied. I totally agree about the packaged books. Seems wrong to me for some reason that I can't pin point. I don't know if I'll jump on this band wagon or not. I love the concept but I think I'll wait it out for a bit to see the early reviews. Thank you for your honesty!

  3. I am really curious about this one. I have thoughts on FFF (mostly BAD thoughts), from all I've heard and read of theirs. I've been working in my thoughts on a packaged books post for AGES because a lot of people still don't know what they are... So, meh. It's good that there is some hope here. The concept is brill but without it coming organically from the author, I wonder how the follow-through will be? Hmmmm. We'll see.

  4. THANK YOU for those comments about books as products! This is exactly why I have become more and more disillusioned with the YA industry lately...

  5. NOOOOOO Dorothy Must Die is Full Fathom Five? I DIDN'T KNOW AND NOW I AM CONFLICTED. I'm so intrigued by the premise but don't want it spoiled by this newfound awareness. DAMN YOU KNOWLEDGE. I'll read anyway, because I am morally weak, and probably get swept away (if the writing is good) and end up ignoring the whole issue, again, because I am morally weak.

    The "Toto, did you use Apple Maps?" gif <---LOLing all over.

  6. Augh I didn't know this series was a FFF deal. I think their whole practice is sketchy as crap so that's really disappointing. What's interesting is that this has been pretty incredibly hyped as a series and a prequel, yet this is the first time I've heard of the FFF connection. Perhaps they are downplaying it since the book community shows such disapproval.

    Evil Dorothy does sound very compelling and I love how frankly you look forward to her demise! The Wizard of Oz is my favorite children's series. I'm so interested to see how they take on the very full world of Oz and which of L. Frank Baum's characters they bring in.

  7. Aw, sad face. I'm sorry you didn't like this one Gillian. But kind of happy too :D I won't read it ;p Thank you for sharing your honest an amazing review. <3


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