Review | No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

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.

3 cupcakes

“This wanting itself was a kind of magic—one that I’d had since I was just a little girl. Since even before I’d been to Oz. Even before I’d had a pair of magic shoes, silver or red. I had always wanted more.”

No Place Like Oz takes place shortly after the events in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s previous adventures are briefly referenced and readers are reintroduced to several famous characters and landmarks, so one does not need to be an Oz connoisseur to appreciate this story. Those who are familiar with either the movie or Baum’s stories, though, will appreciate the subtle nods to each that are placed throughout the story (like creating an explanation for why Dorothy’s silver shoes in the book were replaced with the red shoes that she’s more commonly associated with).

This glimpse inside Dorothy’s head made me a lot more sympathetic to her character than I had thought possible. I understood why she desperately wanted to get back to Oz – after all, going from all that glitter and recognition to your normal, monotonous routine would be hard – so I was able to forgive her selfishness and unkind thoughts towards her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry… at first, anyways. She’s power-hungry and wants more for herself (both in terms of material items and future prospects), and as the story progresses, these help push her further over the edge in her transformation to powerful “villain.”

Overall, No Place Like Oz was a rather addictive read. I enjoyed seeing how the twisted version of Dorothy that we were presented with in Dorothy Must Die came about, and am interested to see how this information will colour my read of The Wicked Will Rise.

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