Friday, April 17, 2015

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige Review

Hey readers, Happy Friday! I'm a reviewing machine tonight and have yet another review for ya. This time up on the chopping block we have (one of) my most anticipated read of 2015. The sequel to my favorite YA read of 2014, Dorothy Must Die. A dark, twisted journey into the Oz we all thought we knew, boy were we wrong! What am I raving about next? The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige! Here's a bit about the novel and the author before we get to my thoughts:

In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

Danielle Paige 

Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die, its upcoming sequel The Wicked Will Rise, and the upcoming Stealing Snow series (Bloomsbury, 2016). In addition to writing young adult books, she works in the television industry, where she's received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City. You can find her on twitter and instagram.
Find Danielle Paige 

My Thoughts:

Alright folks. You know the drill. Oz is involved so this is about to get real deep for me. As any of you book followers of mine know, Oz is, by far, my favorite literary fandom. Some people freak out over Middle-Earth, others over Narnia, or the link. I will forever be an Ozian through and through. For years I have scrambled through every piece of Oz-related literature I could get my hands on, seemingly making my way through the entire Oz omnibus. Just when I thought Oz as I knew it was dead, BAM. Danielle Paige lands on the scene, ready to strike down a few witches and stir up a rebellion of her own. 

Her absolutely incredible debut novel, Dorothy Must Die, brought Oz to life for an entirely new generation of readers and reignited by spark to spread the Ozian cheer. Thanks to Danielle Paige, Oz is back on the market, in a big way! With one full length novel and four three novella under her belt, Paige was going into The Wicked Will Rise with a big order to fill. Oz fans young and old are begging for more. Did The Wicked Will Rise live up to the hype and expectation? Let's see.

**I have many more thoughts on this novel in addition to everything listed below, but in an effort to leave a spoiler free review, I have chosen to omit them.**

Anyone who remembers my review of Dorothy Must Die will remember that I meticulously devoured each and every word, taking note of all the fun Easter Eggs the novel had to offer. I will start out by saying that unfortunately I do not have such a thing this time around for two reasons. One, I actually read a paperback this time around and didn't take the notes I usually do. Two, I really didn't see as many! But we'll get to that later.

The Wicked Will Rise picks up right where we left our heroine at the end of book one. Fleeing the Emerald City in the aftermath of The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked's attack on Dorothy and her 'friends'. Amy has ripped out the Tin Man's heart and kidnapped Ozma, fleeing with the help of flying monkeys, Amy still has two relics to obtain: the Lion's Courage and the Scarecrow's Brain. Our story follows Amy's quest to obtain the final two relics needs to finally render Dorothy ''killable". Obtaining these relics won't be easy, but they are a necessity for Amy to save Oz. With Ozma in a mind-addled state, it's up to Amy to protect the ruler of Oz and take down Dorothy and her regime. With help from new friends and old, Amy will face some of her biggest struggles in an attempt to finally free Oz.

So how did it measure up? In terms of the length of the novel, this one was WAY shorter than its' predecessor. While I am okay with a shorter read, I don't think I was really prepared for how much shorter this read was. Paige packs a punch in 250 pages, leaving the reader hard pressed to find a good pausing point. The novel is jam packed with action and important information. My biggest critique of the novel was the length, I really would have liked to see a few things more thoroughly explored, but definitely understand the deadlines an author has to meet. As I stated before, Paige does a great job with the pace and the tone, this novel doesn't quit until the final page and then still leaves you wanting more! 

A lot happens in this novel, then at the same time, not a lot happens in this novel. Does that make sense? A majority of this novel is spent with Amy and Ozma traveling from destination to destination. Though their adventures aren't boring by any means, they aren't filled with the constant action we saw in book one. Book one really dealt more with the 'glitz and glamour' of Oz, while book two really explored the land of Oz itself. The geography, the history, the civilizations as a whole, book two is one long learning adventure. I, for one, loved that element. As a huge Oz fan, I loved seeing Paige's take on the canon! 

In the end, we do see a couple of big action sequences, but in reality, they will leave you with many more questions than they answer. Thus the talent of a true author. While I was mildly frustrated that we didn't see as much of the plot explored as I'd hoped, I was overall impressed with the direction the novel took. Also, if you thought you had the ending figured out, think again. That one threw me for a major loop, but actually made a lot of sense after I sat down and thought about it!

Along with our main characters I loved from book one, Amy is joined by a host of new faced. Monkey Queens, Polychrome (the Daughter of the Rainbow), and an updated version of L. Frank Baum's beloved Button Bright all join Amy in an effort to restore Ozma to her rightful mind and take down Dorothy for good! If you guys remember, my favorite characters from book one were Glamora and Nox, unfortunately due to a plot twist we learn about fairly early on, we don't get to see much of either character, though I expect that will change in the next novel. Amy really came into her own a lot in this story. In book one she was new to Oz, new to magic, confused, and scared. Book two brings us a different side of Amy: strong, intelligent, brave, and a bad ass force to be reckoned with. Amy Gumm isn't here to play folks, she's going to take down Dorothy, ruby slippers be damned. On the other side of the equation, our antagonists are out in full swing. We see lots of Dorothy, Glinda, and the Lion in book two, and even a few quick glimpses of The Wizard himself. Paige has some big plans for her series finale, and I cannot wait to see how she ties them together!

I'd also like to point out that after the conclusion of the novel, Paige has included a very short 'story' pertaining to Dorothy and her relationship with Glinda, Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man. I often wondered what caused them to follow Dorothy down her path to evil, but really didn't put much thought into it. Paige's short story answered my questions and really was an interesting read. I'll go ahead and admit that the short stories where Dorothy is the center of focus have been some of my favorite parts of this series. Paige writes Dorothy Gail so well! 

True to her research, Paige did not disappoint when it came to Oz. I found her interpretation of her new settings to be true to Baum's original work, while unique enough to give it a Danielle Paige-esque style. The Oz isn't the Oz Baum created, but I know he'd be excited to know that Oz is now in Paige's extremely capable hands. There are still several area of Oz that Paige has left largely untouched so I am excited to see how she brings them into the fold for the final chapter of the novel. I believe it's going to take a lot more than an order of Witches to bring Oz back together. It's going to take a combination of all four regions to restore Oz to its' former glory. Gillikin, Munchkinlander, Quadling, and Winkie need to join forces as one to bring down Dorothy and her evil colleagues to bring peace to their homeland. Now that is a story I can get behind!

Danielle Paige has left a lot of questions unanswered, some deep tones left to linger, and some themes left to discover at the end of book two. This was the perfect ending for her as it does nothing but make me more excited for book three. The cliffhanger ending of the novel really opens this literary world wide open to possibilities and now so much more than the fate of Oz is at stake. I will say that Danielle Paige definitely knows how to end a story, leaving the readers begging for more!

As an author, I cannot put into words how much respect I have for Danielle Paige. She has taken one of the most beloved stories of all time and quite literally turned it on its' head. Though she's received some harsh feedback, fans have really taken to Paige and her interpretation of Oz as something that this generation of readers needs. Oz has been on the backburner of literature for so long, that I was in fear of it disappearing completely. With the help of authors like Paige, this incredible literary world is returning to the spotlight for the first time in decades. I can only hope this momentum continues after this series has ended. Paige has also been incredibly receptive to her fans, answering questions about Ozian lore and inspiration, even taking suggestions as to characters we would like to see in future novels. It isn't often that we see an author with the insight and strong connection to her fans as Paige has developed and for that, I'll be one of her biggest fans for a long time coming!

As you guys can clearly see, I had several mixed views about this second outing in the Dorothy Must Die series, but I absolutely loved the novel nonetheless. All it did was make me even more excited for book three. It's definitely a bittersweet moment for me, I'm not ready to say goodbye to these amazing characters and Oz (again), but I cannot wait to find out how it ends! All-in-all, I am granting The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige an awesome 4-star review. I am this series' self-proclaimed biggest fan so it's hard for me to offer any kind of negative critique for this one. It's a great novel, but unfortunately I just didn't love it as much as Dorothy Must Die, that being said, it's still a MUST READ for fans of this series! 

Check out my review of Dorothy Must Die by clicking the cover below!

Alright fellow Ozians, that's all I have for you on the topic of The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige. As I mentioned earlier, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015, and I can't believe I've already devoured it twice. It was a great addition to the series and left me begging for the exciting conclusion to the series. Have you read this one? Are you a fellow Oz fan? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts! Until next time, Happy Reading!


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