The first you should know about this book: it's ridiculously entertaining.
As you can probably guess from the cover and title, this is a twisted Oz tale. Dorothy somehow made it back to Oz and something... broke. Her sweetness gained a nasty bite that no one is safe from. It's a world where you need to be happy, no matter what horrors are inflicted on you -- and death is the only easy way out. There are tin cyborgs and other lab-created monstrosities, magic strip-mines, and all manner of terrible things. Almost everyone we know and love from the stories has been twisted... And those that we hated? It's possible they may be the only salvation for Oz.
Our hero, Amy Gumm, is whisked to Oz via tornado (and that was a bit of surreal reading for me, seeing as how tornado season has just begun here). She's been made to feel like a nobody by her classmates, her teachers -- even her parents. In Oz, however, she quickly becomes somebody. Unfortunately, people are certain that this somebody is a person who will murder Dorothy in cold blood. Amy struggles with this, but Dorothy's atrocities add up quickly.
In some ways, the plot reminds me a bit of Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. It's definitely a similar sort of villain. However, half of my love for that book is the beautiful language it's written in. Dorothy Must Die doesn't have that kind of language. Now, don't get me wrong -- there is not a thing wrong with the words of this novel. It's just that lyrical writing is not point. Amy's point of view is pretty direct. I think the characters are my favorite elements of the book. Amy and Star are fantastic, as is Jellia Jamb and Indigo the goth munchkin. (I have to wonder if goth munchkin's always existed or if this is a movement developed in contrast to Dorothy's sickening sweetness?)
The plot is the other place the book really shines. It takes many familiar elements, shakes them up, and lines that Yellow Brick Road (*ahem* road of yellow bricks) with a story that's impossible to put down. Amy's journey is a paranoid (she's told again and again to trust no one) race to to figure out who she is inside, how to believe in herself, and... to kill Dorothy.
As I said in the last post, I got to meet the author at a signing last night and I must say, she is a wonderfully approachable and friendly person. Having a friend named Dorothy, I had to get the book autographed for her. Turns out that was Danielle Paige's first Dorothy! She was delighted (as was my friend). How fun. :)
I think you can expect to see a post about the prequel novella soon. First I want to read another book from the Dark Days Tour, though -- Kimberly Derting's The Taking. She made it sound fascinating last night!