So this was a book that was recommended to me by Robert, one of the best book recommenders, at one of my local independent bookshops (Jarrold’s) during Independent Bookshop Week. Even though I knew very little about it it was one I took from his hands with glee because, if you don’t know, The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite books of all time – for some it is Alice in Wonderland but for me it will always be The Wizard of Oz.
This is the story of Amy Gumm, that other girl from Kansas. She’s not had the best upbringing, she lives in a trailer park with her not-so-great mother and things are pretty rough for her. They don’t get much better even when a tornado whips through her home and lands her in Oz. Oz is not the happy, cheery place it was and it’s all because of Dorothy. Dorothy returned to Oz to stay and, as a result, Oz is a somewhat dystopian version of itself.
Now, this was YA. YA is a genre I don’t read a lot of, it’s a genre I don’t often enjoy and, in a way, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had hoped. It was great but some of the general tropes of YA fiction I felt held it back at times. Amy is a great main character. She’s a young girl with sass and I like that, but sometimes she was a bit Mary-Sue in that she filled a lot of tropes of a generic ass-kicking female. I still liked her. It has to be said.
My favourite part I think is simply that Danielle Paige has remained faithful to the original series. Really there are few original characters, most of them were in some way introduced in the original series by L Frank Baum (maybe even more than I think because I am yet to complete the entire series!) It was just wonderful to revisit the series in a slightly different way. The Oz Dystopia is so interesting!
My main problem is that I feel that the blurb is a cop out. All I can say is I’m thankful I have the second book already sat there because honestly, what is written on the back isn’t actually introduced until the final chapter. When going in to this, I was expecting what was on the blurb to actually happen not just be introduced in the final 10 pages!
Overall, this is a solid 3/5. There are problems with it, but it’s a really enjoyable, quick read. Before going in to it I would definitely recommend reading a few of the Oz books by Baum just to get a feel of the characters. It was great to read a much lighter book (I’m also reading The Count of Monte Cristo right now so this was a great reprieve!) Anyway, I am actually going to start the second book in the series right now because I want to know what happens.
So yeah. A good book, 3/5 and definitely one of the better YA books I have experienced!