Published: November 12th, 2013
No Place Like Home (Dorothy Must Die #0.5)
By: Danielle Paige
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 doesn'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 land she left comes at a price, and after Dorothy is through with it, Oz will never be the same.
So anyone who actually knows me in real life, knows that I am completely obsessed with The Wizard of Oz in all of its forms! Mostly the movie from 1939, but also the book and re-imagined SyFy T.V. miniseries Tin Man. There is just something about the story that attaches itself to my imagination and places an ache in my wanderer's heart. So while I was keenly interested in reading this novella and the following book that's released in April, I was also wary. After all, it turns Dorothy into a villain instead of a heroic, lost girl from Middle America. But even with my doubts, I can never resist a retelling if it even sounds halfway good! So I went into it with an open mind and an adventurous spirit. To understand anything, you need to know that the story starts two years after Dorothy returns to Kansas from Oz. She was at first, something of a novelty in town for surviving the twister after no one thought she was alive. But now she is sixteen and without friends, completely disillusioned with life as an average prairie girl in dusty, boring Kansas. She would do anything to go back to Oz. Anything to be important and the center of attention again.
And that is where we find the biggest problem in this novella. Dorothy is never satisfied with what she has. She always wants more, no matter the cost or the pain to others because of it. Dorothy wants fame, attention and things that don't belong to her. She feels like she's better than everyone else in her town, including her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, whom she finds boring and unimaginative. So when Dorothy is given some ruby slippers on her sixteenth birthday after a disastrous party, she puts them on hoping to go back to Oz like nothing changed. Only things have changed since she's been gone. Glinda is missing, the Scarecrow is no longer King and a mysterious girl named Ozma is ruling the Emerald City now. Dorothy finds it up to herself to free Oz from Ozma and put the rightful ruler back in control. Also, she must free Glinda the Good Witch from her imprisonment! But is everything really quite the way Dorothy thinks it is? And when she starts using the magic of Oz, will Dorothy herself be corrupted beyond all saving?
Overall, I found this to be an interesting concept and was surprised that the novella was almost 200 pages long. It was longer than most are, which gave it a lot more plot development and allowed an actual story to unfold. It was nicely blended from the 1939 film and the Oz books, with mythology from both. My favorite nugget was when Dorothy talks about the silver slippers from her previous journey - a thing from the book. And also her pet hen Bilina, and the whole history of Ozma being disguised and hidden away until it was her time to rule. The mythology of the ruling line of Oz being born from flowers was beautiful and if it was Baum's concept or Paige's, it was a nice touch either way. Yet something was missing with Dorothy as the narrator. I got truly annoyed quite a bit trying to wade through her inner monologue and really had little sympathy for her. Especially after the way things go down between her and Ozma. Also, the way she treats her Aunt and Uncle is horrendous. That detracted from my true enjoyment of the novella. Also, the preview for Dorothy Must Die in the back of the novella had me fearing that I wasted my time altogether reading it. I did not like the protagonist of it AT ALL and am now really ambivalent of the whole thing. I guess I'd recommend this if you're curious about the idea. Otherwise, avoid it with all your might.
VERDICT: 3.5/5 Stars
**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available online as an ebook only.**