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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Second Look: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

No Place Like Oz is the first of three prequel novellas to Dorothy Must Die, packaged together in Dorothy Must Die: Stories.  I listened to the package as an audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed them.  You can see Stephanie's review of Dorothy Must Die here, but it's not necessary to have read it first to enjoy No Place Like Oz.  And you can read Jonathan's original review of No Place Like Oz here.

No Place Like Oz opens on Dorothy's sixteenth birthday.  Even in the 1920's, this is a big deal birthday for a young girl.  She's going to have a party that afternoon, but everything starts to go wrong.  First, her Aunt Em disappoints her with a smaller-than-expected birthday cake.  Then she catches her friends gossiping about her and her tales of Oz.  The straw that breaks the camel's back?  Her aunt gives her a mustardy brown, long, spartan dress for her birthday instead of a new, hip dress.  She skulks off to her bedroom and wishes very hard to return to Oz.

This novella fills in the back story that is touched upon very briefly in Dorothy Must Die.  In it, we find out how Dorothy could go from the naive little farm girl in The Wizard of Oz to the monstrous sorceress in Dorothy Must Die.  It's not an overnight process.  It's a series of small decisions that change her personality little by little.  In fact, the whole novella could be read as a cautionary tale, or fable:  be careful what you wish for.

I was impressed with how well fleshed-out Danielle Paige's Dorothy was, especially considering the shorter length of this story.  She's complex:  even while feeling shame and anger over the upcycled dress gift she still recognizes that she should be grateful to Aunt Em.  She feels intense love and protection for her aunt and uncle, even as they exasperate her over and over again.  This is so true!  Who hasn't felt exasperation at a loved one?

I had read Dorothy Must Die before reading No Place Like Oz, so I was pleasantly surprised to feel compelled to listen.  I thought it'd be a somewhat ok fluff of a story; just something to fill out the story a little bit.  Wrong!  It's a very good story in it's own right.  Even with "knowing the ending," I enjoyed every twist and turn in the plot.  It wasn't overly predictable at all, with a few unexpected elements.

The narration was good, too.  I really liked the reader, Andi Arndt.  She did a fantastic job!

Another excellent aspect to this prequel novella?  I'm doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016, and this will count as half of my "a book and it's prequel" item!  :)


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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