Monday, July 25, 2016

DOROTHY MUST DIE STORIES v.2-Danielle Paige {Review}

TITLE: Dorothy Must Die: Stories Vol. 2
AUTHOR/s: Danielle Paige
PUBLICATION DATE: 16th of February, 2016
YA Fantasy, Retelling
AVAILABLE AT: Amazon | The Book Depository

As a big, big fan of the series, I'm back with a review of another work from Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die Universe! This time, I'ma share with you guys the feels thoughts I have from the second volume of Dorothy Must Die Stories

A little bit of flashback - you can read my back-to-back review of the first two books in the series, Dorothy Must Die and its sequel The Wicked Will Rise HERE! and my review of the third book Yellow Brick War HERE!

All set? Let's gooooo!

"Heart of Tin"
TITLE: Heart of Tin
AUTHOR/s: Danielle Paige
PUBLICATION DATE: 28th of July, 2015
YA Fantasy, Retelling

Everyone knows the Tin Woodman as Dorothy's lovable sidekick, the tin man who longed for a real heart to beat inside his tin chest. This digital original novella is the fourth installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and thrilling New York Times bestsellers Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise, and tells what happened to the Tin Woodman after he got his wish.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gave the Tin Woodman a heart, and all lived happily ever after—or so the story goes. But in Heart of Tin, the heart wants what the heart wants—and the Tin Woodman's heart pines for Dorothy. The gift that the Wizard once bestowed on him turns twisted with longing. And when Dorothy returns to Oz with her own dark agenda, the Tin Woodman will do whatever it takes to help her rise to power—and to make her his.

Everyone has been in love; may it be with another person, some material thing, an idea, or whatnot. But the thing is, what great lengths are you willing to go through just to prove and defend the object of your affection?

The first story in this compilation revolved around The Tin Woodsman's ascend (or should I say descend) to what he became as we know him in the main series. 

What I disliked in the book was seeing the Tin Woodsman falling all over himself because of Dorothy. It was actually annoying at times and more often than not - becomes quite repetitive which made the story dragging at some point. I think this was the primary drive of the story - the woodsman pining over Dorothy - but unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I was actually tempted to skim through some of the pages and skip to the good parts...

...which is the thing that other readers disliked: The cringe-worthy gore. Because as part of the woodsman's plan of winning Dorothy over, he worked together with The Scarecrow to create the perfect army although it wasn't quite the army he was expecting. Be warned, there are "graphic" scenes with lots of bloooood. It actually give me the creeps which I (weirdly enough) enjoyed a lot. Especially those scenes where <spoiler> (1) The Tin Woodsman killed off one of the winkies for protesting about wanting to go to Emerald City and (2) the grotesque experiments of The Scarecrow with the winkies - Norbert's most especially! </spoiler> Don't get me wrong. I ain't a heartless person, 'enjoying' all those deaths! I just think it added personality to the characters and showed how scarily changed they were compared to who they were before (and fiiine, I've always been a fan of gore).

Three point five out of five rating for Heart of Tin! :)
3.5/5 Rating! :)

"The Straw King"

TITLE: The Straw King
AUTHOR/s: Danielle Paige
PUBLICATION DATE: 10th of November, 2015
YA Fantasy, Retelling

Once upon a time, the Scarecrow's only wish was to have a brain. This digital original novella is the fifth installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and thrilling New York Times bestsellers Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise and follows the Scarecrow after he finally gets his wish.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow received the gift of a brain from the Wizard and was appointed the new ruler of Oz. In The Straw King, the Scarecrow's tale takes a crooked turn when his reign is threatened. With faith in his newfound wisdom shaken, the Scarecrow will turn to anyone who can help—even if others have their own interests at heart.

The next story centered on, obviously, The Scarecrow. To be honest, I was actually looking forward to more "gore" considering that he is actually the one who created the... creatures we've previously read on Heart of Tin. However, if there was gore here, it was pretty minimal (hooray for cringe-y readers!)

Despite the absence of it, I could say that I actually liked this one better than the first. Yet, it is not exactly because of the lead character here but rather, because of the presence of someone I've actually grown fond of: Ozma.

I know I've initially said that I felt bored by her character (in Dorothy Must Die or Wicked Will Rise, if I'm not mistaken) However, seeing her in her true, sane and regal form makes me feel differently. She's powerful and extremely queenly that I couldn't help but enjoy every scene where she unexpectedly show us what she's got. You go, girl!

Actually, the first few chapters kinda dragged for me and to be honest, the "side characters" here in the story interested me a lot better than The Scarecrow himself. Yes, I enjoyed the parts when he was trying to psychoanalyze and outsmart Glinda but for most of the time, he struck me as boring (and let's admit. He isn't really that great of a king). However, Ozma, Lulu (young Lulu!!!), and Jinjur were great fixer-uppers in the story which made me rank this one slightly higher than the first.

Four out of five rating for The Straw King! :)
4/5 Rating! :)

"Ruler of Beasts"

TITLE: Ruler of Beasts
AUTHOR/s: Danielle Paige
PUBLICATION DATE: 16th of February, 2016
YA Fantasy, Retelling

When the Cowardly Lion set off for the Emerald City in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Dorothy and the others, he sought courage above all else. This digital original novella is the sixth installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and thrilling New York Times bestsellers Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise, and is the Lion’s story after he got what he’s always wanted.

The Lion’s wish has finally come true—he is the courageous ruler of the forest and all of its beasts. But the Lion is bored—he misses the days of his adventures with Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, and the Scarecrow. When Glinda the Good Witch shows up unexpectedly and tasks him with a mission back in the Emerald City, he jumps at the chance to do something exciting, even though he knows she’s not telling him the entire truth.

Compared to the first two books, I actually found this one fast-paced. The plot was quick moving and it didn't bore me (I finished this one throughout my 2-hour commute from work to home actually haha). It actually ended up as my favorite among the three. Let me tell you three reasons why:

(1) The Lion. Unlike the first two books, I enjoyed reading about the supposed "lead" character of this novella. I think what makes him different from the other two was perfectly phrased by Ozma"I don’t know how much you care about good over bad, Lion. I think that you just like the thrill. You love the fight more than you love what you are fighting for."

The first few chapters seemed like a parable (with all the animals talking) but its content is definitely not for usual readers of childish stories. It involved a somewhat gladiator-style battle between forest animals and there was BLOOD. By now I'm sure you already know I enjoy this thing (do I seem creepy now? haha! I promise I'm not *wink*).

(2) Ozma! I've grown to love this girl because of these novellas and Yellow Brick War. I just really think that she's such a really powerful character but it doesn't make her scarily evil or any less lovable. In this story, once again she proved herself to be more than what meets the eye. During the "challenge," I didn't really know how the Lion would've been able to pull it through but THIS GIRL. What she did was actually real smart (or could've possibly been idiotic) but still, her bravery and sense of leadership is beyond admirable. 

I do feel sad for her a bit, though. Ozma has been repeatedly betrayed by people she thought were her friends <spoiler> first, Glinda in The Straw King and now by the Lion. This time however, was sadder since the Lion didn't really want to hurt her. My heart honestly warmed by the friendship of the two. Unfortunately, the circumstances failed them both. </spoiler> 

(3) The Nome King. This "villain" was truly interesting to read.  I don't know if it's just me or he's really like the antagonists in films or books that -despite being evil- you still enjoy seeing come to life. Think Andrew Scott's Moriarty in BBC Sherlock.

I don't want to spoil anything but reading about The Nome King here made me hope to see more of him on the next books (I talked about him on my Yellow Brick War review too!)

Four point five out of Five rating for Ruler of Beasts! :)
4.5/5 Rating! :)

"The Wizard had given me my heart, but he'd never told me how to manage it (...) She'd told me that she'd missed me. I could have sworn that her look had been something special just for me." - The Tin Woodsman (Heart of Tin)*

"I had no idea how to control the confusing passions that surged through my metal chest." - The Tin Woodsman (Heart of Tin)

"I could wait just a little longer, until I held her in my arms once more." -The Tin Woodsman (Heart of Tin)

"You can't convince people of feelings they don't have (...) She won't beat around the bush if she has feelings for you too." -Jellia (Heart of Tin)

*In the Philippines, this is what you call "HOPE-ia" and "ASAdo" (they're wordplays on Filipino food which mean that a person is hoping for something that is impossible to happen.)

I know most readers are annoyed by the number of novellas being released by the author but personally, I enjoy reading about them. I think these shorts add a little bit of something to one's knowledge of the whole story (and it's nice seeing tiny details in the main series and being able to say "I've read about this one before!"). Of course, it isn't required to understand the plot of the full books but still, I believe it adds to the overall enjoyment of the series. And I definitely did enjoy reading this one (especially since it showed how much Glinda could be such a controlling and manipulative b...witch just to get what she wants.)

You can see my review for the first volume of Dorothy Must Die Stories HERE!

Four out of Five Rating for Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die Stories v.2! :)
4/5 Rating! :)

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