Novella Review: No Place like Oz by Danielle Paige


This book is the prequel novella to Dorothy Must Die, and it explains how Dorothy became evil and why she “must die.” It takes the reader on a journey beginning in Kansas where Dorothy finds herself bored with home and wishing for the magic of Oz again. With some wishing and some good ole’ witch magic, Dorothy is back in Oz and ready to stay awhile. But, this time, not as a guest. She is wishing for Queendom now.

I liked Dorothy Must Die and I read this book about a year after I read the first one, which I just want to lay on the table in case that affects my review. I can’t say I liked this book as much as the first one, though.

Alright, a prequel was definitely needed, and I think it sets a solid foundation for the rest of the series. But sometimes I feel like it’s better to leave some mystery in the story. I feel like this series is lending itself to too many novellas and side stories, and I think it doesn’t give the reader any creative work. Nope, you don’t have to think about anything because another novella is coming to explain it all. Then again, I do think this novella is needed for the story.

Dorothy is an obvious villain in Dorothy Must Die. There is no sympathy from the reader; she is cruel, unreasonable, and selfish at the expense of others. She needs to die? Good. No Place Like Oz humanizes Dorothy and shows her beginnings to make the reader feel more empathy toward her. No we’re thinking, alright, I can see why you left Kansas. I get it. That makes sense. I think humanized villains always make for a better story because it shows that the world isn’t always black and white.

The plot of the novella is perfect for explaining and shows a great bridge between the original Wizard of Oz and the new series. I wished the process of getting to Oz was explained more, but it’s never really clear in any of the series by Baum or Paige, so I guess that’s just the charm.

Otherwise, I just didn’t click with the book. I didn’t like the writing style used for Dorothy. It’s in first person, and the book is set in Kansas in the beginning of the 1900s. I feel like Dorothy’s voice should have felt older, but instead the words and dialogue flowed like an average contemporary novel, similar to the voice of Amy in Dorothy Must Die.

And, for some reason, I felt like all the dialogue seemed unrealistic. The motives of the characters were blind to the reader. Like Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. The two got sucked into going to Oz with Dorothy, and the entire time they just pleaded to go home over and over and over. I would personally love to be in Oz if my usual home was a gray shack in the middle of nowhere, Kansas. Since there was no clear reason to go home, I just felt like the conversations didn’t flow well with the plot line.

I would definitely call this novella a necessity if you want to read the Dorothy Must Die series, but it wasn’t my favorite book to read. I still plan on reading The Wicked will Rise, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up any of the other novellas.

3 Stars