Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kearsten's Book Club: Dorothy Must Die Wrap-Up

Last month we met and discussed Danielle Paige's take on the Wizard of Oz stories, Dorothy Must Die.

Amy Gumm, the other girl from Kansas, has been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to stop Dorothy who has found a way to come back to Oz, seizing a power that has gone to her head -- so now no one is safe!

Our discussion was wide ranging (as it often is) - here are some of the ideas we talked about!
  • Addiction/abuse to/of both drugs (Amy's mom) and magic (Dorothy).
  • Who was the creepiest character? (We pretty much agreed it was Scarecrow and his monstrosities. He was unsettlingly reminiscent of Nazi scientists...)
  • Did Amy miss her mom...and should she? (We talked a lot about this one. Amy's mom had been pretty lousy to her in the last several years, and despite good memories from her childhood, the recent years of drug and alcohol abuse had really fractured their relationship.)
  • Which of the members of the order of the wicked were our favorites. (This one was all over the place, though many of us liked Gert a lot.)
  • "Good" vs "evil." (This is a fun one. In the Dorothy Must Die, Oz's "savior," Dorothy, has become the person who is destroying Oz, and the "wicked" people are those who are trying to stop her. How do our ideas of good and evil shift when the "labels" are wrong?
We had a good time with this one, and don't worry if you have little familiarity with the source material - L Frank Baum's books OR any of the movies. The story is a fun action-adventure all the same, complete with a training montage! And don't miss this month's discussion of the steampunk prison story, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher!

Already read Dorothy Must Die and the sequels? Why not try one of these book-club nominated readalikes? (Plus some musical recommendations!)

For different takes on classic stories:
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, bk 1). As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. After a Fenris, or werewolf, kills their grandmother and almost kills them, sisters Scarlett and Rosie March devote themselves to hunting and killing the beasts that prey on teenaged girls.
  • Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn't nearly as Wicked as we imagined. 
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz.

For assassins in training:

  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore. In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.
  • (Also Sisters Red)

Be careful what you wish for (or getting unexpectedly drafted into something bigger than you thought):
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia. In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.
  • Marked by P.C.Cast and Kristin Cast (House of Night, bk 1). In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends. 
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace--and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. 

If you were fascinated by the Scarecrow angle and/or the idea of messing with nature:
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Presents the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessive experiment that leads to the creation of a monstrous and deadly creature.
  • Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells. Mad surgeon-turned-vivisectionist performs ghoulish experiments that transform animals into men.
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.
  • Into the Woods (DVD). A modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests.
  • Wicked (Broadway cast recording). Based on the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

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