Review: The Wicked Will Rise

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Author: Danielle Paige

Amy Gumm’s mission is to kill Dorothy and free the Land of Oz, but before she can do that, he must first accomplish a mission which includes getting the Tin Woodman’s heart, Scarecrow’s brain and Lion’s courage.

With the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked nowhere to be found, Princess Ozma as her only confidant, and her heart yearning for Nox, will Amy fulfill her duties?

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I honestly dreaded writing this review after writing Dorothy Must Die’s. After ranting about the first book, I felt like I have to give this series a chance to redeem itself. It did not happen. The first chapter up to the thirteenth was like reading something that a 70-year-old woman wrote. Things only get better at Chapter 14 because the whole beginning of the book is just Amy walking around and having stupid conversation with the other characters.

This book has immensely tested my patience. The characters we’re inconsistent and ridiculous. Amy was beyond annoying and she still doesn’t have what it takes to be a good heroine. She worries too much about her love interest instead of saving Oz. She’s not goal oriented, which is essential in writing about something like what the author wanted to tell her readers.  I also noticed that Paige is still obsessed with writing each and every idea that pops into Amy’s head.

This book, like the other one, posses a lot of potential. The world building could be more creative, the characters could be more refined, and the writing could be improved in so many ways. The Wicked Will Rise left so many unanswered question, but I don’t think that I will be reading the next book to be released.

Review: Dorothy Must Die

I finished reading this book last week and for some unknown reasons, every review draft that I made got deleted. It happened for three times and I thought about that I might as well quit on writing a review for this. But then I realized that I have to be more patient.

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Author: Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die tells the story of another girl who got blown up by a tornado from Kansas to the mystical land of Oz. She is Amy Gumm, and never in her life that she imagined being at a place that she had only read and watched about. But Oz different from what she heard about, its dwellers we’re living in fear and the magic is almost gone. Apparently, Oz’s past hero whom saved and freed the land from the Wicked Witches came back and was appointed to be a princess. Her name is Dorothy Gale. After becoming a royalty, Dorothy became evil and power-hungry. She terrorized the land with unjust and brutal punishment.

On the other hand, Amy was recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. She trained to become a fighter so she can spy and kill Princess Dorothy. But with a lot of personal issues and matters of the heart, will she be able to make it?

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In the past, I have developed a certain liking on fairy tale retellings. Though they are a bit predictable, because they are based on another story, I like the twists that the authors put on them especially when they darken the plot.

I am very excited when I picked Dorothy Must Die. From the title itself, I knew that my cravings for a well written story is about to be quenched. But alas, I was doomed to be disappointed. The story that I’ve heard so may good things about turned out to be a mere time killer for me. I like the way the author twisted the classic The Wizard of Oz but I hated the execution she does for this book. There’s so many wasted opportunities.

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1. Amy– I get that Amy had a rough past and that she is bound to be flawed. I know that she has a lot of growing up to do and she did in some ways. But personality wise, she did not. Yes she became more confident and skilled, but she’s also selfish. She always thinks about herself when her role in the book is to protect others. Amy also tend to justify her wrong doings by telling and convincing herself that her actions we’re necessary. I also noticed Amy’s willingness to kill. I know that the author just wanted to portray her as a kickass heroine but the execution of her character was so poor that she looked like a murderer instead of a protector.

I just wish that she was more carefully written because Amy posses a lot of potential. She can be a very admirable heroine that will save everyone at the end of the day. Being someone who lived a hard life, she could be someone who emerged victorious and wise in spite of all the things that she experienced.

2. Plot/Pacing– Normally, I will embrace a high fantasy novel with open arms. But in Dorothy Must Die’s case I did the opposite. Instead of letting the story took charge, I became more critical in reading it. On other books that I like, I did not notice how much time goes by but when I’m reading this, I became very aware of how much the book was taking up my time.

It is obvious that the author aim on making this book action packed and on a lot of ways, she failed. At the first 100 pages, it seems like the story only focuses on world building and on how bad Oz is screwed up while the training that Amy does only felt like 20 pages tops. The magic and spells that she learned were not explained thoroughly that a lot of times that she casts spells, I became surprised on how much magic she knows. Another thing that I noticed is how Amy became a world-class fighter when she only spent 6 weeks training.

Danielle Paige also wrote Amy’s internal monologue redundantly. Amy worry about the same things over and over again that it felt like I was forced to live inside Amy’s head each time she does that.

3. Romance– I finished reading this book last week and for some unknown reasons, every review draft that I made got deleted. It happened for three times and I thought about that I might as well quit on writing a review for this. But then I realized that I have to be more patient.ance- I don’t understand why Danielle Paige incorporated romance in this story. It feels obliged and not once did I feel the connection between Amy and Nox. The scenes when the romance took place we’re all unnecessary.

4. WHY THE HELL DID THE ORDER SENT AMY TO SPY DOROTHY WHEN DOROTHY’S HEAD MAID IS ALREADY THEIR SPY? What’s the point in doing so? If Paige thought that she dropped a major bomb when she revealed that Jellia is their spy, then she’s wrong. It disappointed me terribly that I lost all my hope in this book.

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The only thing that I like in this book is Dorothy. It’s fun reading her scenes because she’s sassy and will take no-nonsense from anybody. It’s just a pity that her exposure was very limited.

All in all, I really do not like how this story ended up. Dorothy Must Die posses a lot potential and I just wish that the author tells Oz’s story a little differently. Still, I would read the next books hoping that Paige will redeem herself.

Rating:1/5

Review: Cruel Beauty

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Author: Rosamund Hodge

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As the price of a fool’s bargain made by her father, Nyx has to marry the demon that killed her mother and trapped Arcadia under a parchment sky. All her life she trained to kill her husband-to-be so she can free her land and avenge her mother, even if it may cost her life. When she turns seventeen she moved in with Ignifex, her demon husband, equipped with knowledge that can crumble his home. But as time goes on, she discovered that Ignifex is not as bad as everybody likes to think and that he’s the one who kept her land from being devoured by demons. She also learned that in some ways or two her husband is also a prisoner. Nyx eventually fall in love with Ignifex as her husband does to her. The dreadful days that Nyx despised turns into delightful ones while nights that scared Ignifex become spent sleeping beside his wife.

Torn between duties to her family and to her heart, Nyx has to choose whom to betray.

” You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you” PicsArt_1440067229695

As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, this dark and twisted version is definitely a successful one. It offers new ideas while sticking to the original one and a whole lot more of twists and turns.

This is my first book by Rosamund Hodge and I must say that she didn’t disappoint. I have a high expectation into Cruel Beaty due to its good reviews and those standards are met. It just proved that this book is really something that deserves all the hype about it. I have read a lot of fairytale retellings and by far, Cruel Beauty is one of those in the top of my list.

Nyx character is someone so that can really exist in the real world. Her resentment and bitterness towards her family made her more relatable. She’s very different from the original “Belle” yet she became one of the elements that will make you fall in love with her story. Another thing that I like is that she’s not your typical heroine that will just sit down and wait for her destiny to unravel. Instead, she tries to control her fate.

On the other hand, Ignifex is portrayed as mysterious, and it made the story more interesting. Though a demon, he has a strange way of showing fairness and justice on his actions. He is expected to be cruel but his character shows otherwise. He also shows vulnerability and softness unexpectedly. It balances his character and deeds as a demon so readers will eventually like him.

Another thing to look forward in reading Cruel Beauty is its romance. Nyx and Ignifex’s may be a little instant but still it is something beautiful and pure that blossom between two beastly hearts. And the fact that at first, they do not know whether to kiss or slit each other’s throat really made me eager to read more. It made me so much more engrossed. The love team that Rosamund Hodge made is perfect, they do not only saw each other’s good qualities but also their flaws and beastly cores, and still, they choose to fall in love.

“I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me.” 

The setting in this book is another thing that exceed my expectation. The parchment sky idea is genius and added a lot more weight on the character’s responsibility. And the labyrinth of a palace, I truly love. It’s like exploring the palace with Nyx and none of us has any idea on what surprises each door will offer.

In conclusion, i really, really, really love this book. Cruel Beauty is really something to read over and over again. Honestly, I really can’t get over its characters and its plot. This will go straight to my reread list immediately.

Rating: 5/5