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Monday, June 22, 2015

REVIEW: The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

The Wicked Will Rise is the much anticipated sequel to Danielle Paige's 2014 release Dorothy Must Die. Modern teenager,  Amy Plum, still finds herself very much stuck in Oz amidst a power struggle of epic proportions.  SPOILER ALERT!

The end of the previous book left readers in the lurch.  After magic bootcamp, Amy can wield enough mojo to join the team as they attempt to defeat Dorothy in the Emerald City.  Of course, things do not always go as planned.  While Amy does kill the Tinman, everything else goes to hell in a hand-basket.

Book two begins with Amy separated from her allies, questioning herself, and in as much danger as ever.  Throw in two formerly winged monkeys, the crazier than a loon, Ozma--rightful leader of Oz-- and being on Dorothy's and Glinda's most wanted list. Reader's won't be disappointed with the new set of adventures in store for the sarcastic, moody, and yet likeably vulnerable heroine.

Major highlights include Lulu, the Monkey Queen and former 'nanny' to Ozma.  She is a delightful character.  Lulu is hilarious--especially the Judge Judy bit--but also heartbreaking in her guilt she feels for abandoning Ozma when she needed her the most.  Never fear readers! Lulu has a great moment of redemption. I enjoyed the Island of Lost Things as well as the land 'over' the rainbow full of hippies.

Key themes emerge early on--namely, that immense power ultimately has the potential to corrupt. Amy gets of taste of this and has to struggle with the consequences--it remains to be seen just how all of this will pan out.  There are certainly the ever present themes of love, trust and friendship but also those essential to the Oz legacy: a brain, a heart, a home, and the nerve.

I really enjoyed this book. Paige has done a fantastic job with reinventing our notions of Oz while keeping the integrity of the original novels and its significance to cinematic and popular culture. The novel is timely with respect to the types of twisted YA fairy tales popular with readers today. Not only is this well written with a mix of humor, romance and adventure but The Wicked Will Rise is also deliciously dark. I can almost imagine a Tim Burton transformation.

Overall, I was aghast at the cliffhanger and cannot wait until the next installment is published. I recommend this for lovers of twisted fairy tales or fantasy reads.  If you liked these, try Spelled by Betsy Schow and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @daniellempaige

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