The Wicked Will Rise

304p. (Dorothy Must Die: Bk. 2). ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. April. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062280701.
Gr 9 Up—Still reeling from the events of Dorothy Must Die (HarperCollins, 2014), Amy Gumm is separated from her WICKED cohorts, including her would-be love interest, Nox the warlock. Having failed at assassinating evil Dorothy, the Kansas teen sets out on a quest to collect the Lion's courage and the Scarecrow's brains—magical items the Wizard has assured her will be Dorothy's undoing. With a semilucid Queen Ozma in tow, Amy travels to the Queendom of the Wingless Monkeys and the land of the Rainbows, making new allies while learning how to use her growing dark, witchy powers. When choosing between the greater good and saving her loved ones, the antiheroine realistically falters, giving this YA title believable heft. Action-packed scenes and snappy dialogue continue to amp the pace, and the body count mounts quickly, giving readers not much time or space to mourn for supposedly dear characters. An interesting take on sexuality and gender identity elevates the narrative, but inconsistent characterization, leaps of logic, and choppy text sometimes mar the reading experience. Still, a mysterious and nefarious connection to Kansas as the possible root of dark magic in Oz will have teens anxious for the next installment.
VERDICT A cinematic work that Oz purists will balk at but reluctant readers will devour.

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