Before I started this I was thinking that it wouldn't be very good in all honesty but I was wrong. At first we see Amy Gumm as a troubled school girl with no friends and not many prospects either. Her mother is a drunk and doesn't care about her. When Amy comes back from school one day, her mother is going out, even though there is a tornado on the way. Amy left alone has to go through the tornado alone. This is what leads her to Oz...
Amy doesn't know where she is at first. A boy named Pete helps her when she first gets to Oz. He leaves her quite quickly though, although we do see him pop up a few other times in the story. He tells her of Dorothy's wicked reign. Amy then happens across Indigo, another character. Indigo tells Dorothy more of how Dorothy came to be so cruel and evil as they go to find the Emerald City - the centre of Oz. While Indigo is informing Amy they both come across another character called Ollie, who is a flying monkey.
Ollie is tied up for treason against Queen Dorothy. Indigo and Amy free him only to be captured by the Tin Woodman. The Tin Woodman kills Indigo and captured Amy. Ollie gets away.
Waking up in a prison cell, Amy sees a door that mystically only appears when someone wants to enter the cell. There are times when it's the Tin Woodman who enters but sometimes it's Pete.
Amy meets Mombi, a witch and part of The Wicked - a revolutionary group against what Dorothy's doing to Oz. Mombi gets her out of the prison cell and takes her to these caves, where The Wicked reside as Dorothy can't get to them there.
In the caves, Amy meets many witches who are a part of The Revolutionary Order Of The Wicked. They give her classes on how to defeat Dorothy. Nox, a young guy (about the same age as Amy) is her battle tutor and works her hard. Glamora, Glinda from the original tale's twin sister teaches Amy spells along with Gert. They both make Amy read lots of books so she's up on the history of Oz so if she needs to become someone from Oz she can seamlessly do it. Nox and Amy form a bond, which I really hope will be made a thing of in either book 2 or book 3.
After her training Amy is sent to the palace, where Dorothy lives. There she is a servant girl as she's quite literally become Astrid, a girl the Wicked ones captured to get Amy access to the palace.
At the Palace, Amy has to first of all discover what's going on there. She discovers the Scarecrow is taking monkeys and stealing their brains but for what purpose Amy isn't sure of yet. The Lion is intimidating those under Dorothy's rule. Amy sees this as wrong. Amy tries to save a girl but things go awry when that girl is captured and altered by the scarecrow. She does however save Ollie the monkey's sister from the scarecrow. The Wizard is involved towards the end. We don't really know why he's there in this book I feel. I think it'll probably be delved into more in the next book.
It's a whimsical take on Oz, with a few scarier bits thrown in as well. We read from Amy's perspective throughout. I thought this worked well because instead of being on the sidelines as the reader would have been in a 3rd person read, we're thrust into the adventure and action through a character that doesn't just let things sit and fester. When Amy Gumm sees something isn't right, she does what she can to change it. I like those sort of heroes/heroines. These are the reasons why I'm giving this book 5 stars.
You can probably guess that Amy doesn't kill Dorothy in this book as this is a trilogy but I'm really looking forward to reading book 2 - The Wicked Will Rise next and seeing just what happens to these characters...
NOTE: I'll be taking a little break now for a couple of weeks I expect as I'm busy. When I get back to reading I'll be reading The Wicked Will Rise :).