Ink and Bone

It didn’t take much convincing for me to pick up Ink and Bone, the first book in Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series. I was already a fan of Caine’s work. (I was slightly obsessed with her Morganville Vampires series for a while.) Also, Ink and Bone was recently named to the 2017-18 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee list. So, it wasn’t so much if I would read this book but when. I’m pleased to report that I finished Ink and Bone earlier today, and it was both awesome and disturbing. I’m sure many of my fellow librarians would agree with that assessment.

Ink and Bone is, in a nutshell, an alternate universe where the great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. In this world, the Library controls nearly everything. With the help of alchemy, the Library can transmit books instantly, but it’s illegal for anyone to own personal copies of books. The punishment for anyone who does–or for those who deal in smuggled books–is severe.

For Jess Brightwell, smuggling books is the family business. It’s all he’s ever known, and he doesn’t much like it. Now, his father has a new task for him. He’s to become a postulate in the Library, being trained for eventual service to the Library. His dad wants Jess to use his new role for information. Jess agrees, but he finds himself in the midst of more danger than he could have ever imagined.

Even though Jess has spent his life thumbing his nose at the Library, he believes it does important work. That belief, however, will soon be tested. Jess and his fellow students are asked to basically enter a war zone to retrieve some rare books. In the process, they see death, destruction, and the absolute worst of humanity. It doesn’t take long for Jess to grasp that the Library truly does place more value on knowledge–and its exclusive hold on that knowledge–than it does on human life.

The more Jess learns about the Library, the more he questions what’s really going on around him. Those questions only multiply when he realizes how far the Library is willing to go to preserve its power and keep its secrets.

Is there any way for Jess to stand against such a powerful entity? What will happen to him and his friends if they get in the Library’s way?


A world in which a library runs everything. The librarian in me is thinking, “That sounds absolutely wonderful.” Yeah…not so much. As the saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I guess that’s true for librarians, too. In Ink and Bone, the Library will do whatever it takes to hold onto its power, even spying on, sabotaging, or killing its own people.

Jess and company witness the Library commit horrible atrocities in this book, and it often feels like they are helpless against such brutality. Even at the end of the book, there’s barely a glimmer of hope. But there is some hope, especially given that there are two more books in this series.

Book two, Paper and Fire, is already out, and book three, Ash and Quill, will be released on July 11th. Something tells me that things are going to get worse for Jess and company before they get better, but I have every intention of reading the rest of this enthralling series, no matter how painful it may be.

In case you were wondering, I would recommend this book for teens, adults, and perhaps some mature middle school students. Ink and Bone is full of savage violence and intrigue, and, while it could generate some very interesting discussions (especially in our current political climate), I don’t think this book is geared toward most middle grade readers.

If you’d like to learn more about Ink and Bone and other books by Rachel Caine, check out the author’s website. You can also connect with the author on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

The Queen of Oz

I’m one step closer to the end of Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series. I’ve just finished the final prequel novella, The Queen of Oz, and I’ll soon start reading the final full-length novel, The End of Oz. If you haven’t read all of the stories up to this point, you may want to turn back until you’ve caught up.

(While it’s not absolutely necessary to read all of the prequel novellas to get what’s going on in the novels, it does help tremendously. They add tons of context to what’s happening in Oz.)

Here are all of the stories in this series thus far:

Now let’s move on to The Queen of Oz

In this final novella, we learn more about Mombi’s origins and her connection to Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz. Mombi wasn’t always the powerful witch we’ve come to know throughout the course of this series. As a matter of fact, she didn’t have much power at all…at first.

While a young witch, Mombi asks Glinda (who is actually quite horrible) to teach her everything she knows, but it doesn’t take long for Mombi to realize that Glinda isn’t about to teach anyone to be as powerful as she is. So Mombi strikes out on her own, and she’s soon given a very important task by Lurline, the fairy who founded Oz.

One day, a visitor arrives at Mombi’s home deep in the woods. It’s the Wizard, and he’s carrying a peculiar little bundle. He claims that the baby in his arms is his niece, and he charges Mombi with protecting the child until he can return for her.

Thanks to a dream encounter with Lurline, Mombi knows the truth about this child and has been preparing for the task before her. She knows this child is Ozma, the true heir to the throne of Oz, and it’s up to Mombi to protect her. There’s only one thing to do. She must use all the magic she’s learned to transform Ozma into something–no, someone–else. She doesn’t plan on Pete, though.

Pete has spent his entire life sequestered with Mombi. The old witch doesn’t seem to like him very much, but she’s still oddly protective of him. Pete does what he can to find momentary reprieve from his life with Mombi, and he dreams of a life of excitement and adventure. Eventually, those dreams and an encounter with an intriguing Munchkin drive Pete to find the Wizard in the hopes of being completely free of Mombi and her magic.

Pete couldn’t know, however, that someone was watching for him…someone far more dangerous than Mombi. Someone whose name rhymes with Blinda who wants to unlock the magic within Pete for her own nefarious purposes. With Glinda’s “help,” Ozma is finally returned to Oz, but she may not be quite as easy to control as the “Good Witch” would hope.


I’ve given way too much away here, and I apologize for that. There’s still a good bit to the story, so read for yourself to uncover the rest. Also, if you didn’t already know the connection between Ozma and Pete, you really have a lot of reading to do.

I’ll soon turn my attention to The End of Oz, the final installment in the Dorothy Must Die series. I have a few other books to finish first, but I’m hoping to get to this book by the end of April. Part of me is putting it off so that I can keep my enjoyment of the series going as long as possible. Another part really wants to see how things play out, especially as it concerns Glinda and Dorothy getting what’s coming to them. Stick with me here, and I’ll post my thoughts as soon as I finish the last book in this gripping series.

For more information on the entire Dorothy Must Die series and Danielle Paige, connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Dark Side of the Rainbow

Read all of these Dorothy Must Die books and novellas before continuing with this post. (Yes, I’m serious.)

So…you’ve no doubt gathered that I recently finished reading yet another Dorothy Must Die story. Yes, I’d say that’s pretty obvious. The latest story, Dark Side of the Rainbow, is the eighth prequel novella, and it focuses on Polychrome, the fairy in charge of the Rainbow Falls region of Oz. If you’re familiar with this series, you’ll recall that Polychrome plays an important role in The Wicked Will Rise, and this novella gives a bit of backstory to Polly’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the war brewing in Oz.

Polychrome really can’t complain about her life. She’s the Head Fairy in Charge of Rainbow Falls, the hottest vacation spot in Oz. She spends her days partying, surfing, chilling with her pet unicorn (which is not actually a unicorn), and having a grand old time. She doesn’t get why her cousin, Ozma, is always so serious. Ozma needs to loosen up and enjoy life a little, like Polly does on a regular basis. Oz will take care of itself.

Oh, if only Polly were right…

One day, a familiar face arrives in Oz and throws everything into chaos. It’s Dorothy, the Witchslayer. Polly, who doesn’t pay a ton of attention to the goings-on in Emerald City, doesn’t know how things have changed since the reappearance of Dorothy. She doesn’t know that Cousin Ozma is no longer on the throne. She doesn’t know that Dorothy is a power-hungry psycho. She doesn’t know that fear permeates everything now. All she knows is that Dorothy is visiting Rainbow Falls, and she wants to be friends. Why, though? Why is Dorothy so determined to get close to Polly?

A new friend of Polly’s, a handsome fella named Bright, tries to warn Polly about Dorothy and what she’s doing to Oz, but Polly doesn’t believe him…at first. Soon enough, however, she sees what’s happening, and she tries her best to stop it from reaching her own domain. It may be too late, though…

When Dorothy’s true nature is revealed, Polly must do whatever she can to stop this madwoman from destroying Rainbow Falls completely. Will her efforts be enough? Will this laid-back fairy give in to Dorothy, or will she become the leader Rainbow Falls needs in its darkest hour?


Maybe it’s just me, but I’m seeing parallels to American politics in a Dorothy Must Die story here. Anyone else? Something to think about.

While this wasn’t my favorite of the Dorothy Must Die novellas, I did like it, especially considering how things end up for Polly and company in The Wicked Will Rise. (No, I will not spoil it if you haven’t caught up.) I wish her relationship with Bright had been explored a bit more, but we still got a pretty decent look at how their relationship began.

Now that Dark Side of the Rainbow is out, we have just one more novella, The Queen of Oz, and the fourth and final novel, The End of Oz. Both have a publication date of March 14th. I’ll probably read the novella first and then move on to the novel. We’ll see how it goes, but I will definitely be reading both stories as soon as I possibly can.

For more information on the entire Dorothy Must Die series and Danielle Paige, connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Order of the Wicked

By this point, if you haven’t been reading all of the Dorothy Must Die books and prequel novellas, I don’t know what to tell you. Read all of the stories below before proceeding with this post.

Moving on…

A while back, Order of the Wicked, the seventh prequel novella in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, was released. I finally made time to read it yesterday. This novella focuses on–you guessed it–the Order of the Wicked, particularly one girl’s experiences within the Order. The story introduces characters that we may not have seen before, but I feel sure they’ll reappear in The End of Oz, the fourth and final (?) full-length book in the series.

When Lanadel’s family is killed by Dorothy’s horrific forces, she sets her mind on revenge, and there’s only one group in Oz that may help her on her quest–the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. Risking her own life in the process, Lanadel seeks out this mysterious order, and they eventually take her in and begin to train her for the coming war.

Lanadel soon realizes that she’s got a long way to go before she’s ready to get vengeance. She’s not much of a fighter, and she has almost no magical abilities. That will soon change. With the help of Nox, her drill sergeant of a trainer, and Mombi, a witch who teaches Lanadel to tap into the magic within, this girl may start to believe that she can face off against the forces who killed her family.

But is the Order being completely honest with Lanadel…or the other people preparing for war? What secrets are they hiding? What do they really want from Lanadel and her new friend, Melindra? And what’s the deal with Melindra and Nox? Lanadel knows there’s a rocky relationship there, but it’s as complicated as her own growing feelings for Melindra.

So…what’s a girl to do? No matter what happens, Lanadel is determined to keep her focus where it belongs. She’ll get her revenge on Dorothy…and anyone else who hurts her friends or gets in her way.


This may be kind of spoilery, but I’ll go ahead and tell you that Lanadel’s story ties directly into some of the events that unfolded in Yellow Brick War. Her mission with the order deals with the land of Ev, so I am sure we’ll see more of her in the future. I’m not so sure which side she’ll be on. As for Melindra, I’m hoping she’ll return as well. I think introducing her into the Amy/Nox relationship would be extremely interesting. (If you haven’t read at least the novels in this series, none of that makes any sense.)

While Order of the Wicked is not my favorite of the prequel novellas in this series, I’m hoping it will move up the ranks once the series as a whole is complete. We’ll just have to see how it ties into future events.

As far as I know, there are still two more prequels to look forward to. I don’t know titles yet, but #0.8 is scheduled to be out on January 3rd, and #0.9 has an expected March 14th release date. I’m not too sure about that last one, though, since the fourth book, The End of Oz, also has a Marth 14th release date. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

If you’d like more information on the entire Dorothy Must Die series and the fabulous Danielle Paige, connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Yellow Brick War

Notice: Before reading the post below or Yellow Brick War, the third book in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, you must read the books and prequel novellas below. If you’re all caught up, proceed at will. If not, you’ve got some work to do.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to Yellow Brick War. I’m not going to do a big recap of the series up to this point. You can read my posts on the books above for that. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Once again, Amy Gumm has failed in her quest to kill Dorothy. Now, she and the Order of the Wicked are stranded in Kansas, the last place Amy ever wanted to see again…but there might be something hidden here–the silver slippers that Dorothy wore during her first visit to Oz–that could help them defeat Dorothy, Glinda, and their armies before both Oz and Kansas (known to Ozians as the Other Place) are destroyed once and for all. But how is Amy supposed to find a pair of shoes that have been hidden for years and that most people don’t think exist? Well, the answer is simple.

She has to go back to high school.

Amy is reluctant to return to the life she left behind, but it is her only option. She reunites with her mother–who has undergone a drastic change for the better–and she encounters Madison, the girl who tormented her all through school. Madison, too, has changed. She’s a teen mother dealing with her own struggles and facing ostracism by those who once kowtowed to her. She and Amy form an unlikely alliance, and Amy begins to wonder if coming back to her old life–for good–might really be possible after all.

But nothing is ever that simple when it comes to the battle for Oz…

While Amy is searching her high school for the slippers that will help her and the Wicked return to Oz–because of course these magic shoes are hidden in a Kansas high school–she encounters a terrifying figure that could be even more dangerous than Dorothy or Glinda. It’s the ancient Nome King, a powerful, dark creature who has plans of his own for Amy. Could he be the one manipulating everything happening in Oz? Is he somehow connected to Glinda’s grab for power or Dorothy’s return to Oz and her addiction to magic? Amy’s not sure what’s going on, but she does know that she must do whatever it takes to save both Oz and her home (a place that’s maybe not so bad after all).

With the silver slippers–or combat boots–in her possession, Amy and the Wicked make their return to Oz to discover that things are even bleaker than ever. War with both Glinda and Dorothy is imminent. Amy and friends must gather whatever forces they can if they have any hope of defeating their foes. Amy will have to tap into the dark magic that she finds both terrifying and exhilarating. But will it be enough?

Can Amy and the Wicked win against two enormously powerful fronts? What will be lost in the process? Who will provide help when they need it the most? Will Amy finally be able to kill Dorothy and return balance to Oz? Is a much larger threat just waiting in the wings?

Discover what awaits Amy and her Wicked friends when you read Yellow Brick War, the thrilling third book in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series!


I’ve left soooo much out of what happens in this book. Just trust me when I say that it’s action-packed from start to finish–much like the rest of the series–and I am eager to see how things progress for Amy and company in the final book in the series, The End of Oz. This book is set to be released on February 22nd, 2017.

If February is just too darn far away for you, there are three more prequel novellas to look forward to. One of them, Order of the Wicked (novella 0.7), is already out, and I plan to read it as soon as finish a few other books-in-progress. The other two are not yet titled, and I’m not sure when they’ll be out. If the series stays true to form, they’ll be available before February.

For more information on this wonderful series and author extraordinaire Danielle Paige, connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. You may also want to check out Epic Reads’ Yellow Brick War book trailer below. It’s pretty great.

Finally, Danielle Paige is scheduled to be at YALLFest again this year, so, if you’d like to attend this outstanding YA book festival in lovely Charleston, SC, this November, click here for more info. I hope to see you there!

Ruler of Beasts

On Tuesday, the sixth prequel novella in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series was released. This story, Ruler of Beasts focuses on–you guessed it–the Lion and what became of him when Dorothy went back to Kansas. Before you read this story, however, you may want to take a look at those that preceded it so that you have a bit of context. Here they are:

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s turn our focus to Ruler of Beasts. If you’ve read any of the Dorothy Must Die books, you now know that there’s nothing cowardly about the Lion anymore. As a matter of fact, he grows to be downright terrifying.

Sure, as the King of the Beasts, the Lion has to be ferocious at times, but he takes things too far. But did he start out that way? After Dorothy left (the first time), how did the Lion adjust to his new courage and power? And who manipulated him into becoming a figure that was feared all over Oz?

Things haven’t been the same for the Lion since Dorothy left. Yes, he’s now the King of the Forest with loads of courage, but he longs for the adventures he shared with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman. Being a ruler isn’t exactly living up to the hype. He’s bored and looking for something to change.

Change comes for the Lion in the form of Glinda. She needs the Lion for an important mission in the Emerald City. (She’s can’t exactly go herself. She and Ozma, the new Queen, don’t see eye to eye.) The Lion is pretty sure that Glinda isn’t telling him the whole truth, but, after all she’s done for him and his friends, he feels obligated to help her. He’s also looking for a cure to his boredom. So the Lion takes off for the Emerald City and an audience with Queen Ozma.

When the Lion arrives, he’s shocked at how different the Emerald City is. Ozma has changed quite a bit during her short time on the throne, and everything appears to be thriving. The Lion also notices how young and lonely Ozma is. Suddenly, completing Glinda’s mission doesn’t seem nearly as important as being a friend to the new queen.

Soon, however, Glinda isn’t the only one who needs the Lion’s help. Ozma reveals that an ancient threat is headed for Oz, and she asks the Lion for his assistance in facing this potential foe. The Lion isn’t sure what to expect, and this situation makes him feel like his courage is deserting him.

How can the Lion possibly help his new friend when fear is overtaking him? And what will happen when he receives a startling reminder about Glinda’s mission? Could his involvement with Glinda jeopardize his friendship with Ozma? What could Glinda’s plans and his part in them mean for his future in Oz?

Answer these questions and many more when you read Ruler of Beasts, the sixth novella in the Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige.


If you’ve read my posts on the other stories in this wonderful series, you know that the Lion is not one of my favorite characters. His bloodlust is horrifying, and his transformation from a lovable, cowardly goof into a hideous monster is appalling (and really entertaining to read).

In Ruler of Beasts, we get a small glimpse into how the Lion became what he did. Part of the responsibility lies with him. He made choices that led to his current circumstances, but he was manipulated into some of those choices. Like with the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow, much of the blame falls on Glinda’s shoulders. (I didn’t like her when I experienced The Wizard of Oz as a child. I positively loathe her now.) She’s the one calling the shots, and I really hope she gets her comeuppance in the next book, Yellow Brick War, which comes out on March 15th.

If you’d like to learn more about Ruler of Beasts and the rest of the Dorothy Must Die series before the final (?) book comes out next month, you can connect with the amazingly talented Danielle Paige on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

I hope you decide to give this outstanding series a try (if you haven’t already). I read the first book less than a year ago, and I’ve been slightly obsessed ever since. It puts a dark, inventive spin on the Oz we all know, and I can hardly wait to read the next installment. March 15th can’t get here fast enough!

The Straw King

If it’s not already clear, today I’ll be focusing on the fifth novella in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, The Straw King. For those who are not caught up on this stellar series–which tells what happened after Dorothy left Oz (and then returned again)–here’s what you need to read to get on track:

And now we move on to The Straw King. As you’ve probably guessed, this story centers on the Scarecrow, one of the most beloved characters in The Wizard of Oz and, truthfully, one of the most horrific in the Dorothy Must Die series (and that’s saying something).

All he ever wanted was a brain. He never asked to be the King of Oz. It just sort of happened after the Wizard and Dorothy left. Now, though, the Scarecrow is trying to learn all he can in order to be a great, respected, and brilliant ruler. He’s reading every book he can get his hands on, but his precious books may not give him everything he needs to face the coming threat to his throne.

When Jinjur, a young warrior with a vicious army of formidable girls behind her, attempts to overthrow the Scarecrow, all he knows to do is go on the run with the Lion. He needs time to think about the best way to take back his throne, but time is something he may not have. Jinjur is laying waste to his people, killing anyone who dares to oppose her. The Scarecrow looks to the Lion for help, but it may not be enough. Is there any way to defeat this threat to the Scarecrow’s place in Oz?

Assistance arrives in the form of Glinda. Almost immediately, the Scarecrow realizes that Glinda is making her own mad grab for control, but if he can use the “Good” Witch to gain a bit of his power back, he will. He’ll just have to keep an eye on her and play her games while continuing to gather knowledge that will further his own agenda.

And just what is the Scarecrow’s agenda? To learn as much as possible, of course…and by any means necessary.

_______________

Even though the Scarecrow is one of the creepiest character’s in the Dorothy Must Die series, I almost felt sorry for him at the beginning of The Straw King. What’s more, I even related to him. He just wanted to read and take in as much information as possible. Knowledge is power, after all.

That, however, is where my sympathy ends…

It seems that the Wizard’s gifts were not without their dark sides. (We saw some of this in Heart of Tin and I’m sure we’ll see more when we get to the Lion’s story.) Once the Scarecrow gets a taste of power, he wants to keep it, but circumstances get in his way. He eventually learns to use those circumstances to his advantage, leading him to essentially become a mad scientist, someone capable of truly atrocious acts. Yes, he still pursues knowledge relentlessly, but his methods are the stuff of nightmares.

The Scarecrow, though, isn’t the true villain of this piece. No, that honor goes to Glinda (who I never liked in the original story anyway). The woman is psycho, and she’s manipulating everyone in her path. The Scarecrow knows it’s happening, and he’s looking for a way to further his own agenda without Glinda catching on, but I still feel like Glinda’s the one running the show. (That belief is only solidified by the events in the novels.) It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out in the third full-length book in the series, Yellow Brick War, which comes out on March 15th, 2016.

Before we get to Yellow Brick War, we still have one more novella to look forward to. Ruler of Beasts–the Lion’s story, obviously–should be out on February 16th. Given the Lion’s behavior in the novels, I’m sure this read will be extremely enlightening.

If you’d like to learn more about The Straw King and the rest of the Dorothy Must Die series, you can connect with the wonderful Danielle Paige on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

With that, I’ll sign off for now. In just a few short minutes, I’m leaving to get in line to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I cannot express how excited I am for this movie, and I’m hoping it meets my lofty expectations. We’ll see.

May the Force be with you!