Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Emerald City of Oz



The Emerald City of OzThe Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
 "The Nome King was in an angry mood, and at such times he was very disagreeable. Every one kept away from him, even his Chief Steward Kaliko. Therefore the King stormed and raved all by himself, walking up and down in his jewel-studded cavern and getting angrier all the time. Then he remembered that it was no fun being angry unless he had some one to frighten and make miserable."

   Another enjoyable enough entry in the Oz series which sees Dorothy ask Ozma to transport her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry to Oz after the banks threaten to foreclose on their farm. Once they’ve been transported, Ozma sends them along with the Wizard on a tour of Oz to see the various magical towns and people that inhabit it.

  If you’ve read any of the other novels in the Oz series you’ll know pretty much what you’re in for. Not to heavy on plot, what little story there is, is there just to get Dorothy moving down the road to the next set of characters.
   In this instalment we get she meets paper doll people, jigsaw people, talking cutlery and a few more, it’s all much the same as usual.

   What little extra this book has to offer is a subplot which sees the Nome king burrowing a tunnel beneath the desert to the Emerald City to get back his magical belt. While he does so, one of his generals tours the underground kingdom to recruit additional creatures to join them.
   These creatures are all a little more sinister than anything to be found in Oz and leave the book to take a darker turn than the previous instalments.
   Sadly, the promise of a heavier story doesn’t really come to fruition as the plot is wrapped up in a quick and unsatisfactory way.

L. Frank Baum   That’s not to say there isn’t enjoyment to be found here, Baum’s imagination is a wonderful thing and allows for the creation of a vivid and interesting world, even if it’s not backed up by much of a plot. It’s obviously a book for much younger readers and I’m sure they’d enjoy it. Reading as an adult however, it lacks the depth required to keep you interested and Baum’s growing dislike of the Oz series is evident from the somewhat sarcastic introduction to the desperate attempts to wrap the series up at the end by claiming that, now that Dorothy lives in Oz, she won’t be able to tell Baum any more of her adventures.
   It’s now well known that Baum had lost most of his interest in Oz by this point and wanted to focus on other works that sadly, just didn’t sell. This bitterness makes itself known in the text and can be distracting.

   Overall, this is a decent entry in the series, enjoyable with some promise, even if not all of it is delivered. 

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Weeeeeeeeee'rrrrreeeeee off to see the wizard.....
For more of Dorothy's adventures in Oz, check out the

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