Before I ride out one last time with Roland Deschain and his ka-tet in the final volume of the I needed to buy a little more space on the blog (it’s a big book), I decided for another quick trip to Oz and enjoy the storytelling of Frank L. Baum, in Rinkitink in Oz, the tenth story to take place in that fanciful land.
This one starts out so good, in fact 80% of it I really enjoyed, it’s a completely different kind of Oz tale, while still, undeniably, falling into the quest category.
We are taken to a trio of islands north of the land of Oz proper, where we are introduced to Prince Inga, his father, the King, Kitticut, and his mother, Garee, the Queen. They are joined by a visiting king, Rinkitink, a jolly fellow, who doesn’t wish to rule, and his talking goat, Bilbil.
With a family secret, a trio of magical pearls, the island of Pingaree has been kept safe for years, but one night the island is overrun, and its people, king and queen included, are captured by the vile king, Gos, and his foul wife, Cor.
Inga, Bilbil, and Rinkitink are overlooked, and with the help of the pearls, one offers wisdom, the other strength, and the last provides protection, they set off to rescue the people of Pingaree and his family.
There are trials, adventures, and the trio make for a fun and different kind of tale. Things go really well for them in fact, as they lose and rediscover the pearls, through the help of a young girl, Zella, and goes to rescue the island, his parents, and confront the Nome King, who gets involved through Gos and Cor.
This is all fine and good, until the last couple of chapters, and it seems Baum either wrote himself into a corner, or wanted to be done with the story, because he introduced the deus ex machina of Dorothy, and using some things that were revealed in previous adventures to wrap up the tale rather quickly.
And of course we get a banquet in the Emerald City where a number of familiar characters are name-dropped to wrap everything up.
Oh well, I really was quite enjoying this one until the story went with the easy out with Dorothy and Ozma coming to save the day and leaving Inga’s quest in their hands instead of his.
That’s too bad. Still, reading these tales have been a lot of fun, and there is still a few more to go…