Rinkitink in Oz

by L. Frank Baum
Series: Oz 10
Reviewed date: 2019 Aug 26
281 pages
cover art

Not a great Oz book. Poor pacing, plot holes a mile wide, and the Oz bit was shoehorned in at the end.

Regos and Coregos Invade Pingaree
King Kitticut and Queen Garee rule the peaceful island of Pingaree. The jovial King Rinkitink of Gilgad pays them a visit. While Rinkitink is still visiting, fearsome warriors from the islands of Regos and Coregos sack the island, destroy all the buildings, and carry the people--including King Kitticut and Queen Garee--off into slavery. The only three who escape the invasion are young Prince Inga (who was asleep in a tree), King Rinkitink (who had fallen down a well), and Rinkitink's surly talking goat, Bilbil (in whom the warriors saw no value.)

Inga to the Rescue
It's up to Prince Inga to defeat the armies of Regos and Coregos, release the people of Pingaree from slavery, and to rescue his father and mother. He has only King Rinkitink and Bilbil the goat to help him. Rinkitink makes jokes and laughs and Bilbil grumbles and complains; they're memorable enough, but not terribly intriguing characters. They are no help to Inga.

The Pearls
Of more help are three magic pearls that King Kitticut left with Inga. The blue pearl gives him superhuman strength. The pink pearl protects him from all harm. And the white pearl gives him words of wisdom and advice. Well! Prince Inga has super-strength, is impervious to harm, and has an oracle that gives him perfect advice. This should be a piece of cake!

For the want of a boat
Super-strength and invulnerability doesn't help when you're stranded on an island with no boat. But--and here's my first big problem with the plot--a very nice, very abandoned boat washes ashore the next day. Why? It's never explained. Inga is just spectacularly lucky I guess, because whatever he needs just falls into his lap.

Inga, Rinkitink, and Bilbil jump aboard and Inga--powered by his super-strength--rows tirelessly for days until he arrives at the island of Regos.

So, to recap: Prince Inga has super-strength, he's tireless, he's invulnerable to all harm, he has a pearl that gives him perfect advice, and now he's got a magic boat that just shows up when he needs it. Yeah.

Stupid and Stupidly Lucky
Inga conquers Regos in short order. The evil King Gos flees to the neighboring island of Coregos where the evil Queen Cor takes him in. Inga's pearls make him so powerful that only a colossal blunder could thwart him, so of course Inga stupidly loses the blue and pink pearls. He tries to bluff his way into conquering Coregos, but fails. Queen Cor enslaves him.

Fortuitously--and this is my next big complaint--Inga happens to recover the blue and pink pearls. Why? Not by anything clever he did, but again, just because he's spectacularly lucky. With his strength and invincibility restored, he quickly reconquers Regos and Coregos.

Shoehorning in some Oz
This is ostensibly an Oz book, so Baum shoehorns in a connection at the end. Before Inga conquered Regos and Coregos, Queen Cor and King Gos had sent the King and Queen of Pingaree into exile with the Nome King. So Inga sends the people of Pingaree home to their island with instructions to rebuild, and then travels to the domain of the Nomes to rescue his parents. Despite the three pearls, he is unable to threaten or persuade the Nome King to release his parents. Just then Dorothy shows up with a basket of eggs. Frightened, the Nome King releases King Kitticut and Queen Garee.

Destroying the One Good Character
Oh, and Bilbil the Goat was actually Prince Bobo of Boboland. The Wizard of Oz breaks the enchantment and Bilbil the surly goat is transformed into the boring mild-mannered Prince Bobo. The one decent and memorable character in the book is now gone.

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