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It’s been quite a while since I’ve recommended one of the Oz books. But, rest assured, I’ve still been making my way through them.

Just recently, I finished the thirteenth in the series, The Magic of Oz. And you know what? I actually really enjoyed this one. Enough that I wanted to come back here and tell you about it.

It’s Ozma’s birthday, and her friends are searching for the perfect gift. But the treacherous plans of an old nome and a mischievous boy may throw everything off track, and possibly even start a war in the peaceful land of Oz.

The Magic of Oz hooked me from the start, and it kept me captured all the way through. Mostly because I couldn’t entirely predict what was going to happen next. This is a bit of a deviation from most of the other Oz books; I found those to be more formulaic, with their outcomes pretty clear from the beginning.

This one, though, didn’t follow the same formula the others did. Sure, the characters still explore the land, discovering new places. And sure, there’s still the happy ending. I think it was almost impossible for Baum to write an Oz book without those elements.

But, for the most part, The Magic of Oz didn’t see the characters travelling to new places and meeting new people just for the sake of something happening. It felt like there was more of a reason for it this time, and I appreciated that.

Overall, the book left me smiling the way the first couple did. If you don’t want to read all of the books between those first few and this one, you probably could get away with skipping them. But just know that there’ll be some character references you don’t understand, and even a plot element or two.

Goodreads summary

While searching for special birthday presents for Princess Ozma of Oz, Dorothy, the Wizard, and the Cowardly Lion discover a treasonous plot. In addition to familiar faces from previous Oz stories, this exciting and amusing tale introduces a host of new characters.