I want Ozma to fail. For completely different reasons, of course, than the Nomes, the Whimsies, the Growleywogs, and the Phanfasms, but the end result is about the same.
The Oz books start to get better with 'The Emerald City', but my crabby grown-uptitude about continuity and plot and something meaty beneath the flash and sparkle of fairyland gets the better of me each time I read this. Because, of course, even the first Oz book was episodic in nature, every chapter leading to a new land of bizarre creations, but we had Dorothy's desire to help her friends and go home leading us through it all. They weren't just visitations, these were obstacles. The concept of struggle by the protagonist seems to have escaped Baum in his last decades of writing.
On a positive note, Baum finally ends the strain of Auntie Em's heart by allowing Dorothy to have her Aunt and Uncle come to Oz to stay, permanently. The structure of the book goes between Dorothy's touring of Oz with her amazed Aunt and Uncle and a dark plot by the Nome King's general, Guph, to enslave the kingdom by enlisting darker and darker allies.
Of course Ozma is aware of all of this, but she doesn't care. Granted, I wouldn't either if I had a magical wishing belt that did everything I asked it to, but she didn't even use that, or reassure her supposed friends of its existence. Instead she plays dumb and allows another dull magic trick to save the day.
But, the long night of Oz is almost over, because the next few books, despite my continued complaints, are better and better.
Next: 'The Patchwork Girl of Oz'
Previous 'The Road to Oz'