The story of Tin Woodman was told in the first book, right after we got to meet him initially. To remind you about his origin, he was a normal human being who fell in love with a girl working (slavering would be a better word) for a Wicked Witch. The latter did not want to lose her maidservant so she used her magic ultimately creating Tin Woodman as a result. The guy was caught in the rain and rusted until Dorothy and Co. found him and oiled his joints. He went adventuring with them never looking back.
Do you see a huge problem with the story? What the heck happened to the girl? Nobody even acknowledged she even existed since. So one of the fine day in the Land of Oz Tin Woodman and Scarecrow were sitting in the former's castle when a wandering boy unimaginatively called Woot the Wanderer dropped by for a visit. They exchanged their stories and the boy asked exactly the question in the beginning of this paragraph. Tin Woodman realized his was a jerk (to use a modern term) in regards to his former sweetheart, so he decided to find her and make a marriage offer. The trio sets off on a journey and encounters lots of adventures.
After an experiment of the last two books this one goes to true-and-tried formula which overstayed its welcome at this point. A group of travelers walking around the magic land and encountering strange magical creatures and even stranger adventures - this one began all the way back in the first book. It has some distinguishing features though which I will discuss below.
For starters I really like the idea of Tin Woodman finally
remembering about his former love. I also like one plot twist at around two thirds of the book.
When you stop and think about it some of the themes are outright macabre; I was afraid of what the heroes would find had they opened one particular barrel. Luckily they did not. Sufficient to say I believe this was intended as a parody of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Now for my dislikes. Speaking about the mental abilities of the trio which went adventuring, only the young boy Woot displays any, I am sorry to say. The party set off to Munchkin country from the residence of Tin Woodman. They had to pass through Emerald city to do it, but instead went around it ending up in a dangerous and unexplored part of the Land. They only one who thought hiking through dangerous parts might be well - dangerous and not be a good idea? Woot. Sufficient to say, the poor guy got the worst of it.
I can understand the reluctance of going through Emerald City - it looks my intense dislike of Ozma is shared by both Scarecrow and Tin Woodman although they do not admit it - but blindly rush into unknown without any preparation is stupid.
Ozma has a magic picture which shows her anything and anybody she wants to see. She and Dorothy saw the Tin Woodman's party going out from the beginning and followed their mortal perils without bothering to do anything to help. I can practically hear an announcement coming from the picture, "Tonight at 7: will our heroes be able to escape, or would it be their last adventure?"
Needless to say, the girls decided it was time to help only when the travelers reached the safety, in other words when it became boring to watch their progress. Real caring about your friends, Dorothy and Ozma.
So this is a standard adventure of Oz people saved from two stars only by answering the question about the fate of Tin Woodman's love and the nice plot twist I mentioned.
P.S. Tin Woodman dodged the bullet.