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Wizard and glass is the fourth novel in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, this book tells the story for the first time of Roland the last gunslinger and how he gained that title. Stephen King is the author of a lot of famous novels such as the Tommyknockers, Misery etc and his novels tend to have a horror or gothic edge. However, the Dark Tower series of novels depict the journey of the last gunslinger Roland of Gilead to the Dark Tower. The books are set in a series of world either pure fantasy, alternate America's or America of the past, Roland is slowly travelling to the Dark Tower but on the way he has found a set of characters who will aid or hinder him in his task. This is the fourth novel and in the previous novels we have slowly travelled with Roland through the wastelands of his home world into a past America to pick up colleagues and through those journeys we have learnt an awful lot about Eddie, Susannah, and Jake but nearly nothing about the main character Roland.
This book changes all that, in truth it is a novel within a novel, the previous novel ended with the four on a train to Topeka but not the Topeka of modern America but a strange city where there appears to have been some kind of virus which has killed off part of the populace or left the others mutated. The train has a malevolent computer who had challenged the group to a game of riddles and if the computer wasn't beaten then they would be killed. Of course they evade the problem and after arriving into Topeka Roland is persuaded to tell his back story and what a back story we are told!
This book is in truth three books in one, an adventure with the four on a train, a huge novella within a novel and the finale where the story picks up again in Topeka as the group progress towards the Dark Tower again. The three are in no way equal in length with the two end of the books taking up 200 and 50 pages respectively and the huge novella running in at around 600 pages. The story of Roland of Gilead and his conversion from a type of cowboy and boy being the key word there into the last Gunslinger is told in loving detail. We begin with Roland (now called Will) meeting a girl called Susan Delgardo as he enters town, they become smitten but the girl has been promised to the aging mayor of the town on the annual Reaping night. Roland and Susan are now combined and the actions of one will influence the other, Susan had been prepared for the role of the mayor's concubine by the witch of the novel's title who can see into the future and people's ultimate desires by using a glass.
Roland, Susan and there two friends must fight the evil witch, the mayor, the local landowners and the populace to gain Susan's freedom and avoid the disaster which will unfurl on Reaping night if Susan sleeps with the mayor. Roland must choose between the tower and the girl and the events of Reaping night change his world forever.
This book will cause consternation for some readers especially those who love a linear telling of a story; here we have a book interrupted for around 600 pages by telling the past of the main character. When we return to Eddie, Jake and the current Roland it's hard to remember what had been happening in their previous few days but the need to tell Roland's past so makes up for this annoyance that the book works brilliantly. Here we have Roland's tale, all 600 pages not rushed, not told in little chapter segments so many other authors would have used to tell his back story as the journey to the Dark Tower progressed but told in full in one and in a complete manner. Roland is changed from the hard eyed gunslinger into a scared thoughtful 15 year old boy who is in love for the first time, of course the love for Susan will ultimately make him the gunslinger but how it happens is told in minute detail and the book and the series of books are all the stronger for the information.
Wizard and glass is a major read, almost 900 pages long it is dense descripting text and it took this reader about a month to read from cover to cover and I read fast (I read the third hunger games on a journey on a train to London and back from Sheffield) but is worth the effort, gloriously portrayed, deliciously exacting in description and really gives a sense of living in a strange town where mutant horses are occasionally born and witchcraft commonplace. We find out about Roland's guns, his friends, his needs and his desires and we are told in fine details his fall from happy cowboy to gunslinger with a hard gaze and the fastest draw in town.
This is classic Stephen King not dictated by the needs of the book market happy to write the book the story required rather than hedge his bets. I loved this novel and can't wait for the fifth novel but might have to read something a little less intense in between before tackling the next.
Wizard and Glass is part four in Stephen King's epic seven volume Dark Tower series. After the events of part 3, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass is mostly back story, as Roland tells his companions a story of his past, bookended by two sections which move the present story onwards.
Without giving the story so far away, Roland of Gilead and his companions, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and the doglike billy bumbler Oy, find themselves in what seems to be an alternative version of Kansas. There is a strange building on the horizon that looks rather familiar, but before they head off to see it Roland sits them all down and tells them a story of his first days as a young gunslinger, and a story of his first love, Susan Delgado. This "campfire story", so to speak, takes up approximately 500 pages of the 700 in this volume (which, by the way, continues the trend of each book being longer than the last, as, incidentally, does part five, which is something in the region of 900...). It is told as a novel within a novel, with multiple viewpoints like a regular story (we find out how Roland knows all about the other characters later in the book).
It is very much a Western-sci-fi story, in the vein of part one, The Gunslinger, except it is much, much longer. Roland, just fourteen, and his friends Cuthbert and Alain have been sent east from Gilead to apparently do a stock check of the town of Hambry in the Barony of Mejis. In actual fact they have been sent away to keep them out of danger, while a rebellion, led by "the Good Man" John Farson, rises against Gilead, and the Affiliation of Baronies, of which it is a part.
While in Hambry, they discover that it is not quite the sleepy out-of-the-way town that it at first seems. Let by three mercenaries known as the Big Coffin Hunters, there is a traitorous plot to aid Farson against the Affiliation. The attempt to foil this, together with the young Roland's love affair with local girl Susan Delgado, is the central thread of the story.
Susan Delgado is a sixteen year old whose father has recently died. She lives with her miserly old aunt, Cordelia, and when we meet her she has recently been promised to the elderly major to provide him with a child his current wife is unable to produce. In the very first chapter she gets on the wrong side of the ugly old witch, Rhea, whose job it is to prove Susan's virginity is intact. At first, Susan is happy to go along with her duty in exchange for land and money, but after she meets Roland, her ideas change.
Okay, that's enough of the plot. If you want to know more you'll have to read it yourself.
This volume of the Dark Tower series gives us more of a view of the failing Mid-World. Hambry is awash with objects of a bygone age, and having the old oil well outside town that still pumps simply because know one knows how to stop it gives it an interesting setting. This is a huge novel, with a massive cast of characters, some loveable, like jokey Cuthbert or cute, earnest Susan, some detestable like Rhea or Cordelia, some just interesting, like failed gunslinger bad guy Eldred Jonas. Roland is the central character, of course, and while good is probably the least convincing, mostly because he is supposed to be fourteen years old but comes across as just a slightly naïve version of his regular self. With him having a Romeo & Juliet style love affair with a girl who is only sixteen herself, it would have been more realistic if the gunslingers had been in their late teens or early twenties.
That said, I'd heard mixed things about this book. A lot of people have called it long winded and boring, but it really wasn't. It's long, but a lot happens to a lot of characters and the pacing was excellent. I can't imagine what could have been cut to shorten it, but while it wasn't as good as The Waste Lands it moved along at a cracking pace with barely a pause.
In addition, as it is essentially backstory, we know it's going to end bad in some way. It has a very Revenge of the Sith feel about it - the doomed love story (although it is much, much better) and you know it's going to end badly in one way or another (it does). In fact, it would actually be possible to read the backstory section of this volume before reading The Gunslinger, as it is pretty much Roland's past, although there are a few loose ends that aren't tied up, and we still aren't sure by the end just how long he's been searching for the Dark Tower.
Overall, while it's not as good as The Waste Lands, its better than the first two books and I'd recommend it for fans of the series. I've heard the series starts to go downhill from now on, so we'll see...
Wizard And Glass is book the fourth in Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series and is easily the best ~ not just so far but out of all seven installments. It carries on directly from events in The Wastelands with Roland and his Ka-Tet facing imminent death at the hands of Blaine The Mono as he hurtles across the country on a kamikaze suicide final run. Only by beating the computerised train at riddling can the Ka-Tet hope to survive and as their vast knowledge of riddles begins to run dry, so too does their time begin to run out!
Of course, it will come to no surprise to learn that Roland and his posse do indeed beat Blaine at his own game, otherwise the series would no doubt all end here! But their eventual destination is as about as far from Mid-World as you can possibly get...though where they have ended up is a world that will seem eerily familiar to fans of King's work!
Settling down for the night in this strange new land, Roland and his Ka-Tet sit down to have a palaver. And it is then that Roland reveals a story of his past that tells of how he first set out on his quest for The Dark Tower and what befell him when he first became a Gunslinger; the last of his kind!
This flashback story takes up the majority of the book and is a welcome return to the essence that made The Gunslinger such a joy to read. "Is (Roland's) story a Western?" Boy Jake asks. "All Roland's stories are Westerns," replies Eddie and though this is not strictly true, it is true that the moments when this series is at its best owe much to sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns!
Everything about this book makes it my favourite of the series from the images of Roland and his buddies sitting around a camp-fire telling stories to Roland's anecdote of his first love and the tragedy that ensued when he and his former friends found themselves way out of their depth in a back-waters town crucial to the fight against harrier, John Farson! The story that is gradually revealed here finally gives a human face to Roland The Gunslinger and reveals exactly why he is now the way he is. It also goes some ways to explaining his obsession with The Dark Tower and offers a suggestion why he might want to reach it so bad!
Though it has been said that you could read this as a stand-alone novel, I personally think that decieving! Without reading the rest of the series I think there is much here that will leave you confused and unsure of exactly where it all is heading! Still, this is easily one of the best books that King has ever written and without any queston The Dark Tower at its finest hour! The books climax is a little lame with its tie-ins to a popular classic movie and the cameo of an arch-villan King fans will have encountered before in many different guises but at least here, there are no indications of the poor way in which the series is headed and here, at the half-way point to The Tower, I think all fans will be pleasantly pleased with what King has set out to and managed to achieve!
Next up is Wolves Of The Calla and all I will say about that now is that things are about to get even stranger and weirder from now on......
Stephen King is well known as the master on modern horror, but he also branches out and some of his books cover science fiction, suspense thrillers, and fantasy. The Dark Tower series is an epic piece of work, compiled over several decades. This book, Wizard and Glass, is the fourth in the series. There are a further 3 books that follow and continue the saga. There are many print versions of this book and you can find copies on Amazon marketplace starting from just 1p plus postage + packing.
Description: "The Dark Tower beckons Roland, the Last Gun Slinger and the four companions he has gathered along the road. In a terrifying journey where hidden dangers lie at every junction - a malevolent runaway train, Roland's staunch enemy and the temptation of the Wizard's diabolical glass ball - they narrowly escape one world and slip into the next.
It is here that Roland tells them a long-ago tale of love and adventure involving a beautiful woman named Susan Delgado.
With driving narrative force and exciting plot twists, Wizard and Glass will leave readers clamouring for the next chapter.
And the Tower is closer..."
A WORD ABOUT SPOILERS!
I usually disapprove of potential spoilers being included in reviews, however in this case it is very hard to put some of my points across without referencing things that have occurred during parts of the story so far.
This review will contain spoilers for events happening in the PREVIOUS book (The Waste Lands) but if you have already read that far in the series then my review will not tell you anything you don't already know.
The first book in the series, The Gunslinger, introduced us to the Gunslinger Roland and told us of his quest towards the Dark Tower. During the second book we witness the drawing of the three and see how destiny has lead this group to come together. The third book follows the next stage of the journey and builds up the tension for the start of the fourth book.
Wizard and Glass begins part way through the scene that was set at the end of Book 3, The Waste Lands. In it we see our band of Gunslingers riddling for their lives against the insane reasoning of Blaine the monorail. This section is quite intense and does build up some level of tension, but there is one big reason why I was unable to feel the level of suspense required for this 'dangerous' journey. This being that all of the gunslingers are on the train. The train is threatening to crash and kill them all. This book is followed by a further 3 more instalments, so surely the main characters cannot all be killed off at this point?! Therefore it's easy to judge that the characters will survive and as soon as you realise that they are not in a situation of peril some of the magic is lost.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the first section of this book more than any other part. When they reach their destination of Topeka, there is a series of clues that link the story to another of Stephen King's works and you can see where characters and experiences may overlap. I found this a really interesting concept and was thoroughly disappointed when the story took a bizarre turn.
If you've been reading the Dark Tower series then you will know that the main character Roland has many secrets and we are mainly in the dark about his past. He finally decides to share his story with the other newly recruited gunslingers (and of course, us, the readers). This would be all very well if it was made a bit more concise but there are hundreds of pages devoted to Roland's back story of a love lost. In my opinion if I've managed to read my way to over half-way through the series without concerning myself too much about this history, and still managed to enjoy the previous books, why did Stephen King feel that now was a good time to dedicate so much time to this tangent? Taking us back to the past for such a huge chunk of the book throws you away from the main story and seems somewhat pointless. I want to know about the group of gunslingers getting to the Dark Tower, and following the timeline in the present. I found it excruciatingly tedious to drag myself through such finely detailed and drawn out descriptions of this past time. I know it is relevant to the character of Roland but it made me lose interest and to be honest was just boring. This section is written in an olde worlde sort of fantasy way which I dislike at the best of times.
After the story telling has finished we move onto the final section of the book, which came as a surprise to me. I had some real WTF? moments as I was reading and couldn't understand how any of this fit in with the story of the Dark Tower. I was glad to reach the end of the book but was left with a huge feeling of doubt about finishing the series and hoped strongly that the following books would not be written in the same manner. Things had better pick up soon or I will not be pleased!
Roland and his gang of newbie gunslingers - Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy, the gang's mascot - have just managed to make it off Charlie the Choo Choo, the egocentric train with a serious behavioural problem.
Arriving in Topeka, Kansas where the 'Kansas City Royals' [a baseball team] are called the 'Kansas City Monarchs', and where an old newspaper found in the abandoned train station claims that everyone is dying from 'Captain Trips Superflu', Roland and pals decide to give the city a miss and head for the I-70 Turnpike, which, the team notice as they peer into the distance, seems to lead to an enormous glass tower.
Although there appear to be no survivors, that's not to say that nothing 'lives' in this strange part of Kansas that isn't really the Kansas of 'our' world - the deafening sound of a 'thinny' can be heard, a sound powerful enough to drive you insane. In this part of Kansas the wall separating dimensions has been worn thin, and the 'thinny' has come to feast on the remains of the dead.
As the gang stop for the night after a long day spent walking on the I-70 with bullets stuck in their ears to keep the sound of the 'thinny' at bay, Roland decides the time has come to tell his friends about his past...
'Wizard and Glass', book IV of the Dark Tower series, isn't about the Tower, or even about Roland's journey towards it - this book is a book within a book, a story within a story. The main story, which is about Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy's journey towards the Dark Tower takes up approximately 200 pages of a book that totals 840 pages... meaning that the bulk of the story, which is about Roland and Susan, the love of his life, and the glorious summer they spent together just before Roland turned 15, is lengthy enough to make you forget all about the Dark Tower itself.
Up until book IV, the journey towards the Dark Tower had been an intriguing and mysterious one - a journey filled with strange creatures, incredible twists and turns, and a storyline so incredibly imaginative that the superb writing that accompanied it was mesmerising... the type of book called a page-turner, one you just can't put down... unfortunately, Stephen King chose this particular book as a 'rest stop', and Roland's past, as interesting as it is, becomes the main focus and the Dark Tower is relegated to the background with Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy. The end result is that the reader feels as though they have just taken a wrong turn somewhere in 'The Twilight Zone'.
It was around page 400 that I discovered that I couldn't remember where Eddie, Susannah, Oy and 'old' Roland were in the original story - the story I 'really' wanted to be reading - and I was growing steadily bored of 'young' Roland and Susan, although Rhea the wicked witch was starting to grow on me in a sinister sort of way.
I wanted to be reading about the Dark Tower - I wanted the gang to be heading towards it, not stalling as Roland's past took over. As likeable as Susan and Roland's friends Cuthbert and Alain were, the story simply didn't hold my interest, and it took me nearly two weeks to finish the book... at one point, towards page 700, I fell asleep four times in the middle of Stephen King's lengthy descriptions of a particular sunset, field or nefarious-looking moon. I just couldn't get over the feeling that this book was a total waste of my time. Although my stepson has assured me that parts of it will pop up in the next three books, and that everything will eventually make sense... I still have my doubts.
Personally, I feel that Stephen King could have left this book out... in fact, I wish he had. It brought absolutely nothing to the 'main' story, nothing, that is, that couldn't have been summarised on a page or two within the book as the gang steadily made their way towards the Tower while living incredible adventures [as a team] along the way, and being placed in life or death situations... much as the first three books were written.
Although book IV is part of the 'Dark Tower' series, I don't consider it to be integral to the 'main' story, and therefore cannot find it in me to give it more than a 2-star rating.
Book IV made me forget what the 'real' story was about, it put me to sleep more often than not, and I found myself skimming through pages in an effort to end my agony.
What astounds me about Stephen King's epic work 'The Dark Tower' is the intrigue it emits. Written in seven parts and spanning just over 20 years from the publication of the first part (The Gunslinger) to the seventh and final part (The Dark Tower), each part steadily chronicles the voyage and quest of Roland of Gilead, presumably the last gunslinger, and his various and changing companions as he edges nearer and nearer to the Tower itself. What he will do when he gets there, not even he knows. It is his 'ka', his destiny, and he must follow it.
The first three installments served us very well in establishing Roland as a character, and then introducing us to some of his companions, who form their 'ka-tet', like a group linked not only by travel, but similarly by destiny, as they trawl through the lands of Mid-Earth to attain the Dark Tower. Drawn from our world are Susannah, Jake and Eddie, each from different eras, and into Roland's world, where we soon learn others have come before, particularly when we get to the third book, The Wastelands, where our heroes find and travel along the Beam, a near invisible 'path' which should eventually take them to the Dark Tower.
The end of the third book left our ka'tet mercilessly at the hands of Blaine, a state-of-the-art train capable of going supersonic speeds (and then some!) and with access to virtually every source of information in any world - in a split second! However, the ka'tet needs Blaine to transport them along the Beam in order to continue their journey, and so they board the train under the condition that Blaine will only transport them to the end of the line if they outfox him with a riddle. However, with every element of logic and information at his proverbial fingertips, Blaine proves (virtually) impossible to beat.
The story takes a slightly different tack at around the 140 page mark, as Roland settles to tell his companions the tale of Susan Delgado, and it is almost like reading a different book. In King's second book of his seven-book saga, a similar event occurred as the tale switched from Roland's quest to the New York Eddie Dean lived in, in the 1980s, and I felt a little confused and aggrieved at the sudden change of style, era and story. However, it all made sense in the end, and with the change of tack here in Wizard and Glass, I put my faith in King once more and settled to read this part of the story, which is quite lengthy in itself, around the 300 pages long. However, I was quickly entertained, and while certain things began to make more sense as this digressionary tale took place, it also posed a number of new questions.
This tale is essentially a flashback, where Roland recounts a chapter in his life that has led him to this juncture. It tells of the teenage Roland and his two best friends Alain and Cuthbert, as they are sent away from their native Gilead for their own safety, but 'ka' leads them directly into trouble and conspiracy, and sends Roland hurtling towards one of the most destructive things he experiences: love.
This flashback tale isn't the quickest tale ever told. In fact, it lasts for well over 600 pages of the book. King himself says that he became lost and disorientated around the 600 page mark of the book, and I am not surprised, for although it is an enthralling read, and very enlightening in terms of the whole saga, it is excessively long and the amount of detail in some minute that it makes this book very hard going indeed. I felt that it was much too long for what was necessary, and there were parts that did drag quite a bit.
However, the characterisation and descriptions thereof make it a very clear and intense story. It seems much easier to comprehend and associate with the much younger Roland at his 14 years of age, as opposed to Roland of the 'present' who is tracking the Beam with Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy. There is a similarity between these modern day companions and those of his past, with the characterisation of Cuthbert and Alain very clever, as are the villainous characters of the Big Coffin Hunters, Jonas, Depape and Reynolds. The character of Susan Delgado is described as perfectly beautiful, and is in stark contrast to many of the other women in the tale, thus making her the envy of all other women in the Hambry, where our story takes us.
As Roland and his 'ka-tet' of the past encounter Susan and the Big Coffin Hunters, characters pop up frequently and regualarly, and perhaps it would have been a lot harder to understand everything had some of the detail been left out. However, it still dragged in places, and I for one could have done with it being quite a bit shorter. By the time we return to our present ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy, much has been made clearer about Roland's reason for pursuing the Black Tower and my own understanding of the saga was clearer.
The version I read was a more recent one, with Stephen King offering an introductory foreword as well as an Afterword. This explains to us how he himself was not sure of the exact direction his saga was taking, and this does go some way into belaying my fears that I didn't really follow what was going on. However, if I cast my mind back over the first four books of the seven book saga, I find that things are starting to make sense by now, and that a large part of this deals with examining the darkness of the human psyche, and how destiny can play a large part in everyone's lives.
In conclusion, I do rate this chapter of King's epic saga very highly, but it is very important to have read the previous books in order to fully understand the sequencing and significances of many of the events. The flashback tale that Roland tells his companions drags quite a lot, and thus drops my rating of this book from a 5 star to a 4 star level, but ultimately, I was still engrossed from start to finish, such is the intrigue that I mentioned at the start of this review. The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £5.22, and is well worth the read. But again, make sure you have read the previous three books in the series, or this may not make sense. Once again, King has toiled over a well written book. This took a long time coming from the date of publication of the thrid book in the series, but seems to have been worth it!
Well we waited for a long time for this book. King has said one of the reasons for the delay was he was scared to start writing a love story!
The book (finally) finishes the cliffhanger ending of book 3 that saw Roland and his crew hurtling to death on a train.
I won't give any details away, but obviously they survive. They arrive on a new world (in fact it is the world from the Stand!) that has been devastated by a plague. Here they take a break and Roland tells a story of his first love.
Although this story is not an integral part of the Dark Tower Story, it does give some background for Roland, and will help you relate to him.
We are taken back to see Roland as a young man. He is sent to a small outlying town, supposedly to protect him from the war being waged, but he and some friends are also looking for traitors. They find 2 things they don't expect - a huge conspiracy and love.
It is a GREAT book, teenage Roland seems much more 'real' than the adult version and you will fall in love with him. The story is very well plotted and engaging. At the beginning of the book you start cheering the teens on and you never stop!
A real winner!
Wizard and Glass is the fourth book in the Dark Tower series. We join Roland and his friends where we left them in the last book speeding towards their deaths on Blaine the mono, a psychotic speaking train with a thirst for riddles. By leaving this part of the adventure unfinished in the last book King has ensured that this book starts at a good pace which plunges the reader straight back into the story.
A large portion of this book is dedicated to a story Roland tells his ka-tet about his youth and his first adventure as a Gunslinger, a time when he fell in love and tragically lost that love, I think we learn a lot from this about just who Roland is and events that have made him the way he is during this book. This is written as a book within a book and although it is a little slow to start with would actually stand on it's own as a pretty good read.
I enjoyed the The Gunslinger. I loved The Drawing of Three. I found The Waste Lands slightly disappointing, but by no means bad. Wizards and Glass, though? This put the nail in the coffin for me, for the Dark Tower series but also for Stephen King as an author.
Wizards and Glass begins where The Waste Lands finished off, with the whole Blaine the Mono scenario. I found the conclusion to this strand of the story utterly ridiculous, but this is not the main complaint, nor is the irrelevant details which followed this scene. I ask all of you who bear some sort of fondness to long-running TV shows or films to perhaps recall those little flashbacks that intrude every now and then. Those minute long jumps back to prior scenes of the film or from episodes earlier in the series. Those short little interrupts that enlighten you to something you would have otherwised have missed. They're annoying sometimes, I suppose, but they're over soon enough, unless you're watching something that heavily abuses the tactic.
This book is worse - SO much worse. Lost, I hear, is a show that utilises the technique and often devotes whole episodes to flashbacks. That's forty minutes of flashback which seems a tad excessive to me, but it's supposedly necessary. So what is this book in comparison, this book that has five hundred and sixty seven pages of flashback for no good reason? What is Wizards and Glass?
A book deserving of no more than one star, in my honest opinion. I'm not being exaggatory when I claim there was no reason for the flashbacks; such is truly the case. It is comprised solely of some pitiful love story of Roland's youth. Some claim the problem with this arises from King's inability to write romance; this is certainly a contribution to the failure of this book, but the biggest problem is that it simply wasn't appropiate. It was a story that could have been told in a few pages, but was instead dragged into a painful number of chapters, pages, words.
The love story is also just so overwhelmingly typical. There is no variation from any other and it seems no creativity was injected into it whatsoever as King rambled and rambled and rambled. I tried to fight my way through the pages, I really did; but it just wasn't possible. After two hundred, I had to give up. It doesn't get better.
The main proof of the superfluity of the main bulk of the novel is that, after giving up on the flashback, I was able to read the remaining pages of the novel with perfect understanding. I had missed nothing. It's a pity, though, that the remaining pages did not redeem the book; actually, their action was much to the contrary. They simply nurtured my disappointment.
Many will buy this book simply because of the name (and probably rate it highly for the same), but I cannot recommend it.
Roland and his Ka-tet, now on-board the derranged monorail known as Blaine...face their greatest challenge to-date...saving their lives...all of them. With successfully solving the riddle posed to them by Blaine, Susannah, Eddie, Jake(just recused from the clutches of the keeper at the house in New York), Oy and Roland find themselves now faced with a psychotic train with a penchant for solving riddles...and now on a kamikaze mission...Roland strikes a bargain with Blaine - if him and his Ka-tet can pose him a riddle that he cannot solve, Blaine must laet them free before he completes his suicide mission in Topeka... Believing the book that Jake aquired in New York as their key to winning, Roland proposes that the riddles they ask should get progressively harder in order to figure out Blaines weaknesses - if any...finally digressing down to Roland as the only one to ask the riddles (from his reaping contests) the group begin to lose all hope of suvival...Blaine seems unbeatable....But Eddie has an idea They do suvive(barely)and find themselves in a strange town named Topeka - namely Topeka, Kansas...with quite a few similarities to our own world...and a deadly reminder of a former King book: The Stand...everyone is dead in this world and on the discovery of a newspaper, the group find out why...Captain Trip...the super-flu. This interesting addition by King makes you wonder in it's purpose...what becomes clear at the end of the book that the Dark Man...Randall Flagg has some involvement in the Dark Tower...R.F appears again... Making their way along a turnpike, they spy in the distance a huge palace seemingly made of Glass...and a rather unpleasant swampish mist surrounding them...which Roland calls a 'Thinny''. This is not the fist time Roland has encountered a thinny. he explains them as places in reality where it grows thin, and since the quickening failure of the Tower, their presence has increased. Ro
land must tell his companions a story. One from his past which would explain more of what he is and what he is doing here and why...The majority of the book is taken up of Roland telling this story of his lost youth. What he tells us is a very touching and horrific story....sent from Gilead at 14 by his father Roland and his friends, Cuthbert and Alain, travel to a small town in the outer arc of their world known as Hambry. Here the boys return from men, changed forever. We are introduced to Rhea, a witch who is given possession of a Glass Ball with magical powers and a Girl named Susan - sent to the witch to be proved 'honest' for her upcoming duty to the towns mayor as a 'gilly' - to bear his child for him. Roland and his friends come to the town under the pretense of 'counters' - they are to count all mateials that would be useful in the upcoming war. Some of the townsfolk do not seem to be entirely trustworthy, and as the novel progresses, a game of 'Castles' begins to take palce between Roland and his friends and a failed gunslinger named Jonas and his friends, Depape and Reynolds...this brewing encounter finally ends in a full-scale war between the two ka-tet's.... Roland falls in love with Susan - a very dangerous thing to happen, since she is to be the mayors gilly later ib the year. Her virginity is promised to Mayor Thorin - but she eventually breaks it to Roland, and he promises to take to her to Gilead when they are to leave..... Wizard and glass, is such a complex and capturing book that it is almost impossible to review it successfully without stumbling somewhere, the best advice is to buy it yourself and see. King's usual style is present in the prose, but within Roland's story he begins to write some of the dialogue in an almost medievil English style, with the presence of thee, thy, thou, aye, nay, etc...truly a litery achievement of some magnitude on Kings part, changin
g the entire sytle of his writing to encompass the old world of Roland. A great addition to the Dark Tower series, Wizard and Glass gives a great insight to the reasons behind Roland quest and leaves the reader wanting for more...the next book in the series, now known as 'Calla Byrn Sturgis', should appear autumn 2002...eagerly awaited. Full of suspense, drama, love, war, sorrow and with quite disturbing plot twists, Wizard and Glass is but a small Part of Kings crowning acievement... And the Tower is yet closer...
Roland and his ka-tet finally reach Topeka with their lives. I won’t tell you how they beat Blaine the pain, as that would spoil it, but suffice it to say they survive, Blaine doesn’t and they reach their destination. Or do they? After climbing out of the ruined train, just one more casualty of this dying world, they discover that they appear to be in Kansas, America. But who’s ‘when’? Time is strange in Roland’s world. Time and distance can no longer be relied upon as the whole infinite number of universes and the Dark Tower, which governs them, is crumbling and decaying at an alarming rate. At some point during the train ride, time has slipped. They are no longer in Roland’s world and they need to get back so that they can continue on the path of the beam, as this will ultimately lead them to the Tower. Throughout the course of this book, all 845 pages (paperback) of it, the group of Tower seekers do not travel very far. Indeed, most of the book is spent round a campfire on Interstate 70, amidst the ruined graveyard of motor vehicles, having discovered that in this ‘when’; a devastating plague of some description has wiped out the entire population. Instead, King has opted to go back in time, right back to when Roland was just 14 and had just earned his guns. This book, the fourth in the Dark Tower series, delves into the depths of the driving force behind Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower. I feel that King has been astonishingly successful in creating the fourteen-year-old version of Roland. If you didn’t know him before, you certainly will by the end of this book. Up until this point King has created the character of a gunslinger as a cold hearted person who is so firmly focused on his destiny and subsequently his quest that it leaves the reader with the feeling that his heart is made of glacial ice. Indeed, on numerous occasions throughout the series so far, he has openly aban
doned friends to certain death rather than fail his mission. Saying that though, you can always accept his decisions as King has never failed to portray the absolute necessity of his actions and you find yourself sympathising if not empathising with Roland. This book shows him in a different light. Yes, he’s still got the gunslingers coldness and ability to kill when needs must, but he has also captured the essence of a teenager’s first love and you get to know the kinder side of Roland. You can now understand that he is as cold and calculating as he is due to the devastating events he had to endure as a 14 year old and throughout his life. The irony of this tale is that his father Stephen Deschain, sent him and two friends east, to keep them out of harms way while the Affiliation dealt with Farson and his men who were intent on creating a war and rising against them, using the ancients rusty old weapons. King is very clever at describing tanks and other war machinery in a language that assumes that nobody really knows what they are or how they work, yet still enables you to understand what they are even when he uses completely different words for them. The whole series is in fact riddled with such gems as these and it really adds to the impression that this is a different world to ours although there are plenty of similarities. But the world has moved on and there are many long forgotten items, which on the whole no longer work. This book is almost like a story within a story. After settling down to the task of telling Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy the billy-bumbler about his younger years we leave the current characters on that highway and travel back to a time long since passed and meet new friends. Or in this case, old friends as very few if any remain in this world and these are the very people who made Roland what he is today to a certain extent. Firstly, we hear more of Cuthbert and Alain, his childhood pals
and fellow gunslingers, although neither of the pair had actually earned their guns when the three of them went east. They find themselves in a sleepy little fishing community called Hambry in the barony of Mejis. Their cover story is that they have been naughty boys (but not too bad) and they are there as a punishment and must count everything and anything in Hambry that the proclaimed ally of the Affiliation has that would be helpful in defeating Farsons men once and for all. Under the guise of Will Dearborn (Roland), Richard Stockwell (Alain) and Arthur Heath (Cuthbert), the boys gunslinger instincts are aroused by the overtly friendly, welcoming nature of their hosts and are suspicious that this sleepy little town is not what it seems. Indeed, this would not be much of a tale if this weren’t the case. Of course Roland being a great believer in destiny (ka) is not surprised by this turn of events. King has written about this town as an old fashioned fishing village where people are slower and more relaxed and set in their country ways. He has brought this across very well and the three boys are sometimes jibbed for their posh ways and their stiff, funny little In-World bows. He has also captured the essence of different accents very well and manages to convince the reader’s imagination that there is a whole different dialect spoken here. The events, which occurred during that long hot summer, over a period of 3-4 months, are intricately detailed and never fail to surprise. You may think I have told far too much of the story here but in truth, I’ve barely scratched the surface. The story that unfolds of Roland’s chance encounter with Susan Delgado and their subsequent love affair are both tantalising and captivating. King is most commonly known for horror stories but here he has shown that he can be equally at home with romance although he admits in the after word that he was uncomfortable with this and sought
help from various people to ensure he had the feelings of first teenage love in context. I believe he succeeded admirably. But don’t be put off by this for this is not just a love story hidden amongst horror, and King has not gone soft. During that summer, many psychological games were played out and the events were likened to a game of castles. This game is portrayed as a game of chess crossed with draughts, commonly played throughout Roland’s world. Many times events are referred to in this manner and the whole summer seems to become a game where neither Roland’s ka-tet nor the bad guys want to storm around the hillock and be caught short. The boys feign stupidity and slowness and take an excessively long time counting fishing nets and such before moving onto the horses on the drop. They are aware very quickly that there are far more horses than they’d been told and this is where their suspicions are confirmed. They have even counted the ‘thinny’ out at eyebolt canyon. This is a natural (or unnatural depending on your way of thinking) phenomenon, which seems to be a breakdown of the very fabric of existence. This is why the Tower is so important. Roland believes that here he will be able to prevent further decline and possibly repair the seemingly irreparable damage done to his world. You may wonder where the name of this particular book comes from – Wizard and Glass. Mostly from Rhea of the Coos, the old hag of a witch who thrives on nastiness and evil. She is entrusted with a glass ball (wizard glass), referred to by Roland's father as the pink grapefruit. This is an enchanted ball, one of thirteen. These are from the old days, before the world moved on and there are only a few believed to still be in existence. The ball also thrives on evil in essence and is almost like a crystal ball but it tends to be mischievous and generally only shows things that would be cruel, painful or upsettin
g to the beholder. The ball drains your strength until you are emaciated and almost skeletal. Eating and sleeping become annoyances, and Rhea has fallen under the ‘glam’s’ spell. Rhea acquires this at the very start of this story and uses it to her own devious devices throughout. This book is full of love, pain, sorrow, loss, death, courage and hope. There are no dodgy loopholes or irrelevance, this book, from start to finish is brimming with action and fine detail, everything intricately woven together and not just within this book, but throughout the whole series. There are no loose ends to leave you feeling let down and cheated. This is just pure brilliance from start to finish. This truly is Stephen King at his very, very best. You must know by now what I think of this series so I am obviously going to tell you to read this book and this series at all cost. Even if I still haven’t convinced you, at least borrow it from the library and give it a go. You’ll regret it if you don’t! Update on part five: No confirmed release date as yet, but check out the Stephen King Website www.stephenking.com for further updates. The following information was found there. The Crawling Shadow (tentative title for Volume V of The Dark Tower series)
This book made me do a total u-turn on Stephen King's writing. I had previously read the occasional writing of his over the years. Managing the first 3 Darktower books, which were, admittedly slow going. However, Wizard and Glass took residence in my back pocket on a train journey from Malaga to London (almost 3 days), and whilst reading it, it was as if the cogs suddenly all fitted together and the genius of King's writing was clear. Upon arrival in England, I then had to dig up all my Stephen King books and re-read them all, and they opened up a new depth and they continue, it's like peeling away the layers. The Darktower Sequence aren't horrors, but fantasy and yet they still chill you to the core - a dark look at human nature, fate and a bit of dark magic. King skips in and out of modern and a made-up kind of olde speech, between two minds - just as he himself sat across from himself and decided where he would take this story that he started as a teenager and whether he could do the story the same justice. It's a book of hope and aspiration, sheer ambition and love. It will leave you just praying that the sequence gets finished, although I wonder if it ever will. If Roland finds his way and suceeds, then isn't that the antithesis of what it's all about? Read the three before, read this, read the other three again then read the rest of Stephen King's writing...you won't look back, I promise!
I have been a Stephen King fan since way back when he wrote his first novel Carrie.He has the art of you not being able to put the book down. The tension builds up and the ending is never as you imagine it will be. I cant say I have a favourite book because they are always so different. From the real horror to the macabre and down right mind boggling stories they hold me spellbound till the last page. I read my first Dark Tower story a few years ago and found it totally different to anything else he had ever written. The first one ,Gunslinger, took some getting into from page one. But after the first paragraph my eyes were glued to the pages.The main character "The gunslinger" was sent on a quest to save the world from "the man in black". Although set in the future he was the fastest draw "in the west". He sets out to gather some buddies to help him in his fight against evil, which then takes us on to the next book,The Drawing of the Three. Here he travels through time to gather all his buddies together. Meanwhile, the dark man ,is following his every move and trying to halt his every move. Anyway he manages to get them together,from different parts of time and space and then they all go through a hole into another time world to escape the clutches of the, dark man. This takes them on to the next book The waste Lands. They enter a strange world of dreams and people"not of this world" there dreams take them back to their own time to see their fears and bury their ghosts. They meet strange people and animals and are almost eaten by giant sea animals. The gunslinger nearly but not quite dies. They manage to fight off all the baddies but are still persued by, the dark man. And no nearer reaching their destination,The dark Tower. The next book Whizard and Glass is a mixture of The Gunslinger dreaming of his past lost love while recouperating from his near death experiencein the last book. The dark man is tr
ailing them but never seems to catch them. They travel on in the hope of being able to save the crumbling tower from the forces of evil.Trying to save the world by the talisman of the past The Wizzard's Glass. Needless to say the story ends with the hope of another episode and another great Stephen King Novel.
Background The book "Wizard & Glass" is the fourth book in the series known as "the Dark Tower", which has been keeping us all enthralled for the last 20 odd years. Synopsys In this novel it is the turn of Roland to tell us about his passage to manhood. Based in the town of Hambre, midworld. The book tells us of how Roland and his then Ka-tet (Cuthbert and Alain) go west to avoid the coming war caused by "the good man" (the main bad guy of the story). Once in Hambre it is decided that they should change their names to avoid possible detection/controversy (after all what would three boys from such a great city as Gilead be doing in such a rural backwater as Hambre?). From this point on in the book Roland is refered to as Will Dearborne. The reason/excuse for them being in Hambre is that they are counting livestock and horses in case "the Cause" backhome needs them. Will is out riding one night when he comes across the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, with long blonde hair and keen blue eyes she is a vision of loveliness, her name is Susan. Of course with all King novels it isnt as simple as this, Susan is the soon-to-be gilly of the mayor of Hambre (who unknown to anyone but his closest allies is a conspiritor for the "good man") The middle portion of the book is taken up by the bitter-sweet longings of two teenage lovers who wish to deny their feelings for each other, but who inevitabley cant. Once they give into each other, Roland once again begins to see clearly, as the blinkers of true love are removed he realises that the mayor and his cheif of security are planning on stealing the oil from the oil refinery at hambre to give to "the goodman", this will allow him to crush Gilead and Rolands father. At this point in the book, the cheif of security kills the mayor and blames our Ka-tet for it, thus almost guarenteeing them to be hung, but alothough they are ar
rested and jailed pending a trial the following day, Susan manages to rescue them. The three boys then ride out to meet and retreive the horses bound for the "good man" but whilst they succeed, Susan is caught and burned at the stake (all the while calling for her Roland and telling him that she loved him). The last part of the book, comes back to our present time Ka-tet (Eddie, susannah, Jake, oy and Roland) where they are travelling through "the stand's" where. They come accross a green castle (very reminiscant of the wizard of oz) where they meet Randolf flagg (or marten as he's also known in this book) They beat him at his own game and are then once more on their way towards the "Dark Tower" My Opinion This book has got to be one of my favourite pieces of modern King. Not only does it incorperate his skill at writing superb characters but it also explores previously uncharted terror-tory, love. Never before has King written with such a winning combination of “true love” and action. Roland is, once again, my main reason for reading, he is a truly inspired character. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment of “The Dak Tower” and will be rushing out to buy the next in the series as soon as its released. I urge all to read this book, it is a true King masterpiece.
Wizard and Glass was an amazing experience to read. I had waited years after the conclusion of Book three in King's Dark Tower series (entitled 'The Waste Lands') to see what would happen after the incredible cliffhanger. I had read on the internet that the fourth volume was mostly concerned with a romance story from the past of the main character - Roland, the gunslinger. I wasn't keen on the idea of this; I just wanted a conclusion. Boy, did I get the wrong idea. I should have learned by now that King can write anything, and I would enjoy it. The romance in this book is heartbreaking. Very few King books can affect me for awhile after I finish them - among them are 'It', with it's themes of friendship, and Insomnia. I can now add Wizard and Glass to the list. Some might complain that we are not really any further on the path towards the Dark Tower and this series' conclusion - The majority of the book is based on the past, not the present. I would say that this is missing the point - It's not where the journey takes you but what happens along the way; Otherwise, King's 'The Long Walk' would be disapointing reading. I would say that any King fan should own this volume - it's among the greats in his works, such as The Stand and It. Hopefully, with it's more publicised release, it will bring more fans in to read the Dark Tower series - and since the previous volumes have been re-released in matching covers, there's no reason not to pick up the previous books. The only bad thing in all of this will be the wait until the fifth volume is released; Oh well. At least it's not a cliffhanger this time...