Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
So today we’re reviewing the fourth volume (or fifth volume if you count the seventy page prequel story The Little Sisters of Eluria as the first installment) of the Stephen King Dark Tower series. I wasn’t intending to follow up the third novel so quickly as the third was such a disappointment but when I see it sitting on a bookshelf in a thrift store with the twenty five cent sticker, it just kind of feels like fate to read the next book so soon. So here’s the review for Stephen King’s The Wizard and Glass.
So what is it about? Well the core of the story is Roland telling Jake, Susannah, and Eddie a tale of his younger gunslinger days bookended by two present day events. The first bookend event follows the four of them confronting a demonic train and the ending bookend follows the team as they travel through a glass castle. But the middle six hundred pages or so take place long before their quest for the dark tower begins. It focuses on a fourteen year old Roland and his best friends Cuthbert and Alain, as they head out to Midworld to do a job for their fathers. In Hampry, a somewhat civilized by collapsing town full of horse breeders and fishermen, the boys work under the guise of counters taking inventory for the affiliation of their homeland. But things do not go to plan exactly. Roland falls for Mayor Thorin’s second wife (basically a prostitute on the side) and a forbidden love develops. The boys also cross paths with the trio of Thorin’s men, who are mean cowboy brutes called The Big Coffin Hunters. There’s also a witch at play, and a grand shoot out toward the end to prevent a great war.
So the good? Stephen King is doing a good job here explaining the world. At many parts in the earlier books, it was just explained that the world had moved on. Now it’s clear that it is a world is barely thriving and essentially unravelling after it ended in an apocalypse possibly centuries before. So for the first time, I can picture this world. He even did a good job explaining how exactly it is collapsing with the introduction of thinnies. Also like I mentioned earlier, I did not enjoy book three. It was bonkers as a Bugs Bunny cartoon and just about as silly. So the fact that this story takes a step back to the path to a much more grounded western tale was a relief. It brought back some of the old magic from the earlier books.
The bad? This book was way too long. I felt it could have been three hundred pages opposed to seven hundred. It dragged on and had very unnecessary fluff throughout. Also, I didn’t like much of the present day scenes. The train and the glass castle were relatively tame compared to book three but still they were ridiculous and silly making me just a scared of what the sequels hold. I like the crazy and edgy stuff from earlier not the ridiculous. Also there isn’t much horror or supernatural elements to this tale.
Overall, this a great western. The main story is wonderful. It’s just a little too long at times. The book ending maybe too weird for some readers. But as a whole, I think casual readers and die hard King fans will find something to enjoy here.
3 smoothies out of four.
Overall Rating: Forbidden Love in The World That Has Moved On.