WIZARD and GLASS | Stephen King
(The Dark Tower #4)
05.03.2016 (first published November 1997) | Scribner
Rating: 3/5 stars
Warning: Potential series spoilers ahead
Our Ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy have survived Blaine the Mono’s final crash. They find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, where a superflu virus has ravaged the land. The group sets out following I-70 towards a distant glass palace. Along the way Roland recounts the tragic story of his experience in a seaside town called Hambry where he fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado. This same town was also the location of an epic battle between his former tet-mates and a group known as the Big Coffin Hunters that would set the stage for Mid-World final war.
If it’s ka it’ll come like a wind, and your plans will stand before it no more than a barn before a cyclone.
WIZARD AND GLASS starts off with our ka-tet escaping possible death and entering into a completely unknown land that seems to be an alternate version of a town in the United States. This is a Topeka, Kansas that has experienced events that members of the ka-tet from the US have never heard of happening. It appears this town was ravaged by a superflu known as Captain Trips. Sound familiar? That’s because this is the Kansas from another King novel, THE STAND. I love that King plays off of other books that he has written throughout his works and this time around, having read THE STAND, I was full of nostalgia for my favorite King work. This connection also allows for more exploration on the alternate timelines discussed previously.
If you think this is where the story might be headed in WIZARD AND GLASS, well you would be wrong. The bulk of the book is an in-depth look into Roland’s past and specifically surrounding his great love for Susan Delgado. Roland takes his fellow ka-tet members and the reader on a journey many years ago to the town of Hambry, where we meet a teenage Roland traveling with his friends. This ka-tet encounters many exciting adventures in the town of Hambry, which ultimately lead to a large battle scene. Between following along with this group, the reader meets Susan and learns of her life. While I found a decent chunk of this book to be interesting, I did find myself lost or zoning out while reading the book multiple times. I quite honestly found parts of this book to be very boring. It seems that a lot of readers either fall in the same camp or absolutely adore this book. Overall, I think the background of Roland’s experience adds to the reader’s understanding of why the search for the Dark Tower is so important to him, but it could have probably been cut down substantially in length.
I’m looking forward to taking a bit of break from reading this series for the next few weeks and being able to regroup and go into the next installment with a fresh mind.
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.