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Wizard And Glass (The Dark Tower #4) – Stephen King

Published April 1, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Jake’s pet bumbler survive Blaine the Mono’s final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, one that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, they hear the atonal squalling of a thinny, a place where the fabric of existence has almost entirely worn away. While camping near the edge of the thinny, Roland tells his ka-tet a story about another thinny, one that he encountered when he was little more than a boy. Over the course of one long magical night, Roland transports us to the Mid-World of long-ago and a seaside town called Hambry, where Roland fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson, the harrier who—with a little help from a seeing sphere called Maerlyn’s Grapefruit—ignited Mid-World’s final war.

What did I think?:

I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the Dark Tower series last year and it’s finally time for my review of the fourth book, Wizard And Glass which just happens to be my favourite book written within this epic world. As a result, I apologise in advance for the nauseating gushing which is bound to occur as I talk about this wonderful, unforgettable addition to the series. See – there I go already!! My first memories of Wizard And Glass are actually connected with a stay in hospital when I was nineteen years old, undergoing investigations for unexplained abdominal pain. My amazing mother bought this book for me, knowing I was an already avid King fan, not realising that it was the fourth book in the series and I hadn’t read the other three yet. To be fair, it can *almost* be read as a stand-alone, despite the fact that it carries on immediately after the dramatic events and a nail-biting cliffhanger of an ending in The Waste Lands. 

Stephen King, author of Wizard And Glass, the fourth book in the Dark Tower series.

I say that it could potentially be read as a stand-alone because Wizard And Glass is actually Roland Deschain’s story from when he was a young man, fell deeply in love for the first time and earned his reputation as a formidable gunslinger. Obviously I would definitely advocate starting this series from the beginning (although if you’ve read my previous reviews, please don’t be too put off by the first book, The Gunslinger! It gets a LOT better i.e. The Drawing Of The Three) but because it goes back to Roland’s tumultuous past, it reads like an entire story all on its own. From the very first page, as Roland starts to tell his story to his ka-tetSusannah, Eddie, Jake and the adorable Oy to the last page, where his story is complete, we learn so much more about our strong male lead and what events have happened in his life to make him the man he is today. The reader sees a much more vulnerable, emotional, tender and human side of Roland and because of this, begins to fully understand why he now hides all his feelings behind such a hard and unyielding exterior.

Susan Delgado, love interest of Roland in Wizard And Glass

Image from: https://darktower.fandom.com/wiki/Susan_Delgado

My heart went out to Roland from the very first moment of this book. I love the way in which he opens up to the people who become his dearest and most loyal friends by sharing with them such an important and life-altering part of his past. His story is moving, devastating, eye-opening and thrilling but more than anything, it’s impossible to put this book down without feeling such a deep sense of longing to pick it right back up again. It’s always a pleasure to sit down with one of King’s books of course for me personally, but there was something about Wizard and Glass that affected me in all the right ways. His strength of characterisation is superb as always but he has a real gift for writing exciting action sequences tempered with softer, more gentle moments between the huge cast of characters that seem to come at just the right time. It allows the reader to recover from the frantic, fast pace of the narrative and appreciate the stories and personalities behind each individual we meet and what their motives, hopes and dreams for the future are.

I truly believe you won’t find characters as personable and delightful – Roland and his buddies Alain and Cuthbert, the sweet innocence and determined bravery of Susan and Sheemie and the villainous, dastardly elements of Rhea the witch and The Coffin Hunters to name a few. However, what I find absolutely incredible is how King manages to give each individual their own qualities and unique personality, despite the enormous cast that he has created across the series in general. This is a novel packed full of adventure, thrills and surprises combined with the author’s classic element of making the reader feel just a little bit uncomfortable but nevertheless, fully invested and enthralled with the world that he has built.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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COMING UP SOON: Wolves Of The Calla (The Dark Tower #5)

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The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) – Stephen King

Published October 6, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The Third Volume in the Epic Dark Tower Series…
The Waste Lands

In 1978, Stephen King introduced the world to the last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead.  Nothing has been the same since. More than twenty years later, the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar. A classic tale of colossal scope—crossing over terrain from The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, ’Salem’s Lot, and other familiar King haunts—the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page. And the tower awaits….

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human….

What did I think?:

As this is the third book in Stephen King’s epic fantasy series, It’s always going to be a bit tricky to review things without giving too many things away. However never fear readers, I will do my very best to be as annoyingly vague as possible as I would never want to ruin a series that you may not have started yet. If you’ve read my reviews for the previous two books in the series, The Gunslinger and The Drawing Of The Three you might remember I had a rocky road when starting my Dark Tower journey initially. I didn’t get on with The Gunslinger at all first time round and had to be heavily persuaded by a good friend to carry on and read the second book in the series. Luckily once I did, I fell head over heels in love with the world, the characters and their adventures and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Stephen King, author of The Waste Lands, book three in The Dark Tower series.

After the dramatic events in The Drawing Of The Three, finally things are starting to make a little bit of sense. Well, just a little bit as believe me, our travellers: Roland Deschain, Eddie Dean and Susannah have a LONG way to go, a difficult road and a lot of surprises ahead of them. In fact, their journey is just beginning and Roland is in the process of training them both to be competent gunslingers. He is fully aware of the dangers they are about to face in the quest for The Dark Tower and is desperate to adequately prepare them so they can approach anything with courage and steely determination. Luckily, they are naturals. However, their group is not yet fully complete and is missing two very crucial figures – Jake and his animal companion, Oy who both join the travellers in The Waste Lands and finally complete the “ka-tet.” Now the group must follow the path of the Beam, search for the elusive Dark Tower and take the necessary steps to deal with anything that might stand in their way, even if that adversary wouldn’t be out of place in the darkest fairy-tale or nightmare.

The best depiction of Oy I’ve ever seen – this is exactly what he looks like in my mind’s eye! 

From: http://darktower.wikia.com/wiki/File:Oy_Stephen_King_Wiki.jpg

Even though The Drawing Of The Three is tied for top spot as one of my favourite books in The Dark Tower series, The Waste Lands comes a close second and, I have to be honest, it’s because of the appearance of Oy. I adore Oy with every fibre of my being, he’s a wonderful animal side-kick with a personality all of his own and who definitely has a crucial part to play in the series as a whole. Before I get too carried away with a fictional animal character however, I have to also mention the world building which continues to improve as the series continues with the plot layers becoming even more intricate page by page. Not only is each character fantastically developed (King has a real eye for creating unforgettable personalities) but it feels like even though it’s a fantastical world, with make-believe creatures, it’s something you can both really believe in and invest your time in. Does that sound strange?

Stephen King has been creating the world of The Dark Tower for many years and it really shows. He may have taken an enforced break from it for a while after The Gunslinger but thank goodness he did because what he came back with was pure magic. Roland and his gang, the world that he has developed and the challenges that our characters face is a story that obviously got under his skin and has definitely got under mine too. The imaginative twists and turns never fail to blow my mind and as The Waste Lands ends on such an astounding cliffhanger, you’d have to be crazy not to want to pick up the next book in the series immediately.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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COMING UP SOON: Wizard And Glass (The Dark Tower #4)