Wizard and Glass: A review

And so it is that I have at last finished the fourth book in the epic Dark Tower series, entitled Wizard and Glass. It’s an ironic title, I find, in more ways than one. I won’t list the irony here, that’s for you if you haven’t yet read this book. If you have, you already know what I mean.
I’m a little ambiguous in my thoughts about this one. While it’s a sharp tale, no doubt about it, and well told in Mr. King’s usual style, it’s not nearly so much about the gunslinger’s quest for the tower as it is a story about his first love. A large part of this novel entails what happened to the gunslinger years and years before he meets his current ka-tet(group) who are currently on the quest along with him. Those people he literally pulled out of our world into his own, in the Drawing of the Three. And then the little boy in Waste Lands. No, a large part of this story is about his first love, and the story around that.
Now that isn’t to say the majority of the book’s a love story, it’s not. But it is clearly the central theme, and it’s a tragic love story at that. It fits well within the overall story of the gunslinger’s world and his quest for the Dark Tower, but I think maybe I was a little put off by just how much of the story centered around this tale from the gunslinger’s past. I think the fact that the book had such a strong opening, and then dipped off into this love story from the past, contributed to my dismay.
This one begins right where the previous ends, almost to the minute. What is especially neat in my eyes is when they get off the train, they’re in the world after the Captain Trips virus had killed everyone, the world of King’s book, The Stand. Some might find that derivative, I found it neat and exciting.
Then they sit in the highway and the gunslinger goes into his past, taking up most of the book. Now, there’s a lot more to it than the love story. Much is told about the gunslinger’s world, many more insights than the previous books have given. Perhaps the author was trying to make the gunslinger’s world become more alive in some way, since the previous books have shown us a world that has almost died out completely. Here, there are some real vestiges of civilization left, though few they are.
In the end, I enjoyed it, and it was well-written in my opinion. Perhaps it simply didn’t fit my imagination as well as the others. I was expecting another story about Roland and his group as they neared the Dark Tower, but it’s more about the gunslinger’s past than the present. Not my favorite of the books so far, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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