Wizard and Glass took me a long time to read. I’m not even sure when I started it, but I’m sure it was well over a year ago. I lost interest about halfway through and put it back on the shelf.
It’s the fourth book in Stephen King‘s Dark Tower series, which is still growing on me. I really liked The Gunslinger, thought The Drawing of the Three was silly at times, and loved The Waste Lands, which ended with the cliffhangeriest cliffhanger ever. But I’ve already complained about that.
Wizard and Glass picks up after The Waste Lands, on board the Crazy Train, in the middle of a game of riddles. The ka-tet (surprise!) survives, landing in Captain Trips land, the setting of The Stand (which I want to read but is currently on my tl;dr list). Some familiar characters appear later, and there are fun little connections to that world. But that’s not the bulk of the novel: They’re traveling east from Kansas City, past what’s called a thinny, toward a big castle dome, when Roland tells a story. A very loooooooong story, explaining his past and how he ended up where he is, with Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy, walking down an interstate highway in modern-day Kansas. Again, it’s a long story, say, eighty percent of this eight-hundred-page novel. King returns to the western theme that, I thought, made The Gunslinger so good.
And that story is good – it’s just that I think King could have been a little more…economical with his words. He spends time explaining things that would be better spent getting to the end. It’s longer than it needs to be. (As opposed to A Song of Ice and Fire, which needs to be as long as it is because so much happens.) And the point-of-view is weird, too: Since it’s Roland telling the story, you might expect first-person narrative with quotes around it. But no! It’s like a novel-within-a-novel, written in third person with occasional odd shifts, like when we get a bit of what’s in the head of a mentally delayed character (is that p-c?). King made some interesting choices, is all I’ll say.
On the whole, I really enjoyed Wizard and Glass despite its length and my disagreement with some of King’s choices. Even though I’d left half of it unread for more than a year, I didn’t have a hard time getting back into the story, which is pretty good since I tend to forget books quickly (hence, this blog!). I won’t say anything else about the story except that, again, parts of it were silly (Oz?), and King wisely chooses not to end this one with a super duper cliffhanger, though I’m foaming at the mouth to read Wolves of the Calla, the fifth in this series of seven. I’m putting it off for a while, though, because if I keep up with The Dark Tower, I’ll find myself dreaming about it, and that’s the last thing I want to dream about.
So I’m back on The Dark Tower bandwagon. I’d heard that there’s a movie in the works with Javier Bardem playing Roland, but Wikipedia claims that it’s Russell Crowe now. I dislike that change, but we’ll see if it ever happens in the first place. I’ll go ahead and put my money on the books’ superiority.