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Wizard and Glass, book #4 of The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Review by Mike 2004-03-16

For those of you that are seriously allergic to spoilers I need to point out that even though I don't give any specific events away, some things in the review may reveal the on-going plot of the series in a very general way.

Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in The Dark Tower series, must have made many King fans want to scream out in frustration when it was published in 1997. After having had to wait six years for it, what they got was a book that mainly explores events set in Roland’s youth, and there is hardly any progress of the present timeline at all. The Tower is still almost as far away after you have finished Wizard and Glass as before.

Being aware of this before I started the book, I was prepared to be bored by the dive into the past, but soon found myself devouring the story about the adventures of Roland, Cuthbert, Alain and Susan in a remote barony, supposedly a safe place, where a dangerous conspiracy against Gilead and the Affiliation has to be stopped. It turned out to be an excellent story, which not only added insight into Roland’s character, but also explained how the quest for the Tower really began.

The present timeline perhaps has to stand back too much in favor of the story from the past. It felt a bit disjointed and underdeveloped, though some things that carried over from the past added spice to the conclusion.

King continues to throw references to stories and fairy tales from our world into Roland's world, this time from The Wizard of Oz, but he is also beginning to tie some of his other works closer to the Dark Tower universe, for example The Stand. Mostly I think this adds an interesting framework to the story, but I didn’t completely “get” the relevance of the Wizard of Oz connection. It caused more confusion than understanding for me.

In conclusion, the enjoyment factor outweighed the annoyment factor – I give Wizard and Glass 4.5 amulets.

The Dark Tower
The Gunslinger (1982, 2003)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Song of Susannah (scheduled for June 2004)
The Dark Tower (scheduled for September 2004)

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