Dan Schwent's Reviews > Wizard and Glass

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
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After a riddle contest with Blaine the Mono, Roland and his ka-tet continue on their quest for the Dark Tower. While camping, Roland reveals the story of his youth and his first love.

The best part of this was Roland's backstory. You see that he wasn't always the killing machine he's become and learn a lot more of the backstory of the series as well. Astute Stephen King readers will appreciate the world they go through after entering the thinny.

The only complaint I have about this one is that I could have done without all the Wizard of Oz business. It seemed like he just slapped that on to wrap things up.

The 2011 re-read:
My opinion of Wizard and Glass has been colored somewhat by the passage of time. While I enjoyed the tale of Roland's first love and the confrontation with the Big Coffin Hunters, the flashback seemed about a hundred pages too long, like maybe Stephen King wasn't sure where he wanted the story to go next and decided to do some stalling.

That's not to say I don't like Wizard and Glass. It's just my least favorite of the first four Dark Tower books. It's still pretty good, though. The tension mounts as Roland and his young ka-tet head toward their inevitable conflict with the Big Coffin Hunters. It reminds me a lot of the battle between the Earps and the Cowboys in Tombstone.

The middle book of the Dark Tower is still a satisfying read, no matter what your opinion of the extended Flashback. Roland's back story makes him an even more tragic figure than before.
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Reading Progress

05/31/2011 page 1
06/02/2011 page 515
73.0% "I'm hoping Susan won't die this time..."
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Comments (showing 1-8)

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Kemper *mild spoilers* Here's my King theory regarding the beginning of this book and the stupid Oz stuff. Back in '94, King did a book tour for Insomnia where he drove across country on his motorcycle. He stopped at K-State in Manhatten, KS. I managed to get a ticket and drove out and saw him. Of course, he was asked about the next Dark Tower. (We were dying from the cliffhanger at the end of #3 at that point.) King promised he was going to start on the 4th one soon.

I have always suspected that after leaving Manhatten, King went east on I-70 on his bike to his next destination, and that the whole opening sequence of W&G was partially inspired by that. And of course, like anyone not from Kansas, he felt the need to insert that Wizard of Oz crap into it. Because, you can't tell a story set in Kansas, even an alternate universe version of Kansas from The Stand, without referencing that goddamn Dorothy. (Yes, I am a native Kansan, and I hate Oz with the white hot heat of the fires of hell itself. Not that I'm bitter or anything....)

message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent That makes sense to me. Driving gives you a lot of time to let your mind wander. It beats paying attention to the road. I-70 gets pretty bleak once you get past Columbia. King said Children of the Corn was inspired by a trip down I-70.

Kemper As a KC guy, I'd say that I-70 gets pretty bleak the further EAST you go of Columbia. (Kidding, kidding.) My wife is from St. Louis and has lived in Columbia, and she is going to be very upset when she reads that one.

I also think that motorocyle tour of King's was the basis for Desperation. So more's the pity... Ugh.

message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent That's pretty funny.

Maybe King shouldn't have went on so many motorcycle tours.

message 4: by Lea (new)

Lea You all are funny, LOL.

I think I stopped reading the Dark Tower books after book 3, so I never got around to this one. No real reason I stopped -- I think I just started reading different types of books, and put King on the back burner for a while.

Maybe I should look these up again and give them a try?

message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent A lot of people seem to stall on Wizard and Glass. If you can make it through, the other three Dark Tower books should be a breeze.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

The best way is to just rip out the 400 page flashback and pretend it never happened.

Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋ I completely agree on the Oz crap, but thoroughly enjoyed Roland's backstory. Great review and nice tibits about that motorcycle tour.

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