“He wanted her, suddenly and completely, with a desperate depth of feeling that felt like sickness. Everything he was and everything he had come for, it seemed, was secondary to her.”
Ahh, Wizard and Glass, the fourth installment in The Dark Tower series. This one is most definitely up there with my favorite Dark Tower books, and with good reason. Wizard and Glass revolves around Roland’s past and his first true love. The story develops Roland’s character immensely, and it will most certainly change the way you view him for the remainder of the series. We first start out with Roland and the gang still trapped on the deadly monorail, Blaine (Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth). After they escape Blaine, they find themselves no longer in Roland’s world but in America. This is not the same ‘when’ or exactly the same ‘where’ that Eddie, Jake, and Susannah had come from but it is a version of America nonetheless.
I will say that reading The Stand prior to this book (or even The Wastelands for that matter) will give you tons more enjoyment as they find everyone in this world is dead from a ‘Super Flu’ that wiped out most of the population. Now that’s all I’ll say about that and I’ll leave the rest of the ‘easter eggs’ for your own finding. Before long the Ka-Tet realizes they must have been transported here through a tear in the fabric of reality Roland calls a Thinny. Before finding their way back Roland decides it is time to tell his new friends about his past, his first love, and how his journey to the Tower begun.
Not only is this an amazing installment into the Dark Tower series, and gives you ample information regarding the history of Roland’s world and his journey to the Tower. But it’s a beautiful story all on its own of love, loss, and friendship. It touches on all those hard choices we must make between lovers, friends, and responsibilities. The story also has a gorgeous setting that is new to the series. We find ourselves quite far from Mid-World. We are in the Outer Arc, in Mejis on the Clean Sea. It’s primarily a fishing and horse ranching town that King describes beautifully. He gives the town a Spanish culture complete with sombreros, serapes, and even its own lingo (which is very hard not to pick up yourself while reading).
We meet so many amazing characters, some of the best in the series. Roland’s original Ka-Tet, Cuthbert, and Alain. And of course, his first true love, Susan. Not to mention loads of other great characters, good and bad. The terrifying Rhea of the Coos, the loveable Sheemie, and the wretched Blue Coffin Hunters! The list goes on. I’ve had people ask if it would be okay to skip this installment of the series, and my answer is always a big fat NO! You learn about The Wizard’s Rainbow, which is a huge part of the later books. We also see how Roland’s obsession with the Tower begun. I mean if you haven’t been curious of that since the first book, are we reading the same series!? There are so many choices Roland has to make and the mistakes he does make play a crucial role in making him the Gunslinger he becomes. And there are some pretty cool fights so that’s always another good selling point. Bottom line, DON’T SKIP IT!
When it comes down to it, I really can’t say enough good things about this book. The foreshadowing for later events is almost poetic and just perfectly done! King ends the story in a heartbreakingly beautiful way, and the foundation for the rest of the series is set. As we truly begin to know Roland, his past, the kind of choices he makes, and the burdens he must carry, the series really starts to take off. With an interesting string of events that happen after Roland finishes his story, the Gunslinger and his new Ka-Tet find their way back to the path of the Beam, and their journey to the Tower continues.
Artwork by: Michael Whelan