Wizard and Glass by Stephen King is the fourth book in the Dark Tower series. If you’ve read up to this point, then you should be familiar with Roland and his band of ka-tet in finding the mysterious dark tower in some far away place. After reading Wizard and Glass, I still have no idea why. All I know is that they are suppose to get there but what they are suppose to do or accomplish I have no clue as a reader. This is the main problem I have with this series. Since the main protagonist in the series is Roland, it is expected that the author spend some time telling the story of his mysterious past and how it is he came to be Roland the Gunslinger. I just didn’t expect the story to be that long and boring. Literally, Roland’s love story takes about 600+ pages to complete out of this 728 page book. The problem is that its not a very interesting one. It definitely has its moments but it just felt way to dragged out. And I mean it unnecessarily dragged on and on and on.
The book starts off literally right after the cliff hanger ending that was in The Waste Lands with Roland and his crew riding within Blaine the Mono. The book got off to a great start and I couldn’t wait for them to continue on their adventure to getting closer to the dark tower. However, things took an expected turn soon enough and I now find myself reading about Roland’s mysterious past. I thought this was no big deal as it was still very early in the book but boy was I wrong! Jake, Susannah and Eddie are very curious about what made Roland the Roland he is today and for that to happen, he needs to tell them his story from when he was just a boy of fourteen years old and of his adventures in a western barony called Mejis.
The writing from King is brilliant as always. However, I have to keep reminding myself that just because a book is big in size and written by a brilliant author does not automatically warrant it a pass. With Wizard and Glass, you’ll read about the story of Roland along with his two close friends, Alain and Cuthbert in Mejis. Here, Roland falls in love with a girl named Susan Delgado. However, it turns out that loving Susan has a big impact on Roland’s life and not in a good way at that. Throughout the entire time spent here in Mejis, you’ll read about Roland’s secret love affair with Susan while coincidentally uncovering a bigger plot that has a much bigger impact to the world than just Mejis itself. The problem here is that although a whole lot of pages were spent telling the story, I had the feeling that not much has happened upon completion of the book! The author just rambles on and on. The characters of Jonas, Reynolds and Depape does offer a break from having to read about where Roland and Susan will meet up for their next secret love making session. Quite honestly, Susan is a bore of a character. She’s not boring enough to make me skip her parts in the story but enough so that I really don’t care about her. In fact, I find Rhea of the Coos much more interesting than Susan if you can believe that. At least she has a “unique” personality. While there are obviously some gripping moments in the book dealing with Roland’s crew with Jonas’s, those were far and between and not worth reading 700+ pages for it.
Up to this point, I’m sure many readers must have been dying to read about Roland’s past. What it boils down to is a teenage boy loving a girl he shouldn’t have loved in the first place and of a horrible event that happened to his mother. Yes I know, it’s more than just that but I honestly didn’t expect it to take up almost 90% of this huge tome of a book. I felt that this story of Roland’s past shouldn’t have been included in the main series but rather as a prequel of some sort instead. Right now, I have no choice but to continue on with the Dark Tower series because I’ve already invested too much time on it to call it quits now. I really don’t see how there is so much praise for this book. I believe if it was any other author, he/she would have gotten slammed. But once again, King’s writing comes to the rescue. That much I can’t deny. He was born to write.
What I am hoping for in the next book is that the author brings Roland and his crew closer to the dark tower. At the very least, give us readers something to cling on to. Now I understand that in order to go from point A to point C, characters go through a journey of point B. In the Dark Tower series, it feels like the characters need to go from point A to point F and that whole stretch from B to E is what I’m reading now. However, the worst part is that I don’t even know why they are going to point F in the first place! I really hope that the author makes this more clear in the next book. While there are some indications towards the end of the book talking about this dark tower, it’s just not enough in my opinion to grip me and force me to continue reading.