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Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

Wizard and Glass (original 1997; edition 2005)

by Stephen King

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9,315128320 (4.07)1 / 61
Title:Wizard and Glass
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Hodder & Stoughton (2005), Edition: Re-issue, Paperback, 876 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Wizard And Glass by Stephen King (1997)

  1. 30
    A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) by George R. R. Martin (asha.leu)
  2. 20
    Bag of Bones by Stephen King (beckylynn)
    beckylynn: It's not related to the Dark Tower Series, but I think it's kind of written in the same fashion as Wizard and Glass.......and little bit of a romance theme if you will.
  3. 10
    The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Morteana)
  4. 10
    They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  5. 10
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (asha.leu)
  6. 00
    Wolves Of The Calla by Stephen King (sturlington)
  7. 01
    The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (levasssp)
    levasssp: or any of the Dark Tower series...similarities include an ability to travel between different, but closely related, worlds through portals or doors
  8. 14
    The Strain by Guillermo del Toro (kraaivrouw)
  9. 15
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (Booksloth)

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Dark Tower book 4 ( )
  jrthebutler | Apr 4, 2017 |
The fourth instalment of the dark tower series. Firstly, this book at 840 pages long is about 300 pages too much. I feel the editor was having a nap when he reviewed this or just didn’t want to hurt Mr King’s feelings….

The novel starts off where the previous left off with the ‘ka-tet’ aboard Blaine the riddle loving locomotive.

After the journey and the appearance of a ‘thinny’ Roland decides to tell the group some of his past and how he came to be on the track of the dark tower and meets his love Susanne Delgado.

Along the way we meet some of King’s best characters, which include a witch (Rhea of the Coors) accompanied with her snake and 6 legged cat….

At least 300 pages of this massive novel feel like I’ve slipped into a mills and boon story, and was just a lot too… slushy I suppose. That’s why I can only give 4 stars and not 5. But, as with the previous novels, it has left me looking forward to the next instalment. ( )
  Bridgey | Feb 28, 2017 |
You know, sometimes I just want a good yarn, well-told. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
C'è poco da fare... Sono meravigliosi... ( )
  Crissy8686 | Oct 6, 2016 |
Just as when I read The Drawing of the Three and found that my favorite bit was the sideshow, Roland versus the Lobstrosities, in Wizard and Glass I find that the coolest part is in the beginning, in which the ka-tet matches wits against Blaine the Pain, the Suicidal Riddle-philic Capattack Train (we'll call him BPSRCT for short). There's just something about high-stakes riddling, I guess. Also, BPSRCT is quite seriously, and horrifically fun, threatening and torturing its captive/passengers in a way that reminded me very strongly of AM, the over-the-top malevolent computer in Harlan Ellison's short story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

You know BPSRCT would have abracadabra-ed Roland into an immobile blob of flesh if it could have.

I would gladly have read much more of that craziness, but 'twas not to be. Now, I sure have been curious about Roland's backstory, because he's just so capable and mysterious, but I really do have to be careful what I wish for because WOW.

Mostly, the backstory is OK. I am unimpressed with the framing of the narrative -- ostensibly, Roland is telling the story to his companions as they all sit around a campfire, but we get the good old crappy third person omniscient narrator who knows precisely what everyone is thinking and feeling every moment and has to tell us all about it. I wouldn't mind this absurdity so much, except in that King won't allow us to forget it; indeed, seems to delight in rubbing our noses in it, as in an "interlude" exactly halfway through the book, which has Eddie wanting to know how Roland "can know every corner of this story" and Roland's response is a cheap and cheating "I don't think that's what you really want to know, Eddie." Here it's King addressing the reader, basically, and telling her to "let it go, nerd." This ticked me right off, and my constant simmering annoyance at this spoiled my enjoyment of a story that I would probably otherwise like quite a lot.

And the thing is, the thing is... doing this was completely unnecessary. I'm inclined to think that the Dark Tower fans were more than ready, as I was, to get some of Roland's backstory and would have been perfectly happy to just get a straight-up non-sequential novel about Roland's first big adventure, without the hand-waving at framing it as a campfire discussion during which time also just happens conveniently to stretch so that the night is exactly as long as the many, many, many hours it takes for Roland to "tell" his story. Seriously, why bother?

The very cool first 100 pages or so of Wizard and Glass, the BPSRCT joyride through hell, could just as easily have been the very cool first 100 pages or so of Wolves of the Calla, and the rest of the very small amount of overall narrative progress could have been presented in that book, too. At least, I suspect so, not having read Wolves of the Calla yet.

Now, I know the poor souls who were waiting not-quite-GRRM-ian lengths of time for new books might not have been totally pleased to get a non-sequential fourth book for their pains, but then again, they might have appreciated it for having been rendered a better book overall. It's an unanswerable question, possibly, and maybe I don't have any "right" to speculate about it, reading these many years after the fact, with all of them available to me at the same point in time, but as someone who gets annoyed at things like bad narrative framing, my prejudice inclines me to favor this theory.

But enough of my narrative quibbles*, because Roland's backstory, except for all the tiresome teenagers-in-love-and-thinking-sex-is-only-for-them focus, is pretty good, if kind of bloated and slow. Having been manipulated by the forces of evil into earning his guns way too young, Roland and his two best friends get sent to a neighboring Barony to assess what it has to offer the Affiliation (the ragged remnants of civilization in which the boys grew up)'s War Effort, but really just to get them out of harm's way for a while to give them a little more time to grow up. But of course, they uncover dastardly doings as well as forbidden love. We get a trio of Scary Bad Guys, a few Corrupt Politicians (one of whom has made a binding contract with Roland's girlfriend Susan to get to satisfy his Grody Old Man lusts on her Lissome 16-Year-Old Beauty until she is pregnant. He saw her first; Roland is the interloper. But since said politician is a caricature instead of a character, it's all right that Roland steals his girl. Not that I give a damn about any of this. I roll my terrible eyes and gnash my terrible teeth at romances, especially annoying teenage romances, spoiling my quest stories), some Unhappy Aging Women Who Need To Get Laid and, my favorite bit, a Nasty Old Witch who has been engaged to babysit a mysterious sphere that is basically a pink Loc-Nar. Oh, she is awesome. By which I mean ridiculous, ineffective, thwarted, a sacrificial virgin way, way, way past her prime. Which means she is ridiculously entertaining.

And of course there are Roland's boyhood friends, Cuthbert and Alain, long alluded to but never seen until now. It's hard not to be fond of these lads, for all that they are just so overshadowed by Roland; Cuthbert is a big smartass, Alain kind of mystical and gentle, but they are bothmore than up to the task of keeping their friend on track And yes, they are basically stand-ins for Eddie (Cuthbert) and Susannah (Alain). Which leaves Jake as Susan. Um. Best not follow that line of reasoning too closely.

Redeeming all of this for me, at least, is the setting and the season. King's Old West town by the sea brims and shivers with archetypal power as it simmers through the summer and approaches harvest-time, which is celebrated in a ritual-cum-festival called Reaping that combines all of the fun and excitement of a quality county fair of yesteryear (surely King's own childhood) with all of the god-propitiating dread of ancient ceremonies like the burning of the Wicker Man and every fertility rite ever. But of course this particular year, with our three young strangers in town, a pink Loc-Nar in place, and serious war brewing on the frontiers, no one's going to get to enjoy it much this year. The passages concerning this occasion, preparations for it, anticipation of it, hints at its deeper meaning, are the best bits of Wizard and Glass saving the breathless madness of the train ride, and are the ones that remind me most of what I most love Stephen King for -- his short fiction. Ah, me.

Ah, I should have seen it coming, the pink Loc-Nar. King wasn't going to continue to allow his most fascinating creation ever to go on existing in his cussedly tough and independent way forever. At least Roland's promptings from God are more unusual and interesting than the usual message dreams and unexplainable knowledge. As a way for such an amazing character to suddenly gain a life-consuming obsession, it's fair enough, I suppose.

And so onward, if with a bit of a ragged rather than a lusty and excited cheer go I. Because if nothing else, these books are interesting in that they tie so many of King's others together, sort of the way Heinlein wound up stitching his together, and Greenaway his. Roland Deschains is Stephen King's Tulse Luper. And that's sort of cool.

*But maybe not of my grammatical/philological ones. Because folks, 800 pages of faux archaic dialect is annoying enough (as apparently our author knows, as he has one of his characters muttering to himself about how sick of it he is at one point), but the constant appearance of "thee" being used in the vocative case (i.e. as a form of address) and "ye" being used interchangeably with it ("ye" is in fact acceptable when used in the vocative, but it is a plural pronoun) purt'near drove me up the wall, pilgrims. I should, perhaps, count my freaking blessings that at least no early modern English conjugation errors (e.g. mixing up the second person forms like "hast" with third person "hath" like people so often do) accompany these spurious "thees." And yes, King made up this world and maybe the people with which he populated it just are not keen philologists themselves and would sooner shoot me than discuss with me such niceties, but that doesn't mean it isn't irritating as hell to a certain type of reader. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Körber, JoachimÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salminen, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,

Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.

Think first, fight afterwards -- the soldier's art:

One taste of the old time sets all to rights!

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

Robert Browning
Old friend, what are you looking for?
After those many years abroad you come
With images you tended
Under foreign skies
Far away from your own land.
George Seferis

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,

That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops --


O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,

That monthly changes in her circled orb,

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable


What shall I swear by?


Do not swear at all.

Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,

Which is the god of my idolatry,

And I'll believe thee.

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare
On the fourth day, to [Dorothy's] great joy, Oz sent for her, and when she entered the Throne Room, he greeted her pleasantly. "Sit down, my dear. I think I found a way to get you out of this country."

"And back to Kansas?" she asked, eagerly.

"Well, i'm not sure about Kansas," said Oz, "for I haven't the faintest notion which way it lies..."

The Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum
This book is dedicated to Julie Eugley and Marsha DeFilippo. They answer the mail, and most of the mail for the last couple of years has been about Roland of Gilead -- the gunslinger. Basically, Julie and Marsha nagged me back to the word processor. Julie, you nagged the most effectively, so your name comes first.
For Naomi Rachel King
". . . promises to keep."
First words
"ASK ME A RIDDLE," Blaine invited.
Bird and bear and hare and fish, give my love her fondest wish
His heart had been broken. And now all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existance was that broken hearts mended.
This column has
A hole. Can you see
The Queen of the Dead?

George Seferis
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Book description
Gunslinger Series
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451210875, Mass Market Paperback)

Frank Muller, the recognized virtuoso of audiobook narration (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption), takes on Stephen King's Goliath tale of sorcerers, time travelers, and sci-fi love. Totaling more than 27 hours and spanning 18 cassettes, Wizard and Glass requires the listener to love Muller's Hannibal Lecter-like voice--either that or suffer in audio hell for the equivalent of three full working days. While some might find his breathy staccatos irritating at best, others will find his voice the perfect accompaniment to King's creepy characters and nightmarish plots. (Running time: 27 hours, 18 cassettes)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A 700-page fantasy featuring Roland-the-Gunslinger, an adventurer who is seeking the source of life. Fourth in the Dark Tower series, the novel flashes back to the heroic deeds of his youth and his romance with Susan, his great love.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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