Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower Book Four

Even psychotic trains don’t like Dad jokes.

Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in Steven King’s Dark Tower series, picks up immediately following the previous book, The Waste Lands, speeding over the monorail while trying to save themselves from a grisly end when the train reaches Topeka. They emerge victorious when Eddie shows Roland that nonsense can be anything but.

Wizard really starts to meld the worlds of King’s works together, as the Topeka they arrive at is not the Topeka of Eddie, Susannah and Jake’s world. It is the Topeka of The Stand and is bereft of life from the plague within that book.

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It is also a book largely of backstory, as Eddie, Susannah and Jake are treated to the story of how Roland earned his guns and of a long lost love, Susan. King shows his prowess by keeping the story entertaining despite knowing the main character was never in any real danger (although that isn’t true for everyone involved.)

As Roland’s story winds down, the group finds themselves on the Topeka freeway approaching, of all things, the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz. An old nemesis shows up within and leaves Roland the very artifact he had just been telling a tale about. The ka-tet gathers around and gets one final flashback before the book ends, a tragedy of Roland’s past after coming home from his first successful mission.

Overall, Wizard and Glass is a very interesting book, but definitely feels like filler. This was not helped, originally, by the extensive break King took from writing the series (there was six years between Wizard and the next book in the series, Wolves of the Calla.) King uses this book as a world building exercise and gives the readers a deeper sense of who Roland is and what turned him (mostly) into the man he is now. Using this series as a hub to tie all his previous works together really adds a bit of spice to the equation, and it is done well, giving readers a chance to see more of some of their favorite works. So while Wizards is not the strongest book in the series, it is certainly an informative work that needs be read by King and Tower fans.

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