- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340832266
- ISBN-13: 978-0340832264
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 17.9 x 5.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 458 g
- Average Customer Review: 1,683 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,279,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass v. 4 Paperback – 1997
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Wizard and Glass, the fourth episode in King's white-hot Dark Tower series, is a sci-fi/fantasy novel that contains a post-apocalyptic Western love story twice as long. It begins with the series' star, world-weary Roland, and his world-hopping posse (an ex-junkie, a child, a plucky woman in a wheelchair, and a talking dog-like pet named Oy the Bumbler) trapped aboard a runaway train. The train is a psychotic multiple personality that intends to commit suicide with them at 800 m.p.h.--unless Roland and pals can outwit it in a riddling contest.
It's a great race, for the mind and pulse. Movies should be this good. Then comes a 567-page flashback about Roland at age 14. It's a well-marbled but meaty tale. Roland and two teen homies must rescue his first love from the dirty old drooling mayor of a post-apocalyptic cowboy town, thwart a civil war by blowing up oil tanks, and seize an all-seeing crystal ball from Rhea, a vampire witch. The love scenes are startlingly prominent and earthier than most romance novels (they kiss until blood trickles from her lip).
After an epic battle ending in a box canyon to end all box canyons, we're back with grizzled, grown-up Roland and the train-wreck survivors in a parallel world: Kansas in 1986, after a plague. The finale is a weird fantasy takeoff on The Wizard of Oz Some readers will feel that the latest novel in King's most ambitious series has too many pages--almost 800--but few will deny it's a page-turner. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
From Library Journal
Frank Muller's reading of King's fourth book in a projected seven-part series (e.g., The Waste Lands: The Dark Tower, Bk. 3, Audio Reviews LJ 2/15/92) is effective in creating a suspenseful and fearful atmosphere. We find Roland, the knight errant/gunslinger, continuing his quest to attain the Dark Tower, the source of destructive forces in his Mid-World. A major portion of this work is a recounting by Roland of his ill-fated love affair with Susan Delgado. The writing is expectedly imaginative, the story line engrossing, and the characters vivid. The listener is carried along through alternating Western, urban, and futuristic settings. The work stands on its own, incorporating a summary of Books 1-3, but will be better appreciated if listened to as part of the whole. Recommended for sf/fantasy collections and Stephen King fans.?Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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I'm late for this party. But as I mentioned in my reviews for The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, though I've had Stephen King's The Dark Tower installments patiently awaiting my attention for years, I wanted to wait till the series was done before starting to read The Gunslinger.
The first two volumes were more or less set-up books for what would come after. Hence, I was quite curious to discover what would transpire in The Waste Lands. Most fans seem to agree that the third and fourth volumes are the best of the series, so I was looking forward to finding out where King would take us.
Here's the blurb:
Roland continues his quest for the Dark Tower, but he is no longer alone. He has trained Eddie and Susannah—who entered Mid-World from their separate whens in New York City in The Drawing of the Three—in the old ways of the gunslingers. But their ka-tet is not yet complete. Another must be drawn from New York into Mid-World, someone who has been there before, a boy who has died not once but twice, and yet still lives. The ka-tet, four who are bound together by fate, must travel far in this novel encountering not only the poisonous waste lands and the ravaged city of Lud that lies beyond, but also the rage of a train that might be their only means of escape.
Up until this point, the worldbuilding had not been a factor in the Dark Tower series. This universe reminiscent of America's Wild West had captivated me in The Gunslinger. Sadly, Stephen King had played his cards pretty close to his chest, and readers had learned next to nothing about the series' universe. In terms of worldbuilding, The Waste Lands is a world away from its two predecessors. To begin with, the novel finally establishes the physics by which the world operates. Six beams run between twelve portals which mark the edges of Mid-World. Standing at the point where the beams cross at the center of the universe lies the Dark Tower. Hints seem to indicate that the Dark Tower might lie at the center of all worlds. We also learn more about the twelve Guardians set to guard the twelve Portals. Each Guardian matches up with a Guardian at the Portal on the other end of the Beam. Roland, Eddie, and Susannah face one of the Guardians in the early part of the novel. They encounter a gigantic cyborg bear known as Shardik. The beast was created by North Central Positronics Ltd. As Roland and his party make their way along the Path of the Beam, passing through River Crossing on their way to the city of Lud, readers learn more and more details. These discoveries raise a panoply of additional questions, yet they demonstrate that the Dark Tower universe resounds with an incredible wealth of depth.
The first portion of the book is dedicated to the drawing of the true third in their ka-tet, Jake Chambers. But in order for this drawing to become a reality, Roland and Jake must first battle their own fraying psyches and achieve some sort of reconciliation between their doubled memories concerning the paradoxical events which led to Jake's death. The second portion chronicles the events that lead the ka-tet toward the city of Lud, searching for a train known as Blaine the Mono. This is the sole means of transportation which can take them to Topeka, where Mid-World ends and End-World begins.
As a no-nonsense kind of Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead immediately became a fan favorite. Though both The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three featured an interesting supporting cast, the books' main focus more or less remained on Roland. What differentiates The Waste Lands from its predecessors is that the secondary characters really come into their own and take their rightful place in the narrative. Although the series continues to be about Roland's quest for the Dark Tower, it is now evident that Eddie, Susannah, and Jake will play important roles in what is to come.
It is also in The Waste Lands that a number of connections with Stephen King's other novels are unveiled. References to The Stand and It are hidden within the narrative.
Unlike the second volume in the series, The Waste Lands doesn't suffer from an uneven rhythm. The pace keeps you turning those pages, eager to discover what happens next. The plot keeps moving forward, revealing layer after layer regarding those convoluted storylines.
Onward to the Dark Tower. . .
Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist!
Twenty something Ben Richards is living with his wife and baby girl in a ramshackle housing development in dire poverty. He is at the end of his rope. His wife is turning tricks to keep them barely alive, and their baby girl is dying from the flu for lack of proper medical care and medication. Theirs is truly miserable existence.
The only entertainment for those such as them is Free-Vee, which delivers non-stop reality television shows in which desperate wretches try to win big monetary payoffs. Desperate for money to be able to help his little girl, Ben auditions for a reality television show and is selected for the ultimate life or death reality show, where the truly desperate are hunted down by a group called the "Hunters", whose only mission is to kill their quarry. The payoff is big, should one succeed in evading death, but no one ever has.
Such is the desperation of Ben Richards that he would even consider signing on for such a show. Unfortunately for him, he soon realizes that there is a reason no one has ever succeeded in evading the "Hunters" and decides that it is time that someone changes the status quo. That someone will be him, as he turns the show on its head.
The book is definitely bleak in its outlook and pretty depressing. There is virtually no character development of anyone other than the protagonist, and even there that is somewhat limited. This book was supposedly written in three days by the author, and it shows in the quality of the writing.
Still, the story line was intriguing, and certainly the author was onto something, as who knew in 1982 that reality shows would have such a hold on the public, as they do today? It is simply too bad that the story, as written, has little emotional grip on the reader, rendering it somewhat less than satisfying. Nonetheless, fans of the author will find some enjoyment in this somewhat mediocre book. A word to the wise, do not read the author's intro "The Importance of Being Bachman" until after you have read the book, if you want to avoid knowing how "The Running Man" ends before you read the book.
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