Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Upon re-reading this novel, I feel like I have become Susan Delgado, trapped behind the glass. Mayhap I'm banging my hands against the walls of the thinny, mayhap I'm rustlin with some of the timbers just whispering to a spark.
I love and hate this book.
The first time I read it when it came out, I was like... GREAT! We get to see what happens to Blaine and the Ka-Tet! How far do they get to the Tower before all turns to Ka-Ka? After 500 pages, I knew. After 700, I despaired. After 1,850 pages, I just wanted to click my heels and go the f*** home. Is this an end? Is this a GOOD end? I leave that determination up to all you good folk on the outer edges of Mid-World.
Me, however, I DID NOT like what I did for the Dark Tower. A little bit, yes. Some parts were fantastic and necessary and a real wooo-wooo moment for fans of SK in general. But let's just say you probably should start out a big honker of a tale like this at the BEGINNING of a big honker of a bigger tale. Instead, we have 10% story progression and 90% flashback.
Don't get me wrong, however! The 14-year-old Roland and his youthful Ka-Tet is a great story all on its own, ushering forth a doomed romance, gunslinging, magic, a LoTR Palantir, and enough WWII machinery to burn away Mid-World. This is the time before the World Has Moved On and the conflagration that set this choo-choo a-humping.
For itself, the tale might have been better at the very beginning, or better yet, spread throughout the first book of the DT, giving us a back-and-forth of young-man Roland and Terminator Roland as he hunts down the Man in Black. Yes, the first book would be huge, but at least things would be in their proper places.
As for Roland's later Ka-Tet? Sure, we could have another campfire story, but it would be a LOT shorter and we wouldn't have to rely on the Thinny to spread a week's tale into a single night. And also that... thing... that Baum thing... wouldn't feel like such a fizzled bomb.
Good, fun writing, all told, never boring, but the structure of this... well... I think Stephen King forgot the face of his father.
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