Picking up where The Wastelands left off, the Wizard and Glass takes us back to the ka-tet's excruciating marathon riddle session with Blaine the Mono. Shortly thereafter, Eddie, Suzannah and Jake are told a crucial story of Roland's youth during his formative years as a young gunslinger.
This was a really hard one to rate. While I loved the first three books, this one abandons the story that King has been building up since the beginning in favor of a long, drawn out back story. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy Roland's tale of travel with Alain and Cuthbert, it just felt a little bloated at times, leaving me pining for more of Eddie, Jake and Suzannah.
I felt like a lot probably could've been cut out or condensed. For example, Susan's arguments with her Aunt were well written but I could've done with less of them. It felt like they were screaming at each other during every other chapter.
There were however, a lot of awesome scenes written - the brutal battle near the book's climax for one. For someone who has a knack for writing thrillers and horror novels, King has a striking talent for crafting brutal action scenes right out of a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie. While not as intense as the Battle of Tull (and how could it be?), it stands alone as an example of just how destructive and deadly Roland can be.
I settled on three stars because while I enjoyed the majority of it, I couldn't get passed the fact that it felt padded. Like Dan said over in his review
, the Wizard of Oz stuff really felt unnecessary. For King to spend so much time on Roland's youth only to jump into something that felt disconnected from everything else was jarring to say the least.
I certainly will not wait as long as I previously did to pick up the next one. From what I've heard, the final 3 books are full of awesomeness. Might as well stay on the path of the beam while the story is still fresh in my head.*** Oh, and I have to give points to King for bringing the ka-tet into the world created by Captain Trips. I believe I had read something before that foretold the groups journey into this universe but I had forgotten about it by the time they arrived. I couldn't have been happier!