Sunday, September 5, 2010
#28 The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
After finishing book four, it feels like a million miles ago that I started the book. In fact, I actually had to look back and see where it started. It picks up where the last one ended, the group (Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy) hurtling towards death on the psycho train. The psycho train that wants riddles. I remember at the end of book three I was practically dying to find out what happened on the train. By the end of four I barely even recalled it happening. I don’t know, exactly, what this says about the book. Maybe that the train ended up being anti-climactic?
When the group embarks on their journey again you find that they are in a different reality…this one…is the reality in which The Stand occurs. You don’t really find this out until way later, near the end of the book in fact, when a dream is discussed, “‘The old woman from the dreams is in Nebraska. Her name is Abagail.’” he paused. “Then, down here, it says, ’The dark man is in the west. Maybe Vegas.’“ I understand that the main bad guy of Roland’s time is the same main bad guy here, but I’m beginning to question the intent. Why combine the characters? Why not individual distinct ones? Anyway, the group begins their journey again and then Roland tells him a story from his past.
I both dreaded, and looked forward to this. I looked forward to it because I was genuinely interested in Roland’s past…how he became who he is. We were already given the tale of him becoming a gunslinger, but we never really got to hear about his friends, or his love. This is the tale we are given. The friends first expedition in being gunslingers, and the love of Roland’s life. I dreaded it because exactly what I thought would happen…happened. It took away from the main narrative, the main focus of the books. So far it has been about building the group, the bonding between them, and their path to the dark tower. Suddenly we are ripped from this group and thrust into an entirely new situation. What happens? We lose interest in the main narrative. Now we are forced to join an entirely different group.
In the story of his past we are taken to a town. The boys (Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain) are given a meaningless task of cataloging for the alliance (the good guys). Soon they uncover a plot of a devious nature. This is mainly the story within the story…the main focus is Roland’s love affair with Susan. It is here that King gets to practice the art of a pedophile. I’ve mentioned this a hundred times, that he has some weird desire to write about youth sex. Roland is 14...Susan is 16. Yet he writes about them fucking like rabbits. The problem lies in the fact that Susan is promised to the Mayor of the quaint little town…who has paid for her virginity…and likes to hump her to orgasm through her clothes. Of course the real problem is an expelled gunslinger and his men…helping out the Flagg of Roland’s world. I won’t get into too much detail…because…well…the story itself is actually kind of boring, yet interesting, at the same time. He also gives entirely too much away through foreshadowing. Just when you become invested in a character, he lets something spill that tells you what is going to happen to that character. Its not very subtle either. Nothing is illusive here, he slaps you in the fucking face with it.
Something else happened when I finished Wizard and Glass, I lost my interest to keep reading. Through the first three books I constantly wanted to know what happened next. Now I kind of fit in a “meh” category. The other three finished on high notes…this one kind of landed with a thud. I’ll pick up the next book, but I’m not in a hurry.