Once upon a time, I read Wizard and Glass for the very first time, and thought that there could never be a greater book in the world. I was swept up in the world of Mejis and horses and Roland and Susan and the Big Coffin Hunters. I didn’t mind being apart from Eddie and Jake and Susannah (and Oy!) for such a long time, because this story was EPIC! It was romantic and tragic and IMPORTANT to the plot of the overall series. I wanted more and hated leaving young Roland and his friends when the story was over.
I just finished listening to Wizard and Glass, and I think this was my fourth time though this book (I reviewed it for CBR4 and see that my sentiments are eerily similar). And I mostly find myself wishing it were different. I was annoyed that we were yanked away from Eddie, Oy, et al, for so many hundreds of pages. I just wanted to get back on the path of the beam and get moving to the Callas in the next book. Yes, we get a look at how the events of Roland’s youth shape the man that he becomes, and that’s of great value to us constant readers. And I’m glad we get some insight into his friendships with Alain and Cuthbert, his OG Ka-Tet. But I really just needed to move on.
Don’t get me wrong, its still a great book. In between descriptions of counting nets and dead snakes, there were plenty of amazing scenes, like Roland’s trip into the world of the pink ball* (which reminded me an awful lot of Stuttering Bill’s meeting with the Turtle in IT) and the events leading up to the big finale in Eyebolt Canyon.
And the writing is gorgeous. Who would have thunk that Uncle Stevie could slip something like this into a book about glorified cowboys on an epic quest?
So do we pass the ghosts that haunt us later in our lives; they sit undramatically by the roadside like poor beggars, and we see them only from the corners of our eyes, if we see them at all. The idea that they have been waiting there for us rarely if ever crosses our minds. Yet they do wait, and when we have passed, they gather up their bundles of memory and fall in behind, treading in our footsteps and catching up, little by little.
It just isn’t my favorite anymore. Maybe because I know what’s coming in the next installments and I just need to get there? I don’t know.
But as much as I complain about what we do get in this book, there’s plenty in this one that I almost wish we knew more about.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Instead of pages and pages about Susan’s lovely hair or the places where they met to have sex, how about more about:
*Maerlyn’s Rainbow. We know what the pink ball does, and SPOILER we find out more about the black one from Pere Callhahan, but I’d love to know about the other 11 balls. What powers did they have and what happened to them?
*Eldred’s origin. While we spend pages and pages in the past, why not tell us how Jonas got from being a boy sent West to becoming a hired gun for John Farson’s people?
*Sheemie. SPOILER I know we find out what happened to him eventually, and that the comics tell about his journey to Gilead, but what about everything else? He’s a fascinating character, and I’d like to know more about how things go for him in Gilead.
I’ve already started listening to The Wind Through the Keyhole, so it won’t be long until I get back on the path, slowly heading toward Thunderclap and the Tower.
*SPOILER Let’s talk about that vision in the grapefruit for a minute. I literally gasped out loud when I heard the part about the bumbler impaled on the tree. That was almost too much for me to take.
3 1/2 stars