Book Review: 4 Treasure Boxes
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
Publisher: Penguin Putnam (2003), EBook: 672 pages, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-1758-2
Roland and gang continue on their dangerous quest for the Dark Tower in a world that is shutting down. This book picks up where the Waste Lands ended off and it quickly resolves the cliff-hanger. Then the book focuses primarily on Roland’s back story, just after he first became a Gunslinger and why he started on the quest for the Dark Tower.
This is the fourth book in the Dark Tower series, there are currently a total of seven books, and Stephen King announced in 2009 that he is currently working on the eighth book, The Wind Through the Keyhole which will be released at some point in the future. Stephen King is primarily known as a horror author, but this book does not fall into that genre. Instead it is in the fantasy genre and sometimes considered a western. The story is told with a third person narrative and focuses primarily on Roland Deschain of Gilead. Although at times it is also told from the other characters who have joined Roland on his quest to find and heal the Dark Tower. They are all Gunslingers and his fellow questees are Eddie Dean of New York (from 1987) and his wife Susanna Dean of New York (from 1964) as well as their adopted son, Jake Chambers of New York (from 1977). The Dark Tower is at the centre of the universe and connects all the varying worlds and time-lines together. These books take place in a post-apocalyptic world where things are running down and time has become weird.
First, Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy (Jake’s intelligent, taking pet) all are on the crazy, sentient train known as Blaine, who has threatened to kill itself and the gang unless they can give it a riddle that it can not solve. So far Blaine knows all the riddles that Roland knows (and he knows a lot) as well as all the riddles in Jake’s book. They are close to the end of line going 800 miles an hour. If Blaine is not stopped soon, they all will die.
The crazy train has now transported the gang many miles across the wasteland and when they arrive at their destination they are no longer in Roland’s Mid-World and no longer on the path of the beam. Instead they have arrived in a deserted version of Topeka, Kansas in 1980, but it is not Eddie, Jake and Susannah’s world. Close by is a Thinny, this is a thinning of the fabric of reality between worlds and it is a very dangerous thing. This Thinny reminds Roland of his past and is the catalyst for him telling his story. The majority of the book is a recounting of Roland’s beginning and gives us a good insight into his enigmatic character.
We learn a lot about what happened to Roland and his boyhood friends when they were 14. This was just after Roland became the youngest gunslinger. There is also a love story between Roland and his first and only love, Susan. This story of Roland’s past takes place a few years before the fall of Gilead, which was the beginning of the end. The world had already started moving on but now time became weird, which is why it is now 1,000 years after the fall of Gilead and Roland is still searching for the tower. It also explained how and why Roland started to search for the Tower.
Stephen King is phenomenal in his writing style and he delivers very well, and I say thank-ee (as they say in Mid-World.) The story is very interesting and very intriguing. This book is intrical in the development of the story as it outlines where the story is going and why. It does a great job in showing Roland’s character development. We really come to understand and love Roland after this tale. This book also completed all the story-lines it was following in this book and brought them all to a satisifying conclusion, although it is still clearly part of a larger story.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, but please read the prior books first as this book is not really a stand-alone book. If you enjoy reading fantasy/science fiction books then you will definitely enjoy this book since it has a bit of both within it.