Dark Tower 4: Wizard and Glass

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When reading the series on your own if you choose to, keep three and four close by because they are literally one huge story, Wizard and Glass picks up where the Wastelands cliffhanger ended. Also keep in mind, this is two stories in one, a continuation of our story forward and a another tragic piece in Roland’s enigmatic and tragic history.  Let’s dive into the halfway mark of this epic:

The riddle contest kicks off between our Ka-Tet and Blaine the Mono as he takes them to Topeka. They all take turns trying to stump Blaine but nothing phases him, but he makes a mistake in a comment which gives them all hope he isn’t all knowing. Eddie,having a breakthrough, rationalizes that jokes are a form of riddle in there own right and that’s Blaine’s weakness. They defeat Blaine and land in Topeka…after Captain Trips has hit. They find it a wasteland of wilted corpses and graffiti reading “Beware the Walkin Dude” and “All hail the Crimson King!”. Taveling down the turnpike they come across a huge emerald tower beckoning out to them with a pink light emulating from it. Everyone but Roland finds it’s beautiful, thinking of the Emerald City from Wizard of Oz; Roland tells them the story of the Wizard’s Rainbow and his first mission as aa young Gunslinger and the pain in his heart of Susan Delgado…Roland was sent to the small barony of Mejis with two of his closest friends, Cuthbert and Alian after earning his guns on assignment to make sure the devious Good Man hadn’t taken refuge there (The Good Man would eventually cause the destruction of Roland’s home and many others). On a lonely night he meets a beautiful young maiden named Susan Delgado. Both kids have a secret. Roland and his friends have kept there identities secret; Susan is being given off to the mayor of Mejis as his arranged gilly (pretty much arranged wife/ sex slave) by her bitch of an aunt. The mayor unknowingly hired a group of disgraced Gunslingers called the Big Coffin Hunters to act as his security. Roland’s group and the Hunters come into conflict with them as a plot unravels to bring chaos to the barony. Susan and Roland fall deeply in love, only to end in utter tragedy as she is burned alive while Roland is powerless to watch in the pink ball of the Wizard’s Rainbow, instruments of great magic and great evil. ..Roland and his friends follow the light to find the true Ageless Stranger- Walter in essence. We discover his other names he has used, Randall Flagg, Richard Fannin, Richard Frye, Maerlyn, and Marten Broadcloak to the Gunslinger. They try to shoot him but all of there guns magically jam at the same time. He leaves them with the resurrected Tick Tock Man and a warning to turn around and abandon there pursuit of the Dark Tower. They vote no and keep moving on…

So out of the series this may be my least favorite for one particular reason. The pacing feels off to me. The present parts feel quick as the rest of the general narrative but The past parts are slower, full of plotting and meticulous detail. As a love story it is solid but the tragedy is this book’s winning point. It’s a tragic story on more than one base as we get to see a Roland that wasn’t so worn and besides the death of his love, we see the death of his innocence as well the means to an end for his home and his family. Definitely check this book out but don’t go into it expecting as a quick read like the first three books. May the gaming gods bring you glory and come reap.

Dark Tower 3: the Wastelands

tower3 Ok friends, full disclosure if you have read my other reviews and have previously read the Dark Tower books, I’m giving only general synopsis’s of each book. Every book gets more and more immaculately detailed as they go on; I can’t deliver justice to them the way reading and enjoying them yourself can.  That being said, let us continue the odyssey of Roland and his Ka-tet (group brought together by fate for a purpose) on there way to the Dark Tower.

So again this picks up almost immediately after where the previous installment left off, a few weeks later if I’m not mistaken. Roland has recovered and is training Eddie and Susannah how to be Gunslingers; both are promising. They’ve formed a bond together; Eddie and Susannah are husband and wife; Eddie is clean of heroin and has rediscovered his passion of whittling. While training with Susannah in the woods, Roland hears a noise. Miles away an angry guardian of the Beam awakens, a seventy foot cyborg bear named Mir driven mad by time and maggots eating away at it’s brain. It tears through the forest, knocking trees down like bowling pins, barreling down towards Eddie. Roland and Susannah rush to the rescue. Eddie starts hauling ass up the tallest tree he can find, scared for his life. Roland puts Susannah on his shoulders and tells her its up to her to kill it, to blast it in the tiny radar dish between its ears. She manages it and Mir dies. Roland inspects the beast, revealing a label reading SHARDIK of the LAMERK CORPORATION. Roland explain the tower some more and reveals a secret to his friends; his mind is dividing after the paradox he created by saving Jake from ever dying in the previous installment. Meanwhile, in Jake’s New York, he is suffering from the same fate as Roland. He knows everything that happened in the first book but he knows it didn’t happen but should have. Ka pulls him foreward, bringing him to a book store owned by a man named Tower where he finds a certain two books that will help save his life later and a rose that means everything in a vacant lot. On the Ka-Tet’s side, Eddie is whittling a shape that is meant to be the key to Jake’s door. Jake is led to an old haunted house by a younger version of Eddie; the house transforms into a horrible demon intent on murdering Jake. On the other side they struggle to draw a door in the dirt, fighting a coming rain storm while Detta comes forth to fuck another demon that’s haunting the area. Jake is brought to there side and him and Roland have a touching reunion. Further ahead they come across a billy bumbler (a creature between a roccon and a small dog that can make human like words) that takes a liking to Jake they name Oy. they come to a small seemingly abandoned town across the river from the shell of a once great city called Lud. The town is inhabited by decrepit old people that treat Roland and his friends as honored guests once they see he is the last Gunslinger. The people tell them of the horrors of Lud, the horrible music and the war that broke out between two factions: the Grays and the Pubes. Crossing what’s left of the bridge, Jake gets kidnapped by a diseased freak named Gasher who threatens to blow them all up with a grenade. They have no choice but to let him go. The group splits: Roland and Oy goes after Gasher and Jake, while Eddie and Susannah heads towards the monorail train. Jake is taken through a dark underground maze under the city where the Tick-Tock Man resides with his thugs. Eddie and Susannah have to solve a mathematical puzzle to access the train called Blaine.  Jake, Oy, and Roland wipe out the Tick-Tock Man’s gang and haul ass to the others; The Ageless Stranger of Walter’s prophecy revives the Tick-Tock Man for his service in exchange for safety which won’t be possible in Lud much longer after, while pulling away from the station, Blaine unleashes a massive storage of nerve gas on the city and massacres it’s denizens out of boredom. Blaine is really a network of highly intelligent supercomputers under the city that connect to the Dark Tower and with the decay of the beams holding it up, Blaine began to malfunction and go mad. He ultimately decides to kill himself with our heroes on board, wheras they make a deal for there lives via riddle contest, and book three ends…

I adore the hell out of this particular installment. Great character development and a dark theme of madness spiced throughout. Also I have to say Blaine is my favorite villain in all of Literature so far, he’s insane, sarcastic, creepy, and just plain evil as hell. Definitely tune in next time to see what’s next….and hell yeah read this book.

The Drawing of the Three: Dark Tower 2

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Book two of seven (I don’t count Wind through the Keyhole amongst the original series) of Stephen King’s western fantasy epic picks up right up where the first book left off. Roland is left aged on the beach after his haunting talk with Walter, disoriented in the midst of a night tide. From the tide something comes forth Roland first believes is a rock, but moves closer, revealing a body crustacean like. The Lobstrousity is fast and deadly taking a few of Roland’s toes and two of the fingers off of his best hand. Fighting the tide he tries to blast the creature but his shells are getting wet so the first few shots are duds until he blows it’s ass away, left with nothing but a crap-load of useless bullets and blood poisoning from the creature. He crawls forward dying until he catches sight of a mystery wooden door on the beach. Written on it is the word Prisoner, for which he’d been told about by Walter and the demon that tried to rape Jake. This door leads him into the mind of the first he would have to draw forth in his quest for the Dark Tower: Eddie Dean, a heroin addict from New York City in 1987. Roland is able to help Eddie take down drug lord Enrico Balazarr and bring him into his world after getting some medicine to hold off the poison a bit. Eddie is forced to detox with Roland on there way to the second door, there relationship rocky at best. The second door belongs to The Lady of Shadows, young, educated, legless cival rights activist Odetta Holmes of New York 1964. They quickly understand the danger Odetta brings in the form of her second, violent, savage personality Detta Walker. Eddie begins to have feelings for Odetta and she for him. After a small resurgence in his health, Roland begins to decline again. His last hope lies behind the third door, The Pusher, Jack Mort. Mort is a sick bastard who’s dark deeds have affected the Roland’s group through the years. Mort hit Odetta in the head with a brick when she was a little girl, causing her initial split personality; he pushed Jake in front of the car that originally killed him to bring him to Roland’s world in the first place; he finally pushed Odetta in front of the subway train that severed her legs. Roland uses Mort’s body to steal ammo and medicine, before throwing him in front of the same train that took Odetta’s legs at the same time Detta sees this through the open door. Both of her selves forge into a perfect third, Susannah and the three were drawn and Roland lives.

It’s one of my favorite books and a great sequel. The new characters are truly developed and feel very much like real people. It’s well paced and very trippy. Definitely worth a read and will leave you hungry for the next book.

Night Shift

nightshift Ah Stephen King, the man synonymous with the horror of every 80’s and 90’s kids childhood. I know plenty of King fans that haven’t read a single one of his books because all of the film representations of his work there are. Some are good, some are great, some suck balls, and some are just meh but if you are a hardcore King movie fan and you don’t have the patience to sit down and bust out a 1300 page novel, then Night Shift is the King book for you: a book of very well known short stories, many of which have been turned into movies directly like Graveyard Shift, Sometimes they come back, and Children of the Corn, and some like Quitters Inc., Trucks, and Lawnmower Man have found there way out into the world indirectly. Almost all twenty of these stories I found enjoyable, even a couple genuinely brought on a gasp like Children of the Corn or a low “damn” like the Man who loved flowers. Every story I found well paced and different (because I’ve seen some off short story collections in my day.) So I highly recommend this book for the beginner King fan that doesn’t read much or doesn’t have much time to devote to reading and as always may the gaming gods bring you glory.

The Gunslinger: the Dark Tower

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“The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.” It has to be one of the greatest opening lines to a book ever, simple yet epic. With the movie coming out today, I thought it would be appropriate to cover the book that started it all. Now, to clarify, the movie, though it shares the same title, is not an adaptation of the first book but almost a sequel to the last book.

Book One begins with the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, venturing after a mysterious Man in Black through the deserts of a world that moved on. When we first meet him, he finds a man named Brown living miles away from Tull, the last town the Gunslinger tracked the Man to. At first, Roland is weary of Brown and his raven Zoltan, but decides he isn’t a threat. He tells him the story of his time in Tull. Tull was a small town full of worn people that looked upon Roland with either fear or disdain; he gets in close with Allie who runs the town’s saloon. She tells Roland the Man came weeks before and he resurrected a man from the dead for no reason other than he could. Roland stays with Allie for his time in Tull, trying to see what trap the Man in Black has laid out for him; eventually the trap springs and suddenly the whole town tries to kill The Gunslinger. In one of the best action scenes I’ve ever read, Roland mows down everyone in Tull, including Allie tragically, but all Roland could do is move on. After leaving Brown, Roland is left wandering through the desert, dehydrated and exhausted. He passes out near an old Way Station; Jake Chambers is there when he wakes up, a young boy not of that world. For the rest of the book, Roland and Jake trek through the mountains, where a demon tries to rape Jake. After the demon, they are forced to follow the Man in Black through the perilous mountains, where the Slow Mutants live and where there is no light and a lot of falls. Then Roland is faced with a choice, let Jake die or lose the Man in Black and the Dark Tower forever; “there are other worlds than these” are Jake’s last words before falling into the dark. The finale brings us to Walter, the Man in Black, where he reveals the purpose and future of Roland and the Dark Tower that connects all reality…

So I’m going to say this book inspired me more than I think any other book ever has. Roland Deschain is a strong, stoic, bad ass anti-hero. Walter is a cool villain that at the very end doesn’t feel so much like a villain, which was cool. There is alluring foreshadowing and a non-linear story that really works. I love the setting, that is both dreamlike but has feelings of either the old west or a post apocalypse, which makes our world Jake comes from look alien by comparison. The only downfall I can sight is that there are differences between prints of the book; the older editions are much more vague, solitary, and makes Roland more of a heartless anti-hero. The updated version has more references to the rest of the series, a change in dialect to match the much later stories, and tries to make Roland a little more heroic. I personally like the earlier version myself but it’s a great story either way and definitely deserves to be read and experienced.

Legend Review

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Legend is the first book by David Gemmell in what is known as the Drenai Saga. The story of this book is the drenai are under attack by people from the desert known as the the Nadir. As people gather to defend the wall from attack and await the hero, Druss the Legend. Intermixed with the story of war are many smaller stories about various people manning the wall along with plenty of back story for the world as a whole. You eventually find out that the Nadir are far from evil and actually are victims of many raids by the Drenai as well as other countries and powers. See the story with in this book actually builds for what will become an entire series based around many people and countries and in different time periods within the same world. You can actually read any of the Drenai saga books in any order you want,but I would recommend this one first. As always thanks for reading, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

New Moon

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So the horror continues in the next hair raising adventure of Bella Swan with Twilight’s inevitable sequel, New Moon. Again my friends, full disclaimer, I was 18 years old going through a major emo phase. And oh this book is freaking emo. So this story picks up 6 months after Twilight left off, with Bella turning 18 and anxious about aging because Edward never does. She has a nightmare about becoming her grandma while Edward remained the same. So she mopes through the day, leading to a birthday party for Bella at the Cullen house. A paper cut throws the name into chaos, Jasper goes into a frenzy trying to maul Bella but the family stops him (damn those meddling vampires). Edward feels responsible for vampire shit and putting Bella in danger, breaks up with Bella…after walking her miles into the woods…with no one around for miles…so he could go back to her place take all the shit from her that had anything to do with him (cuz that ain’t messed up at all) and not have to deal with her. So catatonic, she wonders in the dead of night until a buff shirtless Native American dude named Sam found her and brought her back to the search party I’m pretty damn positive Edward didn’t send. Months go by and Bella’s still catatonic, waking up randomly screaming. Bitch has issues. Then to shut her dad up she goes into the city with a friend she doesn’t really give a shit about and puts herself in a situation she may get raped…because she starts to see and hear Edward. Elated by this, Bella finds a couple of crappy motor bikes and goes to buff, dorky, Native American boytoy Jacob Black to fix them. Jacob gets a boner for Bella as they become friends; Bella just wants to trip balls on Edward. They see a bunch of buff shirtless Native American teen boys with Sam cliff jumping and this gives Bella ideas, while Jacob tells her he thinks Sam’s a cult leader. Oh and people are scared of bears, forgot to mention that. So after a night at the movies with Jacob and his whiney Mike got that gets broken up by a stomach virus, Jacob disappears. Weeks later he’s a spitting image of Sam, and this is one of the last times Jacob wears a damn shirt.  So pretty much with no friend to lean on, Bella goes to the meadow her and Edward used to sit and oogle each other at and almost gets mauled by a vampire that tells her James’s pissed off ex girlfriend Victoria wants to kill Bella. When Bella’s about to get mauled, she’s saved by a pack of massive moose sized wolves….ok, so Jacob’s a werewolf. So’s Sam and a bunch of the other shirtless buff kids. Bella still wants Edward though Jacob’s got badass wolf stuff. She jumps off a cliff and almost drowns and Jacob saves her. Alice, Edward’s sister comes back, Edward wants to off himself by letting himself get killed by the Volturi- royal family of super vampires…

New Moon, like the first book has cool ideas laced in it but on a whole it kind of bites. There is more action than the first book but damn does it come off whiney. Bella’s whining about Edward; Edward is whining about missing Bella; Jacob whines he can’t have Bella. Jacob is  sympathetic to a degree but after a while he starts to come off as a jealous dick; Edward really becomes a creeper and a emotionally abusive dick; and Bella flat out uses Jacob’s ass. There is interesting lore and plot threads littered throughout but the focus is on the love triangle of bad people. It’s eh on first read, not the worst Twilight has to offer but dear god don’t watch the movie. But oh my friends, the horror of Bella Swan ain’t finished yet, til next time.