Review: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

Publication Date: November 4, 1997

5 of the most magical stars in the universe!!! Wizard and Glass. Wow, what do I even say about this book? This book is immense, epic and a beautifully told story of love and loss. If you are reading this, you most likely already know that Wizard and Glass is the 4th installment in Stephen King’s epic fantasy series, The Dark Tower. I have been reading this series back-to-back since last Fall and I was most concerned about this one.  At 700 pages it is not a small feat and I had heard that it was very different from the other books in the series.  It certainly was that but in a way that enhanced the storytelling of the series. It is mind-boggling to me that this entire world is the creation of one man’s brain!

In this book we hear an incredible tale of the early life of Roland of Gilead, our main protagonist throughout this series. We learn all about his life shortly after becoming a Gunslinger around age 14 or 15 (I can’t recall exactly what age he is stated to be at this point). He has been sent from home to travel to the Barony of Mejis with two of his closest companions and fellow future Gunslingers, Alain and Cuthbert, in order to keep him safe from the sinister Marten Broadcloak. The boys settle in Hambry under the guise of being ‘counters’ for the Affiliation; there they encounter a ruthless and shady cast of characters such as the Big Coffin Hunters, Mayor Thorin and my favorite witch, Rhea of Coos.

The main storyline involves Roland meeting his true love, Susan Delgado, and their budding and blossoming relationship. The intricacy within this story, within this world, is absolutely stunning. King is the master of character development and this story is no different. While reading this book I truly felt like I could see everything playing out before me like a movie. This book is completely different than the other books in the series, yes, but what a tale. I am absolutely in love with it. Spellbinding from beginning to end, in my opinion, and I feel more attached to Roland now than ever before. Excited to move on with my journey to the Tower!  In fact, I have already begun the 5th book of the series, The Wolves of Calla.

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King is a YA-contemporary novel that takes place in rural Tennessee and is told from the perspective of three main characters: Dill, Lydia and Travis. Our main characters are seniors in high school and the story mostly follows their daily struggles of breaking out of the molds that parents, and others, have set for them, as well as finding out who they are and who they want to become.

This story is incredibly moving and deals with some heavy topics but all told from an overwhelmingly sensitive voice. I was blown away by the quality and style of Jeff Zentner’s writing – this book made me feel so much – it awoke my soul and brought forth every emotion you could possibly imagine. Not only did I laugh out loud but I also cried, real tears, just flowing forth like my heart were breaking – now that is good writing!

I would recommend this story to anyone. I am not a big contemporary reader so was really surprised by how much this book sucked me in. Finally, it is important to note that I listened to the audiobook of this which had three different narrators for the three main characters – it was a fantastically seamless production!

Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Happy Saturday bookish loves!  Today I finally feel ready to discuss NOS4A2. I finished NOS4A2, by Joe Hill, almost a week ago and still do not think that I have a truly cogent way of explaining my love for this book. However, one of my 2018 book goals is to review every book I finish so here we go….
This book was so unique, so dark and amusing, so full of references to King works, so replete with character and world development, I find myself still pondering it days after completion. Halfway through I ordered a copy for my sister and had it sent to her because I just needed to share this with someone. This book tests the line between the world around us and the world we create with our minds.
Our villain, Charles Talent Manx (the III, I believe), is a vampire of sorts and so devilishly charming that he almost fooled me into developing a soft spot for him. He was all kinds of evil and powerful and wonderfully creative.
Next comes Victoria McQueen – Vic is our heroine. She was powerful in her own right – using her powers to ‘find’ things that had been lost – losing a little of herself every time she used her gift. The loving, yet apprehensive mother of Bruce Wayne Carmody, Vic’s strength (both mental and physical) are pushed to the limits numerous times during the story, all on account of Manx. Unfortunately, her little Wayne feels the pull of Christmasland and we watch his soul go on one hell of a dangerous ride!
Then we have our minor characters, who were so well drawn and complete – my favorites, Maggie & Lou, were so important to this story and in my opinion, two of the most likable people in the action. Both misfits, they were real, engaging, loyal and brave.
This book is long, really long, but worth the ride if you put in the time. I may read it again next year around Christmas – making it a sort of tradition. After all, once you go to Christmasland, you never want to leave!

Review: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill is another one of my 5-star reads from this year.  I finished up with this one in September and was once again blown away by Hill’s talent. I had previously read his novel, Horns, which has since been turned into a movie starring Harry Potter…..I mean, Daniel Radcliffe. For those of you who have never heard of Hill, he is the richly talented son of my favorite writer, Stephen King. Is writing genetic? Possibly.

In this one, we meet Judas Coyne, an aging rock star who has a penchant for younger women and collecting obscure, macabre items. This odd hobby (the item collection, not the younger women) brings him to buy a dead man’s suit and thus it begins – a gritty ghost story that grabs you from the very first chapter. I could not put this one down once I started. Joe Hill is such a fantastic writer – he writes with such persuasion and conviction that you find yourself believing what the narrator is telling you, no matter how dark. You can dive right into this one and never look up if you allow yourself. This was so creative and fast-paced and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

As a side note, I am currently reading Hill’s novel, NOS4A2 (which is a wonderful Christmas time read), and it is proving to be my favorite of his works thus far!!  If you like dark, you have to read Hill!