So the main reason why this gets four stars is that it is too freaking long. I love the King, but this needed to either be edited back, or broken out into two parts. The other reason why I gave this four stars is that the stupid speaking demon thing pops up again and yes I still loathe that whole thing and what it means for our Susannah Dean. I think the ka-tet grew stronger together in this story and you can see now for all of them, there is nothing else but the Tower.
So "Wizard and Glass" finds out band of gunslingers (and Oy) on Blaine the train and trying to figure out how to out-riddle the crazy train before he crashes and takes all of them with them. No spoilers, but I loved how King ended this whole thing and how our Eddie steps up and shows how good he really is.
From there though we have Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy realize that they are no longer on the Path of the Beam and seem to be in a Kansas that is familiar to Constant Readers (The Stand) but not to them. This is one of many Easter Eggs that King drops in his Dark Tower series that he does not follow up on in the end. Yeah, can't wait to get to the last book because I will have the biggest epic rant ever in my review about this. I also didn't really like the idea of Marten who we heard about, being the one and same big bad we heard about now only in "The Stand" but also in "The Eyes of the Dragon" and some may remember that characters from that book which I wish that King would revisit one day.
So one of the reasons why this was and still is one of my favorite "Dark Tower" books is that we get to see Roland as a young man who was in love. Your heart breaks for him since we readers already know that the story he has to tell his ka-tet isn't going to be a happily ever after. I felt like King did a good job of letting us see that Roland does love his friends now and loved his friends before, but was stuck with impossible choices.
Eddie is the next character that King did a great job developing I thought. Susannah and Jake are here, but to me, they were not as developed as Roland and Eddie.
And from there we also focus the most on Susan (Roland's first and only love) and his first ka-tet, Alain, and Cuthbert. After Roland gets his guns and is told to leave the kingdom so that he doesn't end up killed, the three friends go to the Barony of Mejis. While there we get to see how good the three friends really were in their youth. I can see why Roland misses them still. And Susan kicked all kinds of ass and I feel sad that we don't get to see her in later books in this series.
So the writing was very good. King does a great job with building everything up, but have to say yes the flow was up and down and the book was too long. This bad boy is 1,041 pages (kindle version) and I stopped paying attention to the percentage marks since it was making me a little loopy that I would read for an hour and I only read around 3 pages (exaggerating, but not by much).
The setting of the book is of course in a different setting than the ka-tet is used to. They are off the Path of the Beam in a Kansas that is familiar, but not familiar and realize that not all of them come from the same world. I think it was implied before, but now it's really said out loud. And then of course we have most of the book focusing on Roland after he is given his guns and forced to go to Mejis.
The ending makes me happy because we know that our ka-tet is not going to stop and for all of them, the Tower is their focus.