Gwendy’s Magic Feather: Richard Chizmar
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I honestly wasn’t sure if I was ever going to read this when it was first announced, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that. It wasn’t a negative towards Mr. Chizmar, who has always been very kind to me, and it wasn’t a negative towards the book itself.
It was more about the continuation of a story that was missing the other author. I know that sounds weird, but it was how I felt.
I really enjoyed Gwendy’s Button Box when it came out. Richard and Stephen did a wonderful job of creating a story together that had all of the elements that I look for when reading these days.
So, why did I end up deciding to read it? Two reasons. One just as ridiculous as not wanting to read it and the other was an internal push. First – I have all of Mr. King’s books in Hardcover. When this was announced as book two of the trilogy, I still held off, as I wasn’t sure if book three would just be a Chizmar book with King’s blessing again. When Richard announced that King was involved in book three, I realized it would be a bit odd to have books one and three sitting on my shelf but not book two. The second reason was that internal push. I wanted to know for myself if Richard could do justice to the town of Castle Rock.
What I liked: Book two picks up a number of years later. We quickly learn all about how Gwendy arrived where she is in life, working as a Congresswoman. On Christmas break, she returns to Castle Rock, where she finds out that some girls have gone missing.
Chizmar does a really great job of reintroducing Gwendy as well as seamlessly returning to the original world. Of course, while Gwendy is trying to decompress and offer assistance to the Sheriff, the mysterious button box returns.
I loved the tempo of this book. Quick, succinct chapters that moved the story along and helped push the emotions that really control most of this story.
The extra characters add a new layer to the Castle Rock world and I’m sure there are a ton of easter eggs hidden throughout. I say ‘I’m sure’ because even though I’m a massive King fan, I often forget characters in his books that I read a decade ago and haven’t caught up on reading his most recent releases.
What I didn’t like: The actual action aspect of this story is over and done with really quickly at the end. It didn’t feel rushed but it also didn’t feel like it was all that necessary to the global aspect of the story. I’d almost have preferred the story focus on Gwendy’s husband’s return or her mom’s illness than having that plotline of the girls.
Why you should buy this: I’m going to say this for those on the fence – this isn’t glorified fan fiction. Far from it. King’s fingers are all over this, so if that’s a reason to keep you from taking the plunge, it’s time to put that to bed.
This is a book that holds up really well to the start of the trilogy and offers a really nice middle chapter to the series. Chizmar has done a bang-up job of continuing Gwendy’s story and I’m so happy I decided to read this. I think it’s a book that’ll surprise those people who still haven’t made the effort to read it and I’m now, personally, excited to see how this series is closed out.
Gwendy’s Magic Feather
Something evil has swept into the small Maine town of Castle Rock on the heels of the latest winter storm. Sheriff Norris Ridgewick and his team are desperately searching for two missing girls, but time is running out to bring them home alive.
In Washington D.C., thirty-seven-year-old Gwendy Peterson couldn’t be more different from the self-conscious teenaged girl who once spent a summer running up Castle Rock’s Suicide Stairs. That same summer, she was entrusted – or some might say cursed – with the extraordinary button box by a mysterious stranger in a black suit. The seductive and powerful box offered Gwendy small gifts in exchange for its care until the stranger eventually returned, promising Gwendy she’d never see the box again.
Gwendy has never told a soul about the button box – not even her husband. But one day the button box shows up without warning and without the man in the black suit to explain what she is supposed to do with it. The curious reappearance of the box, along with the troubling disappearances in Castle Rock, leads Gwendy home again…where she just might be able to help rescue the missing girls and stop a dangerous man before he does something too terrible to contemplate…
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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