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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, Book 4)

Wizard and Glass  - Stephen King, Dave McKean The agreed-upon definition for the phrase "jumped the shark" these days seems to be: "TV show/book series I used to really, really like is now stupid and I am mad." Like, "Man, How I Met Your Mother has really jumped the shark, hasn't it?" (Yes, yes it has). That's not quite the original meaning, which was more like, the series did something outlandish, proving that the writer(s) are grasping for ideas and moving increasingly away from the product you knew and loved. Like, "Man, Happy Days became more and more about Fonzie being cool until they literally had him jumping over a shark on water skis."My favorite definition, though, is a creative peak you can point to and say, man, it really was all downhill from there. My best example of this is the end of season three of Lost; "We have to go back!" is possibly one of the greatest moments of television ever, and though some very strong stuff followed, the show never hit those highs again, and finally fizzled out entirely, ending on a deflating and profoundly disappointing note.My next best example, though, is the beginning of this book, the halfway mark of The Dark Tower series. The end of the third book is the most frustrating cliffhanger I have ever been exposed to, leaving all of the heros literally suspended in mid-air in a life-or-death situation. Compounding the frustration is the fact that I read book three when I was about ten and the next book wasn't released for something like six more years. Do you remember how slow kid-time moves? It is really, really slow.So, I don't even like this book. I think it is the worst in the series, 400 pages of redundant and unnecessary backstory that provided almost no forward momentum in the overarching plot. I was so disenchanted with it that even after waiting for it for years, I couldn't finish it, and in fact didn't, for like six more years, until the next book finally came out. But: the first 200 or so pages are my favorite part of the series, and the resolution to the book three cliffhanger is one of my favorite literary sequences ever.So, if you need a reminder or are just reading this because you looooove me, book three ends with Roland and his ka-tet fleeing the collapsing city of Lud within the bowels of Blaine The Totally Insane Talking Train, my favorite crazy villain of all time. Blaine has agreed to carry the group to the end of the line, but he tells them he's only going to slow down and actually let them out if they can stump him in a riddling contest. Otherwise, he'll just derail at the end, because hey, it's not like he wasn't going to off himself anyway.That's it. That's how book three ended: with Blaine saying, "LET THE CONTEST BEGIN." (Blaine talks in all caps, btw). And the first section of Wizard & Glass offers the perfect payoff to that moment, a 100-or-so- page "action sequence" that includes nothing but verbal sparring between our heroes and a crazy computer. I loved, loved, loved it. Still do.And though I like a lot of what came after, the series never topped that moment again, never even really approached it, if you ask me. It became something different -- less focused, more sprawling and convoluted -- especially after Sai King's near-fatal car accident. On the plus side, at least I can look back on the whole shebang and say, nah, it never topped the riddling contest, but at least it provided a good ride to the ending, and hey, it's not like we found out that fully half of the last book was basically an elaborate dream sequence that served no purpose whatsoever and by the way, none of the stuff that happened in all the earlier books served any real purpose either." Fuck you, Lost!Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene.