It was during a random trip to the book store I happened to see this book being displayed prominently. I had no idea Gwendy’s Button Box had a sequel. When did this come out? You can imagine my excitement and I immediately bought it on an impulse.
I wish I could have waited for a while.
There are two things to know about this book:
- It is NOT written/ co-written by Stephen King but written entirely by Richard Chizmar.
- However, Stephen King does write aa foreword, so some redemption there!
- The sequel isn’t all that amazing.
- It is also imperative to have read the first book because the sequel does refer back to it several times in the book and you may feel cheated or left out if you haven’t read the first book.
- The sequel is also a lengthier book, 328 pages, which can be read quickly as chapters are short.
This time we have Gwendy in her thirties (she was twelve in the first book). For about the first 15O pages, we are told of Gwendy’s life and her many accomplishments. There are flashbacks to her past experiences of encontering the Man in Black, receiving the Button Box and her experience of pushing the buttons. However, when we have 150 pages of detailing her accomplishments in life, it gets boring and the novelty wears off quick.
However, there is another incident that sparks the interest in the reader. In Castle Rock, two girls are missing and our other main character Sheriff Norris Ridgewick comes into the scene to resolve tge mystery. In the meantime, Gwendy receives the button box mysteriously, and this time there are no instructions on what to do with the box. Oh yes, there is something about the feather as well which has magic properties.
Gwendy finds herself return back to Castle Rocks where her path is intertwined with the Sheriff’s. Are the missing girls recovered? Is the serial killer caught? Does Gwendy do anything with the box? Is she responsible for the missing girls in any way? And why don’t we have the Man in Black appear in this book?
This book was wholly disappointing to me for several reasons.
- It is not written by King. Chizmar is able to evoke the small town Castle Rock with it’s characters, but that’s about it. It doesn’t have the bravado that King has with his words.
- Serial killer element felt a little off– that’s not a villain King would come up, but then again, King didn’t write this book.
- Gwendy does nothing with the box. It’s just there the whole time. She looks at it but then puts it away. Each time I felt she would do something with it, but she doesn’t. Too many anti-climaxes are frustrating.
- The ending– too neatly wrapped up. All the burning questions are answered, but for everything to be hunky dory and perfectly fine asks a lot from the readers to grasp and believe.
Ultimately, this book also deals with the whole concept of power, responsibilities and conflict. But it’s just not handled as well as Stephen King could. The two stars are for the drawings and for allowing us to revisit Gwendy, who is a great character to explore.