Review of Gwendy’s Final Task by

Earlier this month, I read the first two novellas, Gwendy’s Button Box and Gwendy’s Magic Feather, in the Gwendy trilogy by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. Although I didn’t review them here, I will tell you that I gave them a Goodreads rating of 5 stars each. In the first book, 12-year old Gwendy becomes the keeper of a horrible box that can wipe out a continent with the touch of the button. However, the box also dispenses little bits of chocolate in the shape of animals that are the best things you’ve ever eaten, which give boosts in some manner depending on who eats them, and silver dollars from the 1800s that are worth a lot of money. Gwendy learns hard lessons but also keeps the box from falling into the wrong hands. In the second book, Gwendy is now older and comes to be the handler of the box once again. This time she becomes involved in the mystery of two missing girls in her hometown of Castle Rock. And now for book three.

Gwendy’s Final Task
Stephen King
Richard Chizmar
May 31, 2022
Gallery Books

Blurb: When Gwendy Peterson was twelve, a mysterious stranger named Richard Farris gave her a mysterious box for safekeeping. It offered treats and vintage coins, but it was dangerous. Pushing any of its eight colored buttons promised death and destruction. Years later, the button box reentered Gwendy’s life. A successful novelist and a rising political star, she was once again forced to deal with the temptation the box represented. Now, malignant forces seek to possess the button box, and it is up to Senator Gwendy Peterson to keep it from them at all costs. But where can one hide something from such powerful entities?

In Gwendy’s Final Task, master storytellers Stephen King and Richard Chizmar take us on a journey from Castle Rock to another famous cursed Maine city to the MF-1 space station, where Gwendy must execute a secret mission to save the world. And, maybe, all worlds.

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After reading the first two books in the Gwendy trilogy, I did a bad thing. I read a Goodreads review about Gwendy’s Final Task in which the reviewer was railing against the setting of space. Their argument was so vehement that I suddenly had visions of Gwendy becoming Star Wars Trek Babylon Gallatica Mandalorian, and I was very afraid. No need. I had forgotten to trust Stephen King.

Gwendy is still Gwendy although now it’s 2026 and she is 64 years old. She’s also been charged with the button box one final time, although this time it’s to bring about its demise. Hopefully. The button box is becoming stronger and tests even Gwendy’s seemingly endless vault of strength.

Like the previous two novellas, Gwendy’s Final Task is a quick and engrossing read, one I didn’t want to put down or to end. Also, this one moved me to tears several times. One episode is when young Gwendy in a flashback asks her mother if she believes in God and her mother points to all of the miracles around them and asks how can there not be something powerful enough to make miracles? And the last few scenes just swept me away–you’ll have to read it to find out why.

Gwendy is now in my list of favorite characters. I do wish the books had been longer so that we could have gotten to know her better. In fact, this would be one of those sets of books that I wish Netflix would get ahold of and just give us Gwendy stories reaching beyond what we had on the pages.

Gwendy’s Final Task was clever, wrenching, and beautifully written. I was sorry to read the last words and know I’d never be visiting with Gwendy again.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

ps You don’t have to be a Stephen King fan to enjoy this trilogy although homage is paid to It and The Dark Tower in Gwendy’s Final Task, but you don’t need to have read those to love these books.

Five Butterflies

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