Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Then I'll light the darkness with thoughts of those I love.

I haven't posted on the last few books of the Dark Tower series because I kind of felt combining them in one review would be more efficient and wouldn't take anything away from them. I have finally finished them all, so now here are my final thoughts.

Taking on the task of reading the Dark Tower series is almost an epic undertaking as the story itself: the series spans 7 books and thousands of pages. However, in the end I'd say it's definitely worth it. I'm sure Stephen King's stuff doesn't quite pass muster for true literature buffs, but for the amateur fiction reader his work, and especially this series, is quite enjoyable. As I've probably said before, the tale follows Roland, the last true gunslinger in all of the worlds (for there are other worlds than these) as he searches for the Dark Tower, the center and linchpin of all the worlds. The tower and the beams that hold it up are under attack by the Crimson King (a recurring villain in many of King's other works) and Roland and his ka-tet must try to prevent him from tearing it down, which would basically end existence. Though I wasn't 100% satisfied with the story the entire time, in the end I was very satisfied. Unfortunately there's not a lot more for me to say because I don't want to give anything away, but if you want to discuss the series with me away from the eyes of those who haven't read it, feel free.


Brent Waggoner said...

I read this series a couple years ago. I mostly really enjoyed it, except for Song of Susannah, which I actually thought was pretty awful.

I really liked the ending and


I also like the idea that the poem at the end, about Roland, is the telling of the final journey he takes to the Tower. I don't know for sure that that's supported by the text, but I still think it's a neat idea.

I also really like Wolves of the Calla except I thought Doctor Doom and Harry Potter were pretty jarring references.

My favorite book is Wizard and Glass, which I know a lot of DT readers hate, but I think it's some of the best writing King has ever done. The end is pretty gut-wrenching.

I'd love to discuss it but it's been so long since I read it, I'm not sure I'd have much to add. i enjoyed it though, and it reads really quickly, considering its length.

Brent Waggoner said...

Also, I'm shamelessly linking my DT review here:

Tom R said...

Shameless? You want shameless...

G.R.R. Fotley said...

I have to concur that Wizard and Glass is the best DT novel. I would also concur its the best Stephen King novel. I'd go so far as to say the entire DT series is only worth reading because of the Wizard and Glass.

billy said...

(spoilers ahead)

i disagree that it's only worth reading for wizard and the glass, though i do think that is the best of the novels. randy (aka grr fotley) and i have talked about this already, but i really wish he had written the story of the fall of gilead and the triumph of john farson, plus the battle of jericho hill. i think that would have been a great book.

i had mixed feelings about the very end. at first i wanted to stop after roland enters the tower and susannah meets jake and eddie in the alternate new york and they all live happily ever after (where king says that the story should end and that you're a terrible person/have sex wrong if you read on). i liked not knowing what happened to roland when he finally got to the tower. i felt like that wasn't necessarily for us to know; it was roland's alone. (and practically speaking i wasn't sure there was any way to tell what lay in the dark tower in a way that would be at all satisfying after 7 books worth of build up). at randy's urging, however, i went ahead and finished it. at first i was pissed and thought it was a cop out that the tower was just a loop and that he was starting over again from book 1, but after some reflection and consideration that the presence of the horn of eld might signify that this last trip would break the cycle (again lending support to my contention that king should have written a book about the fall of gilead), i decided i liked it. however, my only change would be that i would have started the series with that scene, as we went through the door at the top of the tower, so that we were reading the last trip through the cycle instead of the second to last. (the only problem with that, though, would be that it would destroy the gloriousness of the first line ("the man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed") of the gunslinger and the symmetry between the first and last line of the series, which i rather enjoyed

Brent Waggoner said...

I don't know if you read comics, but I'm fairly certain that King wrote the story of the Fall of Gilead in the first run of the Dark Tower comics.