Maybe it’s no “Call me Ishmael,” but the above sentence starts the beginning of an epic journey (for once, the term “epic,” applied appropriately, and not uttered from the mouth of an emo teenage dirtbag,) the tale of Roland of Deschain’s journey towards the Dark Tower.
I wouldn’t say the aptly named first book/novella, The Gunslinger, was my favorite of the seven (now eight) Dark Tower series. In fact, I have a hard time separating the novels in my mind, let alone choosing a favorite. This series transported me in the way any good novel should, but through the series, I also developed a deep attachment to most of the characters, including the non-human ones (Oy! Oy!)
As an added bonus, King’s magnum opus included both oblique and more obvious references to at least a dozen of his other former novels, such as The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon, as well as some of his short stories (Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual.) Some of the references are small, almost name drops, while others manage to reintroduce interesting characters from previous novels. You get answers to questions, and back-story to characters and events that you never knew existed. While the length of the series may seem daunting at first, by the last page you’re mourning the end of the story and wishing there was more. A story that effects you emotionally and whose characters you come to love is not as common as you might think, but that is what the Dark Tower series represents for me, everything that is good about reading!
I’ve read the first five books of the series, and largely enjoyed them. Book III has been the low point so far. I’ve caught some of the references to other books (Eyes of the Dragon and Eluria don’t count!), particularly the Stand and Salem’s Lot.
I think four was one of my least favorites… and yet, it still intrigues me. I guess the star-crossed love story thing kind of bothers me…
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I have the feeling the Stephen King never quite knew how to end the series. By the last book, it felt like he had become so burnt out by it (and his post-crash recovery) that he just rushed through the final two-thirds of the book.
Having said that, I liked the cosmic and literary joke he plays on everyone.
I hope I haven’t spoiled anything.
And I only mention all of this because I loved the damned series, too.
You may be right about him being burnt out…but I hope not, cuz that would be a sad way to end such an epic tale! I was sad to see it end…but then again…it never really “ended,” so much as started over again. (*cryptic statement? CHECK!) Thanks for taking time to read this too! 😉