The Dark Tower is the pentacle of Stephen King’s magnum opus, and I’ve been terrified to get to it. King isn’t known for nailing his landings, and this one is especially controversial. I was afraid that, after reading 8,781 pages, or 3,951,408 words, on my long road to the Tower, I would be left feeling woefully disappointed, and as if I had wasted my time. I’m here to tell you that, thankfully, that isn’t the case. After reading the final pages of The Dark Tower I can safely say that this is my favorite completed series of all time. I’ve never read anything else like it. The only series that I think will eventually surpass it is Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives, but it will be well over a decade before that is completed. In the meantime, The Dark Tower stands alone among completed series for me. As it should.
“The road and the tale have both been long, would you not say so? The trip has been long and the cost has been high… but no great thing was ever attained easily. A long tale, like a tall Tower, must be built a stone at a time.”
There will be some vague spoilers here, though I’ll not mention any name save Roland’s. I simply don’t know how else to discuss a final book in a series so large. Skip to the end or turn back now if you wish to go into or continue this series knowing as little as possible. …
Song of Susannah is the penultimate installment in King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower. And though I still wouldn’t consider it a bad book by any means, I do believe it’s the weakest in the series since The Gunslinger. That being said, I still very much enjoyed my time in this world and with these characters. I was absorbed the entire time, and the tension was palpable. Even when King isn’t at his best, there’s something about his writing that just sucks me in and won’t let me go, even after I’ve read the final pages.
“In the Land of Memory the time is always Now.
In the Kingdom of Ago, the clocks tick… but their hands never move.
There is an Unfound Door
and memory is the key which opens it.”
When I first read The Gunslinger, I wasn’t a fan. But I was determined to get past that first book, because I know King views The Dark Tower as his magnum opus and I really wanted to at least try to read that. Then I got to The Drawing of the Three and fell in love it. I couldn’t help but think that it would be the highlight of the entire series for me, but then I read The Wastelands. And Wizard and Glass. And The Wind Through the Keyhole. And I’ve loved them all just as much. Wolves of the Calla was no exception. I would have never thought that a western-horror-fantasy would become one of my favorite series of all time, and yet here we are. If King doesn’t drop the ball in the last two books, this will have quite possibly been the most epic literary experience of my life.…
“The stories we hear in childhood are the ones we remember all our lives.”
The Wind Through the Keyhole is a story within a story within yet another story. It’s a Russian nesting doll of a book of the highest class. No, the highest caliber is a more fitting description, I suppose, for this gunslinger’s fairytale. I loved it in the same way I loved The Eyes of the Dragon, but perhaps even more fervently. Actually, I did something I don’t recall ever doing before; I left a bookmark right at the beginning of the fairytale portion when I re-shelved the book, so I could flip it open and read just that section whenever I choose.
“Sometimes I feel the world has come loose of its moorings.”
“It has,” I said. “But what comes loose can be tied tight again…”
Outlawed is an alternate history in which a Great Flu wiped out 9/10ths of the U.S. population, the country fell apart, and now a woman who can’t pop out babies to rebuild that population is branded a witch and hanged. As a barren woman myself, this premise hit incredibly close to home for me. I loved seeing how all of these women dealt with such superstition and blatant inequality.
“People cry witchcraft whenever they don’t understand something.”
The Dark Tower has completely captured my heart and mind. I feel as though I am part of the gunslinger’s ka-tet, making the trek right along with them. And so far, it’s one of the most fulfilling literary journeys I’ve ever embarked upon.Wizard and Glass did nothing but reinforce that feeling.
“And now, all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existence was that broken hearts mended.”
And the award for creepiest train in all of literature goes to…
“Don’t ask me silly questions
I won’t play silly games
I’m just a simple choo choo train
And I’ll always be the same.
I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.”
Stephen King has had a place among my favorite authors for 3 or 4 years now. But over the span of this book and its predecessor, The Drawing of the Three, he’s edging remarkably close to becoming not just one of my favorite authors, but my hands down favorite. Right now he’s in a three-way tie with Brandon Sanderson and Nora Roberts, but Wizard and Glass might actually change that if it holds a candle to The Waste Lands. I’ve heard that the back half of the Dark Tower series pales a bit in comparison to the first 4 books, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but this is shaping up to be my favorite series of all time. …
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
So begins what Stephen King considers his magnum opus, The Dark Tower. The line above is among the most well known opening lines in modern literature, and it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the short novel. This first installment, The Gunslinger, is the only book in the series I’ve read before, and I knew I needed a refresher before I dove any deeper into The Dark Tower. While The Gunslinger isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, with areas that drag and a last quarter that goes too hazily ephemeral to maintain an emotional connection, it’s a fun and very original introduction into what I’ve heard is an incredibly powerful and unique series. …