Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At last, my review of book seven of this massive series. It has been a year since I started this series. While part of it was having to wait for my coworker to bring in the next book after I would finish one, this series took me a long time to read as well. I have to admit that I had moments where I would want to stop reading, I'm pretty glad I made it through to the end of the series. I wouldn't have been able to handle not knowing what happens to Roland and his ka-tet, whether they make it to the Dark Tower or not. The rose's song must have kept me going...

In any case, this book was the longest installment in the series, and so I was taking notes and reviewing it while I read it so I didn't forget anything I wanted to say. These are the notes I took for each step of the way; I'll add a little more to the end but generally what I said stands.

Part One: The Little Red King- Dan-Tete

This book started off incredibly strong, and I have high hopes that this momentum will carry me through the next 80% of the book. Although I'm a little upset about the Pere Callahan, I'm impressed with the fight sequences, and King's ability to rotate through all the characters' plots without confusing or losing the reader. Three separate story lines, Susannah, Jake and Callahan, and Eddie and Roland, being told simultaneously until they finally converge once again, and it was magnificent. Although let's be honest here, Oy is my favorite character, and I'm really surprised and amused that the billy-bumbler was given a voice in this story (and a bigger role, but I'm not surprised by that, only happy). Reading on...

Part Two: Blue Heaven- Devar-Toi

So, Mordred gets a voice in this book too? I was able to tolerate the idea of vampires in this series, even though I was confused and didn't really understand the point, but now there's a creepy were-spider baby crawling around and I don't like it. Not just because there's a spider involved now, but because this is plot is just getting thrown all over the place now. I really hope it redeems itself, or at least remains as interesting as it is now.
Oh, and I don't really like the fact that King keeps throwing in things that could have happened, or things that will happen. This is hard enough to follow, without so many what ifs and what wills.
Best part of this part so far is that Ted's story is finally over. Can't the ka-tet just fight and save the Tower without all this backstory? It's getting so long-winded and frustrating.

Good quote- "A man who can't bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them."

New decision- I think I'm better served reading action-packed stories with little backstory and plot. Or at least not reading stories chock full of flashbacks and storytelling. The assault of Algul Siento was well done, even if I'm still shocked at the breaking of the ka-tet. Sincerely hoping King was being truthful when he said "when ka-tet breaks, the end always comes quickly", if only because I've been reading this series for a solid year now and I want to see the ending (finally).

Halfway through the book and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it yet. Let's see how the second half goes, and hopefully I'll feel a little more strongly for or against this tale's conclusion.

Part Three: In This Haze of Green and Gold- Ves'-Ka Gan

Waaaarrrggghhh is everyone going to die in this book?! Two of my favorite characters have been killed off now, and there's gonna be hell to pay if it keeps up. And of course King makes himself this friggin important in the story. He's essentially made himself a sorta god, although he claims that ka is forcing his hand to write this story. Lies and slander! This is YOUR story, stop killing everyone off!

That being said, the story is moving much faster, even though there is still plenty of description and detail at every point anyway. Just a little bit left in this series! I'm amazed that I've been reading this for over a year now, but it has been a great ride.

Part Four: The White Lands of Empathica- Dandelo

Same old, same old. I got through this section pretty quickly, since there was a lot happening. And I sincely hope/doubt that there will be any more backstory or lengthy plot additions to this story now. And if Oy dies, I am going to be VERY, very upset. Stop killing all my favorite characters, you bastard!

Part Five: The Scarlet Field of Can'-Ka No Rey

Okay I'm NOT happy. Why couldn't there be a better happy ending than this? And why did King decide to introduce Patrick Danville in the last book of his series, and make him such an important character? Recycling would have been a little easier, both for him and for his readers who had to make sense of all the characters throughout this series.

And seriously, did he HAVE to kill off so many people? I understand Roland having to enter the 
Dark Tower on his own, as he had originally started his journey, but there are other ways to get rid of characters. Send them all back to New York or something. This was tragic and painful, even if there was a sorta happy ending to the story.

All in all I'm pleased with this series, and recommend it to fantasy and adventure fans. Just be warned, it does take a little time, and a lot of patience and understanding at some points. And don't get emotionally attached to the characters if you can. Although I'm sure you will anyway, King is good like that.

So yes, the ending was pretty weak. I feel like King kinda pushed this one out without really thinking it through. Adding more characters, and making them pivotal and all-important, was in bad taste. I just feel like there was such a lack of continuity throughout this book, and the series in general. King did a fairly good job keeping me interested, but I just feel like I've seen more cohesive stories.

And so, my journey to the Tower is at an end.
I have to admit, I'll miss these characters, this ka-tet..

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