This won’t be so much of a book review as it will be a review of how this series has interested me for many years.
I have begun again. The journey of Roland and his companions across the desert, the forest, other worlds, and other dimensions. I began reading Stephen King back in High School. Some of his work did little to stir my curiosity. “Carrie,” “Christine,” “Firestarter.” Some of his work still fascinates me in it’s complexity. The Dark Tower books 1 and 2 had been out for a while, and in 1992 “The Waste Lands” came out. In a fever I read “The Gunslinger” and “The Drawing of the Three.” I walked right into a trap. First, I was hooked. I wanted more. Second, the third book was a huge cliff hanger. Not a “We’ll see what Roland gets into next week.” or “Stay tuned for the next exciting adventure!” but a plot that twisted and wrapped you up so that you were with Roland traveling into the unknown. Would we crash? Would we be forced into a terrible position? Who knew? “When is the next book coming out?” “He doesn’t know! What do you mean HE DOESN’T KNOW?!”
I cooled my energy by reading “The Stand.” This 1300 pager is not for the big print faint of heart. It’s a great long read. I read it twice. After this I kept up with some of King’s other work. “Dolores Claiborne,” “Needful Things,” etc. I then grew tired of his newer stuff and moved on.
Then in 1997 “Wizards & Glass” came to print. “Did you know there is a new Dark Tower book out!” My remaining High School friends shouted to me on the phone. “Yes… I know…” I sighed. I asked for it for Christmas that year, or my birthday if I remember. I never read it. I mean, I was going to get around to it. I really wanted to re-read the first 3 books. Then hit book four fresh, with vigor! Never happened.
“Wolves of the Calla” was released in 2003. I again heard from my friends about another “Dark Tower” book. I wasn’t going to let him suck me in again. Be a slave to his time table. If you read the after word of the first three books it’s a downer. To quote: “I believe that I probably owe readers who have come this far with me some sort of synopsis of what is to come, since I’ll almost surely die before completing the entire novel… or epic… or whatever you’d call it.” King is lucky he didn’t die after being hit by a drunk driver while walking in his home town. I have yet to purchase this book.
“The last two Dark Tower books are out…” My friend Brian exclaimed softly. “Last two? LAST TWO?” I shouted. “Yeah, one in June and the final book in September.” “Yeah – but I’ve had the ‘last two’ Dark Tower books for over 6 years now. Is it really the end? THE LAST TWO BOOKS??” “Yeah, check it out…” Brian brought me to thedarktower.net. It seems to be true.
I’ve been wrapped up in a Terry Pratchet Discworld adventure and was ready for something a little more serious, a bit more dark. I began reading “The Gunslinger – Dark Tower I” again. What can I say? Well, first off my reading comprehension and vocabulary have done a lot since 1991. I know I completely missed “The Oracle” the first time around. I’m a lot sharper and smarter to remember the names and faces of people you chance encounter in the first book. A whole new meaning and depth has surrounded the story in my mind, besides the fact that I last read this book over ten years ago.
The second book: “The Drawing of the Three” starts off as a major downer. Plus I think that King needed to explain a lot of the stuff that happened in “The Gunslinger” to set the stage for the other books. It makes the first book read like a poem. From what I remember it took me a while to read it. I struggled through it just looking forward to that new fresh paperback that was sitting on my nightstand. I hope that the second time around it will change for me.
The third book: “The Wastelands” had me. It had me all the way. I hope it can carry that energy into 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Interesting side note: When I read the series back in High School I would do so listening to a band called Nirvana, the album called “Nevermind.” It seemed to be the only CD I owned that I could listen to and read at the same time. This has created a side-effect that, when I hear a tune from Cobain on the radio I am almost instantly transported in my mind to The Wastelands, Tull, or the ruined city.
who likes all our pretty songs
and he likes to sing along
and he likes to shoot his gun
but he don’t know what it means…
It almost doesn’t seem to be a coincidence to me anymore…
Check out Stephen Kings offical Dark Tower site at: stephenking.com