Wow!!! But before I get into the real review, I must discuss my 2015. Feel free to skip ahead but you’ll miss out on the ride.
I decided to read the Dark Tower series last year. I set my ambitions high and planned to read the entire DT universe and all books that tied in to the series. I counted 27 of those books and I thought that I would have a very Stephen King year. I was not a fan of Stephen King before, not in the pejorative sense, but I was unfamiliar with his work as a whole. I read the Green Mile in high school and I liked it fine but I didn’t set out to devour his books afterward. I read the Gunslinger during my last deployment and I really liked it. I was looking for a large series to read and my mother-in-law bought all seven ebooks for me for Christmas that year. I think it was 2012. Then, I got busy and didn’t feel like committing to a large series. I moved to a different base the next year and a good friend said I would really like the entire DT series. Then another friend from my local bar said it was her favorite book series. I decided then that 2015 would be the year of King.
I re-read the Gunslinger on New Year’s Day. I finished the Drawing of the Three the next week. Then I jumped right into the Stand. The Stand nearly killed my hopes of finishing the series. I liked it a lot but it was sooooo long and, at times, painfully slow! Also, my wife had our first child which really slows down the reading progress. I listened to Eye of the Dragon narrated by Bronson Pinchot and it was OUTSTANDING! Seriously, go listen to it right now. The Stand though, took me months. It was a little slow and I had a colicky baby so reading ground to nearly a halt. I didn’t finish it until June. I listened to the next two DT books, the Waste Lands followed by Wizard and Glass, which were read by the incomparable Frank Muller. I really loved the story but I only listen to audiobooks while driving to and from work. As my commute is 20 minutes each way, it takes a long time to listen to 1000 page books. This is the only time you will ever hear someone complain about a short commute. Then I took a little break. This was the point where the list I followed suggested to read a lot of the books that included references to the Dark Tower. I hemmed and hawed because I wanted to finish the series in 2015 and I did not think that I could if I read the entire DT catalog. After consulting with my work friend, I decided to stick with just the main series.
I read Wolves of Calla pretty quickly but I was really enjoying the narrative and the storytelling so I didn’t read as quickly as I normally do. I dragged my feet a little while reading Song of Susannah. It was not my favorite of the series but King says that he envisions the entire series as one giant book and as such, I think it is excellent. It sets up everything for the finale – the Dark Tower. Book 7. The End of the story and the Ka-tet. That is where we are now.
I LOVED this book. It broke my heart. It nearly reduced me to tears on several occasions. I love that King breaks the fourth wall. This is his journey as well as ours. My friend told me his reaction to the ending was “Hmmm. That seems right.” It is better than that. Reading these books is a journey. King knows that and he is terrified to disappoint, telling, no, commanding readers to turn away. I have never taken so long to read a series of this length but I am glad that I did. I never wanted it to end. I think that my own journey to read the series mirrors the series. I’m excited to start over again with Roland for the man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.