Another reread from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I think this is the best of the whole series (which means it’s a bit of a shame getting to it, knowing it marks the height as far as I am concerned. It will be interested if the pull I felt to complete the narrative initially is still here, now I’ve gotten this far).
More than anything, this book delivers on the promise of the Gunslinger in a way that none of the others do. That book is cryptic, it’s built on both fantasy and western tropes, and so when we get through the next two books, there’s still a compelling and interesting narrative happening, but some of that mystery is gone. Here, I think we gain so much more of it again. The first part of the book closes out the story from The Wastelands, where we last found our gang (fine, ka-tet) feeding riddles into an AI train losing its mind. Once we get a chance to settle down a bit, Roland is overcome with a need to share a long story from his youth, the story that set him on the path for The Dark Tower, and more importantly, a story from his fallen world that is filled with the same kind of fallen wonder of the first book.
This long story is about how he and his friends Alene and Cuthbert, recently anointed gunslinger (and gunslinger apprentices) are sent on a scouting mission to spy on a rebel uprising. While there, they become embroiled in local intrigue and Roland becomes embroiled with a local girl. Using the same kind of skill he’s shown many times before, Stephen King dives headlong back into a book about adolescence.