The Dark Tower by Stephen King


Rate: 3/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers): My journey through The Dark Tower series has finally come to an end. I have delayed for almost two weeks writing this review due to my conflicted feelings regarding this concluding installment.  The Dark Tower started off action packed as the events that had been taking place at the end of the Song of Susannah picking back up full steam. However, rather quickly the pace reversed with King spending what felt like the majority of this book making the connections and tying up lose ends. With that being said, from an analytical perspective, the tying together of the remaining plot holes was quite satisfying, albeit it was done so in a way that caused this final novel to have the feel of moving pawns instead of big plays leading up to an action filled climax. Of course eventually our ka-tet finally made their way in the direction of the tower, although the same level of intensity that was lost during the lull was never quite recaptured. I’ll have to admit, King was back to his old antics with heart wrenching deaths resulting in tears a plenty. As someone that loves her happy endings, I find myself still mulling over the final few scenes.  While I won’t give away spoilers here, King toyed with what appeared to be a relatively contented ending and turned it on its weary head.  Overall, as a fan of many of King’s other works I’m thankful I went on this journey with him to The Dark Tower.  This series as a whole was a work of art as it drew forth so many conflicted emotions from the reader, ranging from annoyance at the inaugural The Gunslinger to edge of your seat suspense in Wizard and Glass. Due to King linking all of his novels to this overarching series, the reader can’t help but feel nostalgia when coming across familiar names encountered in previous reads, which simultaneously mingles with pride for identifying the glaring Easter Egg. So, while I’m giving The Dark Tower series as a whole a glowing recommendation, I know I will be pondering that controversial ending for the near future.


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • In the end we see Roland starting his journey over again from the beginning line in The Gunslinger.  How many times has he repeated this journey? If he begins from The Gunslinger does that mean his youth cannot change?
  • When Susannah met back up with Eddie and Jake I couldn’t help but think that this was too happy for a King’s ending.
  • I have yet to read King’s Insomnia so I was left at a bit of a disadvantage when Patrick Danville was introduced.
  • I thought rather like cheating when Patrick just erased the Crimson King from the story. This was the ultimate evil that the story had been building to and there was no real ending battle scene or conflict.
  • Mordred’s death was another one that had been built up and been talked about over and over and over again.  However when the end came I had to reread that section again to make sure Roland had really dispatched of his offspring.
  • The side of saving King was interesting and definitely suspenseful but felt such a distraction from the end goal of reaching the tower.  No wonder his creations hated him so much.  Poor Jake.
  • Ted Brautigan was another character I missed out on the backstory due to never reading Hearts in Atlantis.  Alas the reading list grows ever longer.
  • We finally saw the death of Randall Flagg and was it ever gruesome.

 

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21 comments

  1. Such a great series. It’s a real rollercoaster read. Some incredible highs and a few low points. I had similar feelings about the final book. I loved it for the most part but the end was hugely disappointing. Still, it’s my favourite series of all time, nothing comes close. I’ve never been so invested in a group of characters as I was with Roland and his Ka-tet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I find myself now randomly using the word ka-tet and I have to explain it every time. I really enjoyed the series as a whole but I can’t bring myself to rank it as one of the best. Overall it sounds like we had similar experiences reading The Dark Tower!

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  2. I adored this final installment when I read it last year, which surprised me (endings are always a little tricky). I think Susannah’s happy ending works because it signifies to me what Roland did wrong; he couldn’t let go of his obsession. Even after the Crimson King is rendered inert and the Beams are saved from destruction he HAS to see what’s in the Tower, which ultimately shows all that the journey cost him and forces him to try again. I think he is meant to turn away and seek happiness elsewhere, but has thus far failed to do so

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  3. I enjoyed the first few but gave up around Wolves of Calla if I remember correctly. Felt like he lost the threat and went all weird and nonsensical. Especially with writing himself in. King just can’t write endings so this isn’t surprising.

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  4. Loved your review. I have reblogged this on my blog. My daughter is a huge King fan and I want her to see this review. I have read a lot of his books and will tell you that when I read them I like them better than when I have used an audiobook. For some reason, I find that some authors lose something in audio and Stephen King is one who does for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog Wanada! I do agree that the narrator can make or break a book from an audiobook standpoint. I do prefer to actually read books but my new commute is killing my free reading time. Unfortunately I’m stuck with audiobooks for the foreseeable future.

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  5. Reblogged this on Wanda's Reviews and commented:
    I am sharing this review for all of the Stephen King fans. I read this series quite a while ago before I started this review blog. I agree with this review so much that I thought I would share this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, as you know, the ending of this series is pretty much the most disappointing thing I’ve ever experienced in my decades of reading. I loved The Gunslinger and looked forward to every book in this series. Particularly at the beginning, with a new book coming out years after the last one, every time a book came out, I went back to the start and read it all over again. I loved these stories … but with each book, I think the weight of the thing began to wear on King.

    And the ending … I feel like he took the easy way out with all of the connections to his other stories, inserting himself into the story, and then making it clear that is all just a figment of the author’s imagination, and that it is a mountain that keeps getting climbed. Yeah, no duh, every piece of fiction is a figment of the author’s imagination, but we readers want an end, a resolution, and not to be slapped in the face with the idea that the author is manipulating the reader. Which is ultimately how I felt as the story ended. I was manipulated by King. By his ego. By his laziness. By … I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve seen some of the same characteristics in other books he has written in the last 15 years. 11/22/63, for instance, ties into earlier stories and characters, which is evidence of his laziness to me.

    That all said … there is an interesting element to how this story ends. It could really be a very deep exploration and analysis of the mountains authors climb, over and over and over again, as they write their fiction. That could be something that is really interesting. But King isn’t capable of that kind of depth. This was just a ploy, a lazy, manipulative ploy he used to be able to bring the whole thing to an end.

    That’s my two cents worth. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. omg the ending of this whole series, the final final ending…. you know the one…. it was perfect. I couldn’t believe it. It was so frustrating, but so perfect.

    Can we PLEASE nerd out on the whole series!? I read it, LOVED IT, and would love to talk in depth about it.

    Also what is this easter egg you’re talking about? I think I know what it is, but I don’t want to do any spoilers in the comments here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve wanted to read more King lately, I loved Salem’s Lot and The Shining, and I’ll definitely have to check out this series! It can be so strange reviewing a book that you liked, but also didn’t like in other ways, certainly I’m interested to read them for myself now!

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