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July 2009
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Dark Tower series – Not so good (IMHO) Kindle books at a glance

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

First I would like to state that this post constitutes my humble opinion and nothing more. You may consider it wrong, it may be wrong, I respect Stephen King fans so lets not get personal about it. This post may also contain what some may consider spoilers although in very general sense. No plot details are revealed here. However if you are someone like me it can save you quite a bit of time…

I’ve started reading the Dark Tower series even before I got my Kindle 2, read it for a while when I got my Kindle DX and then quit after reading around 70% of the Wolves Of Calla. I actually stared hating Stephen King passionately around the end of The Waste Lands… and here’s why: as he himself admits in the introduction he set out to write an epic “and in some ways (at least in size) he succeeded” but at a cost: at first The Dark Tower series books are very fascinating read because the world described is so self-contradicting that you can’t help to wonder how is he going to pull it all together in the end. But as the books progress contradictions only increase but what is more frustrating is that there are still a lot of interesting and fascinating parts that are buried in completely boring passages or outright retelling (sometimes to the point of copy-paste) of events already described. This becomes even more agonizing as you wonder more and more about how is it going to come together in the end but also as you try go though increasingly lengthy boring stuff as you try to get the interesting parts. For me there was just barely enough of the later to keep me from giving up on the book altogether. That’s what made it so agonizing.

So recently as I was reading though Wolves Of Calla, my wife asked me what I’m reading about currently. As I mustered all my “Uhm”s, “Well”s and “You know”s I’ve realized that I have nothing of interest to say about probably last 100 pages that I’ve read and this was the point when I said – enough is enough. I turned off my Kindle, turned on my notebook and went to wikipedia (god bless it) to find out how does it actually end. Ok, now here comes pseudo-spoiler: at the end it doesn’t all come together and become clear and whole picture – it becomes much bigger self-contradicting mess than you can imagine. I sighed with relief as I’ve realized that I’ve saved myself dozens of hours worth of reading Song Of Susannah and The Dark Tower.

Don’t get me wrong – these books aren’t the worst literature that I’ve read in my lifetime however I don’t think that mr. King’s desire to “outwrite” J.R.R.Tolkien justifies all the suffering he inflicted on humble readers like me. If I were to choose one book of the 7 book series that I were to recommend to someone to read, I’d choose Wizard and Glass. My second choise would probably be The Drawing of The Three with first part of The Wastelands added.

5 comments to Dark Tower series – Not so good (IMHO) Kindle books at a glance

  • Ha! I’ve often found Stephen King’s work to be like this (I haven’t read the tower series.) He writes in a compelling manner…but by the end, I felt…that it didn’t really make a lot of sense.

    Good review.

  • Kent

    Likewise, what follows is my humble opinion:

    I have read the entire series and found it fascinating. I think that Stephen King is a wonderful writer and this series is one of his finest achievements. He developed not only a whole new world but a lot of new language and word use as well. I found this new world to be very engrossing (not boring). I really don’t think you are doing anyone a favor by warning them off from experiencing this world for themselves and allowing them to make their own decisions about it.

    As an aside, if you are a regular reader of King you will find many of his obscure references in some of his other works refer to this series.

    I suggest that people not avoid this series just because it is long. I think it is definitely worth the journey…..the whole journey!

  • elservo

    When I recommend the Dark Tower series to friends, I always tell them to get through the tough slog of the Wolves of the Calla. It’s well worth getting through that one because books 6 and 7 are fantastic. Wolves of the Calla took a long time to go nowhere, but Stephen doesn’t have that problem in the next couple of books. You should give Song of Susannah a try before you totally write off the story.

  • Christi

    The dark tower is my favorite series of all time! Writing a review about a series that you didn’t Finnish is like not going to Europe because the flight is too long. The dark tower series is bar non Stephen kings best most imaginative work and if you enjoy reading king at all you should give it a shot. You are doing people a disservice by writing a review that you admittedly know nothing about. 983 You looked up the End on wikipedia? Are you kidding me? Who does that? Of course you were confused. You read a few paragraphs that tried to sum up nearly 2000 pages of material. I’ve got an idea next you can read war and peace on Wikipedia and then write a review about that!

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Christi,

    Both of us are entitled to our opinions. I realize that there are people who can and will enjoy the series (hence “IMHO” in the title) but I don’t think your criticism is justified. You don’t need to eat the dish that you don’t like to the end to know that you don’t like it.

    Here’s from horse’s own mouth:

    “Dark Tower, Volumes One through Seven, really comprise a single tale, and the first four volumes run to just over two thousand pages in paperback. The final three volumes run another twenty-five hundred in manuscript. I’m not trying to imply here that length has anything whatsoever to do with quality; I’m just saying that I wanted to write an epic, and in some ways, I succeeded. If you were to ask me why I wanted to do that, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s a part of growing up American: build the tallest, dig the deepest, write the longest. And that head-scratching puzzlement when the question of motivation comes up”

    I’m not alone here. A friend of mine managed to stomach the series up to the “Song of Susannah” and then gave up. Reading though 5 of the 6 books in the series and then not having the desire to read the very last book – that’s telling…

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