Title: The Dark Tower
Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 710
And so it ends. This book is the seventh and final book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although you could count The Wind Through the Keyhole as an eighth book if you were so inclined. Either way, this rounds off the series and reveals the end of the story, as well as what happens when Roland finally reaches the Dark Tower.
I’ve got to be honest, the first couple of hundred pages seemed to drag for me, and I found it difficult to get into the story line. But a little later on, it got good again, and we were soon rolling along the path of the Beam and towards the Tower and the Crimson King. It’s certainly true that a lot happens here – we get to learn more about Mordred, the anti-Roland, and we learn the ultimate fate of each of the characters that we’ve met along the way.
And so, of course, we have to deal with death – in a series like this, with so many characters, there’s no way that all of them are going to make it to the end. But don’t worry – I’m not going to tell you who dies, because that’s ka’s will, and you’ll find out all about it in your own time. That’ll be fun!
What I will say is that I saw the ending coming around 50 pages before it happened, which was a little annoying because the whole series was around 3,500 pages long. That said, it didn’t ruin it – if anything, it felt just right. It’s hard to explain it – if you’ve read the rest of your series then you’ll know what I mean, because it felt just like it was meant to be.
Another thing that I ought to mention is the size of the book, and the print. See, my copy doesn’t look as thick as some of the other books, and after the relatively slim size of Song of Susannah, the book that comes before this, I was expecting to blitz through this pretty quickly. But then I started reading it, and I realised that the print is so small that it’s actually difficult to focus on. It’s a book that you’ll need to read in the day, and not because it’s scary – it’s because it’s so damn difficult to see, and you’ll need good lighting if you want to be able to make out the print.
But other than that, I was happy with this – it was a great read, especially during the latter half of the book, and it forces you to keep reading until the end. As the reader, you feel like a part of Roland’s ka-tet, and when the ending rolls around, you feel like a part of the team. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll start to see the symbolism all over the place – roses, towers, and ka. After a while, it all starts to feel real, which made me want to call in sick because I figured that this ain’t Mid-World, so it doesn’t matter.
Overall, then, I’d say that The Dark Tower is a satisfying conclusion to the series, but it’s far from the best one on the market. I can’t explain why, but The Drawing of the Three was my favourite of the lot so far. This one does a good job of continuing the series, but it’s far from exceptional – good, but not great.
But I’d still recommend it, especially to lovers of fantasy and science fiction, as well as people who just appreciate good storytelling. See, the thing with The Dark Tower is that it transcends genre, and for anyone who appreciates a good read, this is good stuff. Unfortunately, you do need to stick with it, and to spend a lot of time ploughing through the pages.
Luckily, it’s a pleasure – even despite the difficulties I faced throughout it, I’m glad that I stuck with it. In fact, I’ve already started reading The Wind Through the Keyhole, the final Dark Tower novel, which was written after the series was completed and which fits somewhere in the middle of it. I’d recommend it – this too!