Being one of my favorites of the series, it’s ironic since Savannah is my least favorite character. This is a type of lead-in book to the last one, th...moreBeing one of my favorites of the series, it’s ironic since Savannah is my least favorite character. This is a type of lead-in book to the last one, the big bang finale we all feel is coming book. The book may not solve many riddles of the series but it’s still exciting. All kinds of unsettling things go down, and the story is just fascinating urgency builds and stakes heat up.
There are so many mixed reactions on King inserting himself (or a version of himself anyway) into his books. Some call it egotistical, some call it cheap. I call it none of these things. It’s an unusual gesture, twisted, and while the idea holds flaws, I like it. The whole series remains meshed with the Kingverse; I still get chills remembering he saw IT staring back at him.
It took such a long chunk of his life to write this series, the story swimming around in his head years in between putting it down, inventing legend. It also strikes me that King is writing a younger version of himself when he was an addict to more than writing and that they, in the book, appear to him during these delusional years. For much of the book, the Ka-tet is divided into twos of a sort.
As always Roland is an amazing hero to journey with. Eddie’s humor is welcome to break up the breakneck speed. Jake is one of the best again, it’s different with him because the reader has been able to watch him grow up and mature not only as a gunslinger but as a boy growing closer to becoming a man. Savannah is always battling some inner struggle – it makes sense she is the one to battle an inner demon. Father Callahan makes a return appearance.
It’s definitely a book that’s leading to the final one. The stakes are higher, the bar is raised, tension is amped. Onward, forward, whatever, to the finish line. Most Dark Tower fans will likely enjoy Song of Susannah. (less)
I can't help but stray away from most fantasy I've tried because of them being so bizarre. Summon The Keeper by Tanya Huff still beckoned me, mainly b...moreI can't help but stray away from most fantasy I've tried because of them being so bizarre. Summon The Keeper by Tanya Huff still beckoned me, mainly because I so loved her Blood Line series (up for re-read and review shortly I hope). The world painted is certainly unique and a little hard to grasp, yet with the characters and setting I was able to be nabbed into it. Situated in a Canadian Bed and Breakfast, life is anything but ordinary with the keeper when she encounters a sexually hungry ghost, fights the attractive Dean who becomes her assistant, stops her talking cat from getting into too mischief - and food! - and saving people from not only a visiting female vamp, but also from the world of Hell locked in the basement.
I've noticed mixed reviews because of all the frequent comedy. On my side I think the comedy worked well and is one of the things I found so endearing with the book. I loved Jacques the french ghost and his amusing attempts to get laid while stirring the testosterone laden air between himself and Dean. The cat's sense of humor was strong and he can claim the more witty lines of the novel. The Greek Gods may have been a little overkill, though... Amazingly Claire, as the main character, was one of my lesser favorites. She just seemed a little too bitchy much of the time.
As for the actual plot, well, it's out there but grew on me. I had trouble getting into it at first but not long. This may not be because of the book, though, so it's not fair to state that in the review without the forewarning of me not being used to the fantasy world. It's different but not so different I was turned off from it. Plenty of 'stuff' hits the fan, showing this is no easy job, and the comedy is kept rich through it all, with obvious things (like the entire world of course) at stake. It makes you wonder what really goes on out there we never know about sometimes.
As a summary, even though I laughed out loud more than once, toning down the humor during certain scenes would have helped the book more than harmed it. Hell, even Hell has a sense of humor here. Having a dark villain amidst funny situations in a grim setting would have worked better, I think. It was hard to go along with the bitchy main character much of the time, as she was overly dominating and hard to bear for not only the reader, but the other characters I found myself falling for. It may be a trend for the author, as Huff also creating a similarly bitchy character in the Blood Line series.
If you're in the mood for a light read and to have mucho fun, this is the one to find.(less)
Having been a die-hard Barbara Michaels fan for years, I was almost reluctant to read her Elizabeth Peters persona. I know they're more popular but I...moreHaving been a die-hard Barbara Michaels fan for years, I was almost reluctant to read her Elizabeth Peters persona. I know they're more popular but I thought that the changes would turn me off a bit. After reading The Love Talker, I'd recommend it as a good place to start for anyone else making the transition. Supposably this book is the closest to her Barbara Michaels style while still being a little different.
Since the story borderlines on the paranormal, but it never goes there, I can't help but think that if Peters had followed the story of the hypnotizing evil fairy this book would have turned out better. If she used the Michaels name (as so many reviewers have already said this seems more like a Michaels book than a Peters), and the supernatural angle to it's full force, it would have a bit more oomph in the long run.
Baffling and strange, The Love Talker focuses on fairies so much at the beginning I feared it was borderline fantasy. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but I never find much fantasy I enjoy. For some reason my mind has trouble wrapping around some of the more odd concepts, so when it does read that it just shuts off interest, perhaps to avoid a headache from thinking so hard? How sad. :)
It took me a few days to return, but when I did the book had decided to pick up pace and become more familiar. The main character is the typical strong heroine type, a sharp wit and intelligent determined, not fearful but not overly bold to the point of being unrealistic. There wasn't the usual love interest until the end, that aspect was a little more dilute than other works. Still, I never guessed the ending romantic triangle, which came as more of surprise than the mystery itself. For some reason I guessed who the assailant(s) was, even if I was surprised by one of the accomplices. I couldn't figure out the reason though so it's all still good.
The aunts and uncle were a little weird, with Lizzie being out there she was sometimes migraine inducing. Doug was cute and the typical male hero on the novel. There were enough red herrings to fool the reader, and each eccentricity only added to the novel's appeal. The end show-down was ballsy enough to succeed, and the wrap-up was bittersweet (even if it wasn't adumbrated enough)
The Love Talker held more humor than some of the other books I've read by her, cleverly placed irony that bought the book a special flavoring. I laughed out loud more than once, the book using a humor that complimented but didn't overshadow the story. Pacing was a little slow at first and it takes awhile to build up steam, but this isn't abnormal with Michaels/Peters. Very little violence and no creepy, real suspense factor, but a very good mystery nonetheless. I'm thrilled my expectations of the Peters name brought about the same coziness felt in the gothic mysteries from Michaels; now I get to read more from a beloved author, just under a different name - how could it get better than that?(less)
There was pressure to read this one, or I should say instead the gentle urges from one of my best friends, John Gugie (RIP, love you always.) I hadn’t...moreThere was pressure to read this one, or I should say instead the gentle urges from one of my best friends, John Gugie (RIP, love you always.) I hadn’t gotten around to grabbing them and giving them a go until one night in a friend’s apartment, where Ronnie proudly displayed the whole collection on his shelf, raved enthusiastically on the series merits, and then sent me on my merry way with the entire series on loan. I cannot remember or think about this series without remembering John’s discussions over the years about them and the enthusiasm from Ronnie.
At this stage in my life I still consider myself a stranger to intricately woven, high fantasy style pieces. The journey was a new experience for my mind to grasp for this genre, but thankfully the writing style and shorter first book led to a gentler transition. The writing style is rather dry and detached to introduce the story, but it’s not really a character orientated adventure yet. It is not even a story about a journey yet. It is a story of a character obsession with going on a journey. He has become so obsessed with it that everything about him seems to have melted away to where there is nothing left about him except for his drive, his motivation, to complete his goal.
The book begins with one of those epic lines that’s unforgettable, a line King will be quoted for long after his death.
“The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”
Simple, but powerfully effective.
Through towns and inner musings, chases and dreamy revelations at the end, The Gunslinger stays just out of reach. Enough to remain elusive and a little confusing. The pacing is in no hurry and the slower build-up and movement reflect that Roland’s journey will indeed be long.
Roland Deschain is a memorable figure of fantasy literature. Determined, vicious yet honorable in bizarre ways, he is a gunslinger, the last of his kind. Jake makes it easy to fall head over heels with. Instantly I sense Roland’s an impressive figure, but I don’t get much emotion toward him until the second book. With Jake and little boy charm, it was of course easier to like him. The elusive enemy is particularly intriguing as he leaves only hints of intent.
Fantastical, apocalyptic, western – what a roll-up of genre. Powerful imagery follows Roland’s hunt and vexing scenes are hard to forget in the tragedy of Tull. Due to dryness and not having as much invested in the story or characters yet, my rating for this one isn’t as impressive. This seems to be common among many reviewers for similar reasons.
Read it and believe it, it starts an epic quest. (less)
I was delighted to receive this through the Goodreads First Read program. I'm extremely new to the fantasy genre - I read urban fantasy often, mainly...moreI was delighted to receive this through the Goodreads First Read program. I'm extremely new to the fantasy genre - I read urban fantasy often, mainly in series - but for straight-out fantasy, I'm as amateurish as they come. I had hoped this one wouldn't be too far out and over my head; thankfully due to writer's easy-to-follow style, I didn't have problems lagging behind. Even though the characters are from a much different world than I've read of, their personable and real traits made it easy to picture them as genuine and true.
The book grabbed my attention from the beginning with a clever hook and while action is never non-stop here, the characters are curious opposites. Garren and Ariana's relationship was one of the more catching plot devices I wanted to pursue. The strongest part of the book was the characters - the plot itself was also intriguing, but more of a set-up to more things to come, I think. The ending leaves on a huge cliffhanger, right on the very edge of a big event, leaving a small pause of dissappointment (I wanted to read the next part!)
With an easy pace, fun exploration of character, and a unique fantasy tale, I would recommend this one to fantasy readers - novice and newbies alike.(less)
Just looking at this one after you’ve closed the first, you already know you’re in for something different. The most obvious sign is the size – King h...more Just looking at this one after you’ve closed the first, you already know you’re in for something different. The most obvious sign is the size – King has expanded the world by more than half. The first would look dwarfish lined beside this much larger work.
The first began on a vague note, and this one continues on a dreamy beginning vibe as Roland arrives on a beach, finds a door suspended in midair, and the door leads to New York city, but at different moments in time. Through each opening he’s supposed to nab his future traveling companions, all foretold at the end of the first book’s conclusion. Eddie (The Prisoner), Odetta (Lady of Shadows), and Jack Mort (Death.)
All readers are anxious for Roland to start his journey, but we still have quite a way before the official walk starts. Seeing Roland thrust into the 80’s to recruit Eddie, a heroine addict in trouble with the mob, is funnier than you’d think. It reminded me a bit of Crocodile Dundee coming to New York city for the first time. They then have to travel to the 60’s for Odetta, a woman who lost her legs in an accident, a woman whose mind hides another personality.
Roland hasn’t been around folks he has to work and connect with in ages, but now King forces him to walk the road with new companions, all with their own personal demon taint. King also cripples him from the get-go with an unexpected ‘attack.’ He seems more human in this book and is even more epic a character.
Eddie is a fiercely strong being, choosing to follow a path he knows little about, shrugging off drug addiction and adjusting. Odetta…I disliked a lot. Savannah never grows on me in either form. Her interactions on the beach especially irritated me as a monstrous woman. There’s much sickness and deviancy among the book’s players, from the minor to the major.
As with most of King’s stuff, I think the book could have served itself more by some trimming and shorter length. King does tend to stretch out most scenes and events. It’s still written in a surreal fantasy realm this time with some fun and underlying humor. Makes you eager to read the next book to find out what happens next.
The Wastelands is the winner as the best book among the first three. The ka-tet is fully unified and have started their journey, this time including J...more The Wastelands is the winner as the best book among the first three. The ka-tet is fully unified and have started their journey, this time including Jake and newcomer Oy the Billy-Bumbler who you can’t help but get tickled by. There’s lost technology, action, the ka-tet getting to know each other, and a wacky, fun ending with a psychotic train they’re forced to ride but that never plans to let them survive.
It’s a book you have to keep attention on, else you’ll get lost and confused fast. The worlds collide without the doors. Wastelands is filled with not just fantasy but mystery and much anticipation on what is later to come. The broken and scattered technology intrigues and the lines that connect the worlds includes science fiction type elements into the story. The worlds all being parallel to each other is a nice touch.
Jake is essential – more of Roland’s human side is brought out by the boy. The gunslinger shows many sides in Wastelands, not just the straight edged one as before. Seeing snippets of Jake’s former life was interesting and he’s definitely one of my favorite characters. The tick-tock man mesmerizes, King knows how to write expert villains. That’s always been one of his biggest strengths. Blaine is a train with personality (haunted) who runs the city from beneath, holds zero regard for life, and loves deadly riddles and tricky twisters.
King obviously had a lot of fun with this one. Incredibly detailed with lots of imagination painting the journey’s road. An action-adventure, fantastical, sci-fi, and mystery rich book. Most of King’s books would improve with a trimming, but this one is about just the right length. There’s plenty to convincingly fill the pages. I pity those who read this one when first published – the wait after its cliffhanger would have bugged me. (less)
This fourth book is another massive addition to the ever-evolving Dark tower series. For some reason King decided now would be the time to provide a b...more This fourth book is another massive addition to the ever-evolving Dark tower series. For some reason King decided now would be the time to provide a back story/prequel book for the series. A good thing is plenty of Roland time and backstory – fresh gunslinger falling in love and in battle. The enjoyable but haunting tale of his close friends and his lost lady love.
Many held major qualms that this book spends its time recapturing Roland’s tragic youth, but I enjoyed the flashbacks and character sketching. I’m sure I’d feel much differently if I’d been in the group who had to wait years in between the publication of these books!
The beginning was fun and exciting (about 100 pages or so). We’ve already glimpsed a young Roland in various scenes in the previous novels, so was a full prequel book needed? Having a love story can speak of generic backstory, and even King himself notes in an afterword how difficult it is to pen a convincing romance. But this still adds realism to Roland’s character and the man he used to be to the man he’d become.
The story is akin to an outlaw, gunslinger fairy tale (cool), but it wouldn’t hurt to have a trim. The ending grows bizarre by referencing the Wizard of Oz of all things. King enjoys putting his universes in the Dark Tower series, but the Wizard of Oz?
While I did yearn to return to the more familiar voyage of Roland’s journey with Jake, Eddie and Savannah, his childhood companions were natural to fall for as they three emerged as an honorable, fascinating group. Rhea is such a nasty woman, but of course King’s major strength lies in creating villains.
Bottom line is this is a prequel type deal, a pause. An exploration, sure, but still a pause in the main adventure. With the backstory firmly in place, it’s possible to see Roland with different eyes when we travel forward with him. I enjoy the old-west style atmosphere tucked amongst the fantastical world of Mejis. Of course beauty is only covering up ugly as things slowly rot, destroying the good, the purities.
I’m sure a lot of fans who wait in between novels for years were a little disappointed with this one for the lag, but it’s still a good story that further explores our favorite gunslinger. I think if the flashback scene had been shorter, it would have worked better. (less)
King again pauses a bit in the group’s journey to the tower as they stop in Calla Bryn Sturgis. The adventure experienced within the land is the focus...more King again pauses a bit in the group’s journey to the tower as they stop in Calla Bryn Sturgis. The adventure experienced within the land is the focus of the book. It’s unusual, chilling, and fits into the ‘there’s just something wrong’ vibe of the Dark Tower world. Even if this journey involves many others – including, bizarrely, Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot – there’s plenty of focus and page light on our mains, the ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Savannah and Oy.
There’s so much, I don’t know, ‘mysticism’ in this one? The rose in New New York is a bit confusing to me, I’ll admit it. A bizarre and bleak blend of technology failing, magic (bends), old school gunslinger style, knight type honor codes and fairytale-ism (Oy and the wolves) and science-fiction (Andy). The tower series seems to be mixing all sorts of fantasy types at once. King continues his tying his universe together, and while he threw in Wizard of the Oz in a previous book, he mentions Harry Potter in this one (to a lesser degree than Oz) and even comic books.
Roland continues to be epic. Savannah, who I’ve never liked as a character, is more interesting with some of her changes in this one. The sleepwalking segments are some of the creepiest/best of the series. The wolves townsfolk and unusual lore was more fascinating than I’d figured. Father Callahan must be a favorite of Kings’? How he got to Roland’s world was a clever twist.
King gives the story extreme style and polish in his awesome blending of so many genres and themes. Epic adventure that’s part of what makes the Dark Tower series so memorable. This is one of the better books. The ending is the best part. (less)
I struggled with whether this deserved four or five stars or not. The ending is bittersweet – after all, isn’t it about the ending since the journey i...moreI struggled with whether this deserved four or five stars or not. The ending is bittersweet – after all, isn’t it about the ending since the journey is over? – so why not mention it upfront? The series is one epic, long, torturous journey. Rarely have I read a quest type novel, and this is certainly the longest series I’ve experienced. No matter how complicated King incorporated a blend of genres, (fantasy, science fiction, mystery, even a small amount of romance), it still remains ultimately a seek and find quest.
As said, the ending is bittersweet and makes one a bit angry but it also makes sense. I think there is definite hope when the horn is raised next. Being careful not to leak spoilers here, hopefully those who’ve read the books know what I’m talking about.
I didn’t expect all hearts and roses – it’s King, for one thing, and the man has the tendency to hammer brutality into his words. This isn’t a happy ever after story and was never promised or meant to be one, but damn, depressing stuff. I cry at the drop of a hat when it comes to books anyway, and this one made me positively weep.
Characters got to shine to finish off the tale. Mordred fascinated me, although I could have done without the stomach issues (ew). He’s a villain who stands out as tragic, truly evil, and twisted. Despite gripping villains, showdown scenes kind of sucked. Randall Flagg is especially a letdown. Also King is back into the books, literally, and it feels a little off this time. Maybe part of this is a catharsis from the accident and finishing the series so quickly as a result.
King saturates the pages with grim tones and shattering loss. The price of reward is expensive. The ending, as I’ve said, actually makes sense and is an ironic filled touch. I don’t like the very end wrap up for some of the characters though as it feels unreal and forced. When the journey ends Roland is a changed man, nothing else would make sense. If he has changed enough is an answer up to the reader. (less)
This time around it surrounds a young boy and his horse in a heroic type, rags to riches tale. The adventure element was high as the child tries to...more4.5
This time around it surrounds a young boy and his horse in a heroic type, rags to riches tale. The adventure element was high as the child tries to escape being sold to a cruel master and travels to Narnia with a talking horse, Bree. Along the way they meet a girl who is also escaping, although she's privileged and leaving for a much different reason, with her talking horse as well. Each character has their own personal reason to get to Narnia, all escaping different enemies, each with their unique character flaw to transform. It's similar to a medieval fairytale romance set in a royal time.
The characterization in this one helped make the story the success it was. While it was a good story, there was additional charm with the players. I loved the horses and their conflicting personalities, adorable things. Bree is funny and far from humble, while Hwin holds a supreme gentleness and nobility. Shasta is a very likeable hero with his morals and strength, but also his insecurities, doubts, and humorous thoughts. Aslan is present again in this one, and pretty heavily. He repeats in this book several times the same he said in others - that he would only tell the person their story and not others. There was a particularly awesome scene, almost creepy with the ending whisper, on Him answering to Shasta who He was. I really loved King Lune too, he was jolly, kind hearted and hilariously well-natured.
We get to see Lucy, Edmund and Susan again. This time they are in their King and Queen station and, while it's nice to see them in their element, it doesn't really seem like them from the other stories. Could be because it's not told from their viewpoint, or else because they are only seen as royalty here. There's a fun, short cameo with Tumnus too. Their high speech again, though, argh!
There's no great, huge villain, but a series of them - from lions, slave-owners, and invading, spoiled princes. The only time the book lagged was when Susan and Edmund debated on the best action to take while still in the Prince's town. I thought that could have been shortened a little, but this didn't take from the story much.
It may seem unrealistic to have Aslan himself in so many stories, while before it made sense because of his connection to the children and them fulfilling their prophecy. Here it ends up making sense as the end reveals this is also part of another prophecy which was foretold in years past. The scene with the boat reminds me a little of the story of Moses as a baby in the basket. The ending was a surprise and I love how CS Lewis wrote it. It finished on a sweet, charming note unlike some of the others. Maybe it held less sadness because the players were already in the world they were supposed to be in and wouldn't be leaving it.
Regarding the order of the story, this is one of those that had been exchanged with another in the Publication Versus Chronological changes. A big change too, swapping from being book five to becoming book three when republished later chronologically. Besides it being during the children's reign over Narnia, there is no difference in time that would affect series reading. Still happy I stuck with the original publish sequence. As book five, it's a delight after reading the last two to revisit the world as it was with the Kings and Queens in their prime and look back on that era to see familiar faces again.