Rich Stoehr's Reviews > The Wind Through the Keyhole

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
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May 07, 12

Read from May 03 to 06, 2012

"'A person's never too old for stories...we live for them.'"

From the standpoint of story, the Dark Tower series stands among Stephen King's finest work, and The Wind Through the Keyhole earns its place in it. A multilayered and well-crafted tale of Roland and his ka-tet in their journey across Mid-World, where magic and technology share an uneasy co-existence. A tale of starkblast and palaver. A story told around a warm fire to keep the cold at bay - a story of Roland's past and his hunt for the skin-man, and an even deeper story told to Roland in his childhood. A story of fairies and dragons and lost children.

Each layer of story in The Wind Through the Keyhole relates to the others, interwoven neatly even into the wider story of the Dark Tower. But what binds them all is the characters and the strength of the prose itself. This Dark Tower story is different in many ways - but it drew me in just as the others did and kept me going with the same ease. King's talent for these stories is that they feel natural, even when they're about the most unnatural things, and it's just as evident here as it ever was.

I confess to one disappointment, and I noticed it right when I opened the book for the first time - no illustrations in this edition. The other seven Dark Tower books included illustrations - from the lush and detailed Michael Whelan or the harsh and stark Phil Hale or the wild and weird Dave McKean. Each of these artists enhanced the stories with their own take on them. There were also illustrations done for The Wind Through the Keyhole, by the talented Jae Lee, who brought the early Dark Tower comics to vibrant life. But those pictures are only available with the more-expensive (and hard to get) limited editions - this trade edition is left wanting.

It may seem a quibble - but to me, not including the illustrations in this edition was a mistake.

Taken on its own, on the level of the story, The Wind Through the Keyhole, is a small marvel, and a welcome return to the strange, frightening, familiar and beautiful world Stephen King has brought to us before. In Roland and his companions, and in the stories he tells, we learn just a little more of why stories are important, and why this story was worth the journey.

This is a story that will last - a story that will talk down the dark in the telling.
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