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The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King's Magnum Opus

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  37,716 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In 1970, Stephen King embarked on what would become the crowning achievement in his literary career-the Dark Tower. The seven-volume series, written and published over a period of 30 years, was inspired by Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," as well as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone.With the ful ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by NAL (first published September 1st 2004)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  37,716 ratings  ·  88 reviews


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Becky
I have been a fan of Stephen King almost all my life, have read all of his novels (well, close to it, I haven't read the sequels to Mr. Mershitties, or his newest books... yet.), almost every short story, and both of his non-fiction books about writing. I have loved the Dark Tower series for many years, and have read it many (many, many) times, and even have multiple tattoos inspired by and based on the series. I consider myself to be pretty well-versed on King and this series and the multiverse ...more
Leo .
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The dark tower and gunslinger books are quite deep but, very good.🐯👍
Richard Wright
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I read this in pretty much a sitting on the way back from the World Horror Convention in Texas, where I picked up a copy from the author. I'm a huge fan of King's epic seven part series, my main reason for picking the book up, but really didn't know what to expect from this. I was disappointed, in the end. Though well written, the book is more summary than exploration. I suppose if you hadn't understood the books in the first place, the chapter long synopses of each novel might be useful, but ot ...more
Gayane
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is what you do, Steve King, turning readers into Tower junkies. Well, I was ready to dive back into the series the moment I turned the last page of The Wind Through the Keyhole, holding back was just too hard. I also knew that one could miss many details while reading such an epic story, so I picked this book, and guess what? There were a lot of pieces in the puzzle I have never noticed or haven't been able to put in place while reading. Bev Vincent's The Road to the Dark Tower helped me fi ...more
Patrick
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Indispensable for anyone who has just finished the series, this companion piece answers most questions and fills in any gaps you might have upon completion. Especially important for me are the connections of Dark Tower elements to other King works I was unfamiliar with. There are explanations of each of his other books having relations to DT, so I was able to get the whole picture of "Hearts in Atlantis" and "Insomnia," since I haven't read those but feature characters who appear in DT. I skippe ...more
Bryan
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Disappointed in this one. I was hoping for some new insights into the Dark Tower series, subtle things I might have missed, connections I might not have made, etc. What I got was 90% lifted word for word from the subject novels. I just finished reading The Dark Tower, I didn't start this book so that I could read it again.

Chapter 1 was a moderately interesting account of the publishing history of the series. Chapters 2-8 contain a synopsis of the entire series, and this section was painful to g
...more
Amarand
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Certainly easier to read than the Dark Tower concordances. Well written and well researched, the author does an excellent job of summarizing and highlighting the parts of the Dark Tower series (seven books) while illuminating key facts one might miss while reading this opus. Helps tie things together and even mentions some concepts not everyone will pick-up during a first read-through. I found some of the sections repetative but still interesting and useful as a whole.
Chris
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Looking for a way to revisit Roland and his ka-tet without reading the entire 4000 pages of The Dark Tower series?

Read The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Then here is the place to go. It's a great overview to the characters and story of King's masterpiece.

Do not read this book unless you have finished all 8 7 Dark Tower books. It will spoil it, otherwise.
Steve Tetreault
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
What it's about: This book provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of Stephen King's Dark Tower series and related works.

What I thought: I had hoped to read this and come away with some new insights or understandings about King's work. I have enjoyed reading the Dark Tower books over the years, and I am always interested in getting some additional "inside information" about things I enjoy. This review didn't really do that. This may be because it was written at the same time the final bo
...more
Adam Fowler
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you're looking for a thought-provoking exploration of the themes of The Dark Tower series, you won't find it here. Aside from the seven chapters which summarise the first seven books in the series (which I didn't mind, nice to have a recap. No mention at all of Wind Through The Keyhole though) there is no real attempt to dig deep in to Stephen King's magnum opus at all.

Once Vincent is done summarising chapters, he then sets about examining how it relates to King's other works. Except all he d
...more
Geoff
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a pretty large book, dealing with all things about "The Dark Tower." The first half of the book dedicates a chapter to each story in the series. Usually I enjoy recaps, but with this book I found it a little dull to read 300 pages summarizing the seven Dark Tower books. The length is what got to me, and it was hard to keep interested in these recaps.

The second half of the book deals with everything else. How other books are connected to The Dark Tower series and world. Also, where King
...more
John
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I don't re-read books very often, so when I like to revisit a world--I'd rather have a handy guide like this, than perhaps go through 4,000+ pages King's works to illuminate foibles that may or may not be there.

This is a pretty straightforward guide and often lifts the examples straight from the text, rather than giving some sort of abstract criticism. And that's fine! It's nice to have a relatively brisk summary of why this series is the "St. Elsewhere" of King's fiction.

While I'm not a HUGE fa
...more
Lilly Raines
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd highly recommend The Road to The Dark Tower to all fans of The Dark Tower series, but I'll warn you that this book can be repetitive at times. There were sections that seemed to simply regurgitate information that had already been stated earlier in the book. That said, there were also a lot of new ideas that changed my perspective of the series as a whole. I especially enjoyed reading about how King's other novels tied into the Dark Tower universe. If you're looking to expand your Dark Tower ...more
Julia
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Useful if you're curious about all the connections between Stephen King's works and the Dark Tower series, especially if it's been a while since you read the series (like me.) The first few chapters are mainly a summary of the plot, with details you might have missed mainly put forth in the footnotes, so don't miss those. It makes for a lot of flipping back and forth, but it's worth the tiny bit of effort. the last few chapters are better if you're fresh from reading the books.

In summary, if you
...more
Nina
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Like many others, I am a great fan of the Dark Tower series and was expecting that this book would include some substantive discussion of themes, connections, and other tidbits throughout the books that I had missed. Instead, it's basically just a book report of each of the volumes with bland bios of the main characters. There are a few chapters of "analysis" at the end, but don't bother. I'd recommend this book to a middle schooler writing a report about the Dark Tower books.
Ken
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Name
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Nakia
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Dayna
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Pamela
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Johathan
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Guy
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Daisy
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Valentine
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Laifalath
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well-written comprehensive guide. A marvelous retrospect to the Dark Tower with Roland and his ka-tet.
Dandre
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Dion
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Coty
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Myra
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
Leonor
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book. Enjoyed reading it.
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Bev Vincent has been a contributing editor with Cemetery Dance magazine since 2001, writing the News from the Dead Zone column that appears in every issue. He is also the author of The Road to the Dark Tower, the Bram Stoker Award nominated com­panion to Stephen King's Dark Tower series, The Stephen King Illustrated Companion and The Dark Tower Companion. His work has been nominated for the Stoker ...more

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