Mitchel Broussard's Reviews > The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower by Stephen King
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's review
Apr 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, paranormal-and-supernatural, sci-fi, thriller-suspense, stephen-king
Read from December 13, 2011 to January 14, 2012

There are no words to describe the events of this book, and only a handful that could be used to portray the epic struggle that occurs within its pages to those who haven't read the previous tomes. But, I will try my best. Because, as strong as my feeling was from The Wastelands on, this is a series that deserves to be read by any fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and especially if you dig big questions like the nature of reality and the existence of alternate wheres and whens.

The Ka-Tet of Nineteen (or, ninety-nine) is scattered across universes. Jake and Callahan are preparing to fight vampires in a run-down restaurant in the New York. Eddie and Roland are investigating odd occurrences in Maine of the 1970s, all centered around one curious well-known author's house. And Susannah is trapped in a station built by the very Dharma Initiative North Central Positronics, and is soon going to be witness to the birth of the prophesied son, meant to kill the last of the Eld and prevent any from breaching the Tower.

It's all set up brilliantly, and reads like a bullet firing out of a gun barrel in its urgency. I've felt Roland's need to reach his Tower since the final pages of The Gunslinger but there is a hypnotic pulse within this book that rockets you forward without second thought. The first six books were build up, this thing is all payoff. From Jake and Callahan's brutal battle with the low men, can-toi and vampires in the Dixie Pig, to the bloodbath at the Algul Siento there is nary a sentence of filler within this beast's 860 page length.

What works perhaps the best is the fact that at this point in the series, it is impossible to not care for the characters. Just like in Harry Potter's final battle (although Mr. Potter arguably faced significantly less loss than sai Roland does), the sense of grief, loss and devastation are palpable. When a character died, I would literally go into a period of denial for up to 10 pages, waiting for their return. I cried for one. I got immensely depressed for the rest. This characters' arcs were some of the most well-realized I think I've ever come across, and the mere fact that King could keep up with them across the dimension-hopping, time-traveling, epic-battling of seven books is nothing short of fucking remarkable.

And this is where I'll talk about the most polarizing aspect of the series, and where, if you really want to avoid spoilers and haven't read up to Wolves of the Calla at the very least, you may want to stop reading. King's appearance within his own books. I read the afterword in this one, and I agree with him. He chose to tell a fantasy story that connected with our world, and logically, he lives within our world. I do, however, wonder how the series would have changed had that not been included. How much more time could have been committed to the exploration of Mid and End-World when Roland and his ka-mates were scrambling to save that rose in New York? Or those two duds of characters Tower and Deepneau from death?

I don't mind their entrance into our world, I love that for the same reason I loved it in His Dark Materials, it grounds the fantastical adventures with our own mundane reality and makes it feel like these characters exist just in another place. But the final three books so heavily rely on King's actual existence within the framework of the narrative, all I can say is that I can get why some people would think that it's pretentious. I mean, he pretty much creates himself as a god (which I still don't fully get). Do I think it is? Maybe, but I love the story, characters and setting of Mid-World so much I excused those parts.

I love these books. Especially now that they're over. It really turned out to be my literary equivalent to Lost. I love the way that, in the way-back of Roland's world magic truly existed, the Beams worked, held up the Tower, and all was well. Then, when things started breaking down, North Central Positronics attempted to step in and use technology to replace magic. It all failed because the world moved on, of course, but it's such a beautiful metaphor for dependency on technology versus believing in something your can't see. Yes, Positronics built the giant cyborg bear Roland and his ka-tet fight in The Wastelands (may be my favorite battle of the series), but that's not to say a true bear didn't exist in the long-ago that guarded the portal emitting the Beam that is one of six that holds up the Tower and in effect all of the multiverse from certain doom. It probably sounds like babble to untrained ears, but it is so goddamn intriguing (a giant cyborg bear protecting reality from ending! Kick-ass, man!) that it all gels pretty seamlessly, especially this far into the series.

It, in essence, is one of my favorite mythologies across any medium. Right up there with Lost and Assassin's Creed. And those include big polar bears, magical and important pockets of land, and the existence of a first civilization of high intelligence. HEYY... wait a second..

Sorry, just like Lost (why is Desmond so fucking important??) I can go on all day here. But I'll stop. I've said enough. I have no real complaints about this series as a written work. It goes against all mainstream structure and approach to the genre. It is not action packed, but when the action hits it hits HARD. The villain is discussed throughout the series, but he never is actually seen and spoken to until about the 700th page in the last book of the series. And, of course, there is a beginning and an end, but none so convenient as to be pigeonholed as such (especially with that flashback in Wizard and Glass and the ending of this final volume). Because Ka is a wheel, and always comes back to the beginning.

King has created an ending that is simultaneously frustrating, ingenious and utterly believable and makes complete sense in the story as a whole. It may piss off some, cause others to shed bad light on the memories of the series, and others, like me, rethink everything that came before and what it all means. For everyone, though, it's an ending we will never forget. Through the coming years of adulthood and stress, the surmounting responsibilities of life, I will always remember the great adventure of Roland to his Tower, and the high sacrifices he had to make to get what he wanted. And the price he finally payed to reach his goal.

For that life lesson, I say thankya. Say thankya big-big.

Comala-come-come. The journey is finally done.
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Quotes Mitchel Liked

Stephen King
“A man who can't bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower

Stephen King
“Go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower

Stephen King
“Remember in elementary school you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file from smallest to tallest? What is the logic in that? What, do tall people burn slower?”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower

Stephen King
“Because talent won't be quiet, doesn't know how to be quiet," he said. "Whether it's a talent for safe-cracking, thought-reading, or dividing ten-digit numbers in your head, it screams to be used. It never shuts up. It'll wake you in the middle of your tiredest night, screaming, 'Use me, use me, use me! I'm tired of just sitting here! Use me, fuckhead, use me!”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower

Reading Progress

12/13/2011 page 1
0.0% "The End Begins :("
12/13/2011 page 17
2.0% "Will be updating this annoyingly frequent b/c I'm doing a little book club thing with a friend and we're using Goodreads to keep track of our progress. Just a heads up to everyone."
12/15/2011 page 113
13.0% "I want an Oy. Scratch that. I NEED AN OY." 3 comments
12/20/2011 page 220
25.0% "What's been building up for 6 books is finally playing out! I'm getting goosebumps."
12/26/2011 page 321
37.0% 3 comments
12/31/2011 page 343
40.0% "New Year's Eve going-to-the-movies tradition with the parents means another not-much-reading day. Damn you, video games!"
01/03/2012 page 421
49.0% "I have never been so blind sighted by a literary character's death in my life. Or so sad."
01/03/2012 page 485
56.0% "Oh. My. Gan."
01/04/2012 page 549
64.0% "This is so meta right now. Like. Srsly." 3 comments
01/11/2012 page 629
73.0% ""The man floated to his fate, shrieking and eyeless. He thrust his hands out in front of him, making warding-off gestures, and the spider's front legs seized one of them, guided it into the bristling maw of its mouth, and bit it off with a candy-cane crunch." The idea of a were-spider has got to be the most terrifying thing I've ever imagined."
01/13/2012 page 670
78.0% "cmon cmon cmon"
01/13/2012 page 715
83.0% ""Part Five: The Scarlet Field of Can'-Ka No Rey" with a picture of Roland walking towards the actual mother%$#$@#% Tower. Like FO REALSIES this time. Unless it's all a dream. In which case I will personally rip King's small intestine out through his mouth."
01/14/2012 page 751
87.0% ":'("
01/14/2012 page 864
100.0% "How oddly satisfying and infuriating at the same time."
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