I’m starting to see why people really like this series. I’m only two books in now (with pretty big gaps between the books), but I get it. And even with that crappy film adaptation—so far nothing in the first two books was in the film really—I’m being drawn in.
I’m struggling to write reviews of this as I’ve taken to heart what King writes in the forward that this is one long book/story broken across quite a few books. It’s some how barely moving forward but taking massive steps at the same time. This picks up not long after The Gunslinger and plows steadily forward. I’m still not sure I have any idea what’s going on, and I have no idea where it’s going, but so far I’m enjoying where King is taking me.
One of the things I’ve truly enjoyed about the few King works that I’ve read have been his characters. He has a way of writing people who are so real, so visible and so visceral they walk right into your mind. Whether it’s the crazy woman from Misery, the little boy from Cujo or Odetta/Detta from this book. I am struggling a little to reconcile Roland as described in the book versus Roland from the movies. I thought Idris Elba did a wonderful job and I think that’s why I keep clinging to him as Roland, but the book clearly describes him as a white man with longer hair. So I’ve now mentally replaced what Elba looked like in this with what he looked like (minus the freaky yellow eyes) in Thor: Ragnorak (Cbr.com link) and it’s working for me.
The other thing I’m enjoying is how King writes his characters. Even though this is a sci-fi time travel type book it’s also firmly rooted in a cowboy western style and it’s a weird hybridization of language, references and other things.
“Control the things you can control, maggot. Let everything else take a flying fuck at you, and if you must go down, go down with your guns blazing.” (458)
“In matters of the Tower, fate became a thing as merciful as the lighter which had saved his life and as painful as the fire the miracle had ignited. Like the wheels of the oncoming train, it followed a course both logical and crushingly brutal, a course against which only steel and sweetness could stand.” (491)
I’m definitely starting to understand why people who read this series REALLY like this series and re-read it. I can’t wait to get the next book from the library, but at the same time I’m glad I have the enforced break between books. I feel like this would be a lot to read back-to-back and I know I would try to read it that way because I want to know where things are going!
Recommendation: Worth sticking with it so far. I’m really enjoying the pace even though it’s excruciatingly slow it’s also lightning fast. It clearly takes a talented author to make you feel both of these simultaneously.
Opening Line: “The gunslinger came awake from a confused dream which seemed to consist of a single image: that of the Sailor in the Tarot deck from which the man in black had dealt (or purported to deal) the gunslinger’s own moaning future.”
Closing Line: “There I will sing all their names!” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)