Books In the Series
The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)
The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)
Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)
Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5)
Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6)
The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7)
Coming in 2012
The Wind Through the Keyhole
(Broken down by book first, then as a whole.)
The first book, The Gunslinger, (in my opinion) was a slow start. Part of it may have been that I am a lifelong King fan, part of it may have been that the book was first published in 1982 (and written much earlier by a very young Stephen King). But it took me awhile to read, and to be honest I did so mostly because I was encouraged by my husband. In this first book, we meet Roland and “The man in black” aka Walter O’Dim aka Randall Flagg. We are also introduced to what will become one of the most complex worlds I have ever seen, Mid-World. We also, for a brief time, meet Jake Chambers a young boy from 1970′s New York. Roland is chasing the Man in Black across Mid-World in hopes of finding “The Dark Tower” which is somehow the center of the universe. Unfortunately, there is not much more to it than this.
The second book, The Drawing of the Three, was definitely a better book than it’s predecessor. Roland is wandering across the desert and through a set of magical doors draws Eddie Dean from New York in the late 1980′s and Odetta Holmes from New York in the late 1950′s. We follow the three as they become a trio and Eddie and Odetta (who is later known as Susannah Dean) soon become captivated by Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower.
The Third Book, The Waste Lands, is where (for me) the story really starts. I would have been happy with a prologue containing the drawing of the three in a few paragraphs (although in hindsight? I am happy with the first two books, it is just that it’s here where the books really, really got good for me.) There is so much packed into this book! We meet Shardik, a guardian of one of the beams that leads to the Dark Tower. Eddie and Susannah (previously Odetta Holmes) become Gunslingers, we re-find Jake Chambers (to form a group they refer to as the Ka-Tet) and his puppy dog-like friend, Oy. We also get to go on a wild train ride.
Book Four, Wizard and Glass, goes back in time to Roland’s youth. It is here that I felt we really got to know Roland of Gilead. My husband was most excited for me to read this installment, as I am a closet Romance Novel addict! While I loved the story of Roland and his (for lack of a better term) Childhood Sweetheart, Susan Delgado, I felt this book was a bit long in places. And I actually set it down for about two weeks before finally finishing.
Wolves of the Calla, book five, I have often heard people list as their favorite in the series. The Ka-Tet stumbles upon the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis, which has a problem. The wolves are on their way. Once per Generation, the Wolves come from nearby Thunderclap and take half of the towns children. The children are returned, weeks or months later in a brain-dead fashion. They call on the help of the Ka-Tet, and as per Gunslinger Oath? They cannot refuse help. We also meet Pere Callahan (if you’ve read Salem’s Lot, you may recognize this character!). After Wizard and Glass, I was glad to have a fast paced book again. From here to the end of hte series, I couldn’t put these books down.
Song of Susannah is the sixth book in the series, and in some ways it’s one of my favorites, in others it lacks a lot. Susannah is pregnant, a result of an incident in the Waste Lands. She’s also experiencing split personalities again, which leads her to wander away from the Ka-Tet and into New York in 1999. We have some interesting experiences here, and get to see the Low Men (Hearts in Atlantis) and a trip to the World Trade Center in Manhattan. (King really left nothing sacred and untouched in this series!) The Ka-Tet is split apart, and we get to see glimpses into everyone and their actions. There is also a scene in this book, which I want so badly to tell you about, but it’s a huge spoiler. So I won’t. But you will either love it (like me) or hate it (like many others have reviewed on Goodreads.)
The Dark Tower is the final book in this series. It’s the ultimate hike to the Dark Tower, but I can’t say much. I won’t tell you if they find the tower. I won’t tell you of the ultimate fights, or my huge disappointments. I also won’t tell you what parts had me in tears, and what had me claiming I would never again read a book by Mr. King. I was angry. I was happy. I was heartbroken and thrilled. There are so many twists and turns in this book I felt like I was on a vacation to Six Flags.
My Final Thoughts:
I loved this series. It is one of my favorite book series, ever. Although I would not rank it among my top Stephen King books. I love Roland and his Ka-Tet. I felt as though they became part of my life for a long time and the ultimate let down when the series was finished. It took me DAYS to pick up another book. (And from someone who has read nearly 120 books this year, that’s a long time without a book. It took my husband four months before he felt ready for another book.)
I have experienced every possible emotion during this series, and many personal thoughts toward the author himself. (I once told my husband that I hope when I die I find out that Stephen King really is God. I also cursed him, swore off his books permanently and asked my husband if I can have his permission to leave him and Marry Stephen King. ) The top item on my Christmas List is a Talking Dog (Billy Bumbler)
In the end, if you are a Stephen King fan, you must read this series. You will revisit many of your old favorite characters. You may struggle with this series (as I have) because it is very unlike any of his other books. But in the end, I think you will be happy you went on this quest.
If you are not a Stephen King fan? I recommend you read this series. It has something for everyone, action, romance, science fiction, religion, vampires, warewolves (sort of) and a talking dog!
If I were to rank this series? I would give it 5 out of 5 hearts.