The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

Roland at the Dark Tower, surrounded by the healing roses
Roland at the Dark Tower, surrounded by the healing roses | Source

The Dark Tower Series

Stephen King has been one of my favorite authors for many years. He imaginatively conjures up believable characters and takes the time to develop them. I love the way he writes either a Foreword or Afterword in each book, addressed to his Constant Readers. He explains how he felt about certain features in his book, or why he decided to write his story as he did. He always thanks his wife, Tabitha, urging people to stay married, because he feels marriage has given his life joy and stability. This humble man has not forgotten where he came from, despite his success, and always gives thanks to the Constant Readers whose loyalty made him the recognized and beloved author he is today.

Stephen King freely admits to his drug and drinking problems as he became famous, and the pressures of writing books each year for his publisher. This has been discussed through characters in several of his works. He finally kicked the habits of drinking and drugging, and was beginning to take exercise seriously, when life threw him a curve ball. King had a terrible brush with death in the 1999 accident where he was badly injured by a drunk driver while taking his daily walk. He was deeply shaken, and that is still evident in his writing. He seems to have come to terms with it though, at first it was only the anger and pain that was expressed in his work. Later he heals inside and shows a more mature version of himself, and his writing reflects how he has changed.

The Dark Tower Series

Stephen King Dark Tower Collection 8 Books Set (1 to 8 Books Set) (The Gunslinger, the Drawing of the Three, the Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower & [hardcover]The Wind through the Keyhole)
Stephen King Dark Tower Collection 8 Books Set (1 to 8 Books Set) (The Gunslinger, the Drawing of the Three, the Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower & [hardcover]The Wind through the Keyhole)

This is a set of all 8 of the Dark Tower Series I have just written about so lovingly! If you are going to begin reading, you may as well buy them all. This set was not available at the time I originally wrote this hub. Also, you can buy them used to save some money.

 

Stephen King Believes He Is Guided When He Writes

But although a Constant Reader, I never tackled the massive Dark Tower series until recently. I heard that the first book was hard to get through, but after that the stories greatly improved. So I read the first book, The Gunslinger, about two months ago, and put the rest of them on the back burner for a few weeks. I began Book Two around three weeks ago, and have been glued to the Dark Tower series, reading like mad. I finished last week, and am still thinking about this amazing tale, which King considers his magnum opus, and I can see why. He wrote Book One when he was nineteen, (a number which is very important, as is ninety nine) and then continued on to the next three.

The characters in this series have a language of their own, if you ken, but it’s mostly phrases which express social niceties. King was just attracting readers when he wrote the other three Tower books, and was unsure if there was enough interest in these for him to continue writing more. Apparently there was, according to the massive amounts of mail he got begging him to finish the series. So he finished the last three in 2003 and 2004, a more mature man and author than when he began this saga at 19. He revised The Gunslinger by about thirty pages, in order to make it consistent with the last books. The Constant Readers wanted to know if Roland’s quest to reach the Dark Tower succeeded, and if it still stood at the end, because some of the beams it stood upon were broken. They had to be repaired; so many parallel worlds would be saved. Much of civilization and other worlds depended on whether The Tower still stood tall.

Making a commitment to read seven books is a big one, even for someone who reads two or three books a week. So to help travelers who wish to embark on this wondrous journey, which ties in with many of King’s other works, I shall write a small summary of each book, to help you decide if you wish to take the plunge. I think it’s a masterpiece of writing, and really enjoyed seeing characters and villains from other books of King’s in the Dark Tower series. King tells readers that the story is inspired by Robert Browning’s narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.” I loved many of the characters and wanted to see what would happen to them as they joined Roland, not only on his quest to The Dark Tower, but as the last young Gunslinger, or Knight, like those of King Arthur’s Court of the Round Table. He is honor bound to aid others in danger. So the books begin in a time period where the world has “moved on” in a strange way, and changed almost beyond recognition. In some places, terrible wars or actions destroyed much technology, and the people living had to start life over again, the old fashioned way, before technology became so important in daily life. We also get familiar with Roland’s ka-tet, a very tight knit group of people who would lay down their lives for each other. I would call a group such as this a soul group, as they will travel through parallel worlds and alternate time planes during their arduous journey. So, let’s get to the story.

Roland Chases The Man in Black

The Man in Black
The Man in Black | Source

The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain Book 1

The Gunslinger—Book 1—Here the reader is introduced to Roland Deschain of Gilead, son of Steven and Gabrielle, the last Gunslinger, and the tale takes on a western flavor. Roland is obsessed with reaching the Dark Tower, and is chasing the Man in Black, a sorcerer named Walter O’Dim, across the desert to get answers. There are flashbacks to Roland’s past, his experiences with his parents, and the test that he passes to prove his manhood; though very early in life, and in a way that causes him great pain. Along the way he meets a young, blond boy, Jake Chambers, who accompanies Roland for part of the way. Jake vaguely recalls a life in a large city with a green statue of a Lady, Times Square, taxis, private school, and wealthy, but detached parents. Yet much seems unclear to him, and he is unsure of the time frame. Was this another life? As Roland gets closer to the Man in Black, he parts ways with Jake in a disturbing manner, but Jake’s last comment to Roland is, “There are other worlds than these.”

Roland catches up with the Man in Black, who gives him a bizarre tarot card reading. It begins with The Hanged Man, representing Roland, who is stalled in his quest. The Sailor, who drowns, represents Jake. The next card is The Prisoner. The Lady of the Shadows has two faces, for reasons later discovered. The grinning Man in Black next draws the Death card, but pronounces, “Not for you Gunslinger.” These words will come back to haunt Roland many times. The Tower card is next, since this is the point of the quest. The last card in the reading shows a beautiful, clear, blue sky, with dancing cupids and sprites. The Tower is surrounded by red. But is it red blood, or beautiful fields of red roses? Or is it both? The Man in Black tells Roland to imagine that all worlds or universes meet in one nexus, or Tower, and that the Godhead is at the top of this Tower. He asks the Gunslinger if he would dare to climb to the top, to see if above all reality, there is a room. The Man says he is only the emissary of the enchanted Crimson King, who has the power to make this night endless, so the two men can talk, or palaver. He introduces Roland to universes, stars, dark voids, and light so brilliant Roland begs for it to stop. The Man in Black tries to talk Roland out of this quest, and tells him this is not the beginning, only the beginning of its end. But Roland has no intention of giving up. He falls asleep, and awakens to a new day, but is unsure how long he has slept. He walks forward for many miles to find himself on a beach at the ocean.

Susannah, of the Drawing of the Three
Susannah, of the Drawing of the Three | Source
Roland awakens on a beach, and later doors appear to take him to other worlds.
Roland awakens on a beach, and later doors appear to take him to other worlds. | Source

The Drawing of the Three Book 2

The Drawing of the Three—Book II— Roland awakens to crashing ocean waves on the shore, and to horrible, crawling creatures who look like giant lobsters. They attack Roland and bite off two fingers of his right hand, and one of his toes, giving him a serious infection. A few days pass, and Roland is faint, feverish and exhausted. When he experiences such weakness he literally crawls on the beach, he sees a door marked The Prisoner. Behind this door is Eddie Dean, a 21 year old junkie on an airplane, who is also feeling ill, but from his need for more drugs. Roland must get medicine or die, so grabs at the door and goes through. Eddie is carrying a large stash of heroin from the Bahamas to New York. Roland realizes he can see through Eddie’s eyes, and is fascinated by the tall buildings and crowds of New York.

Eddie can feel the presence of another person in his head, especially confusing considering his drugged state. Eddie and Roland can feel and think together now, and face a big shootout from thugs waiting for the drugs Eddie carries. In spite of the fact they are thrown into this very strange situation with little time to get used to it, Roland and Eddie act quickly and work well together. Roland also needs to find some antibiotics. Luckily, the door reappears, and Eddie and Roland rush through it together. They end up on the same beach, Eddie, safe and without the drugs, and Roland, with the needed medication. Roland invites Eddie to be on his quest, and Eddie says yes, as he knows his life is going nowhere. The reader meets the Lady of the Shadows when the next door appears. Odetta Holmes is a black civil rights activist in the 1960’s, also from New York. There is another facet of Odetta’s personality, Detta Walker, a shoplifter and foul mouthed woman, who dislikes white people. Odetta has been harmed twice, once causing her to fall on subway tracks and be hit by a train, losing both legs right below the knee. A brick deliberately falls on her head at another time, causing issues in her personality. Odetta comes through the doorway with Roland and Eddie, but she is unaware of Detta’s presence. Roland finally insists that she face the truth, and when she does, this creates a unified person whom she calls Susannah, though at times of danger or anger, Detta sometimes makes an appearance. So now Roland has drawn the three necessary to begin, as Eddie and Susannah join his quest to face their “ka”, or destiny.

Blaine The Demonic Train, Who Likes Riddles

The Demonic Train in the Wastelands
The Demonic Train in the Wastelands | Source
Psychic Jake, who first figured out that the rose in New York was the most important one.
Psychic Jake, who first figured out that the rose in New York was the most important one. | Source

The Waste Lands Book 3

The Waste Lands—Book III—Now Roland, Eddie, and Susannah journey to Mid-World to move onward in their quest. All kinds of adventures await the ka-tet, many of them dangerous and scary. There is an encounter with a 70 foot high mechanical bear named Shardik, left over from a more technological time. But in finding him they discover an important beam which holds the Tower up at this site, so now our friends can begin following “The Path of the Beam.” The ka-tet must call upon a demon in order to help get Jake Chambers into this world, or this when and where, because Jake is having terrible nightmares back home in New York, and the reader finds that Roland has been having the same dreams. Both of them think they are going crazy, but the dreams stop once they are reunited. However, the demon causes harsh repercussions further in the story. But it is good and necessary to have Jake back, he has strong psychic powers, and his presence helps relieve Roland’s guilt about his earlier departure from Jake. The ka-tet travels through a dying village, battles their way through what seemed like a ghost town, and learns more about Roland’s unusual world. It obviously was highly technological in the past, but is now in a terrible state of deterioration. King pays homage to other famous science fiction authors, such as Richard Adams’ Shardik and Watership Down, and Isaac Asimov’s “positronic” brains in robot stories. King also mentions some of his own characters in other books he wrote, showing that The Dark Tower and its characters were always on his mind whenever he was writing. Roland and the rest are on a demonic train named Blaine, who is still “alive” enough energy wise to give them a ride to where they next need to go. But the price they will pay if they cannot stump Blaine with a riddle is death. We are left with a cliffhanger here, so have the next book ready, to see if Blaine was out smarted. Jake has brought two books with information the ka-tet will need, and understands there is a rose in a pocket park in New York which must be saved at all costs. Jake dreamed of this rose, and his strong intuition tells him that the success of the Gunslinger’s quest may very well rest on the life of this single rose in New York.

Wizard and Glass
Wizard and Glass | Source
Rhea the Witch
Rhea the Witch | Source

Wizard and Glass Book 4

Wizard and Glass—Book IV—This book wraps up the cliffhanger with Blaine, the psychotic, riddle loving monorail who wants to send our heroes to their deaths, and brings the ka-tet where they can finally rest. Jake has been joined by a billy bumbler, a doglike, furry animal which has a psychic connection and strong will to protect Jake, so Oy becomes part of the ka-tet too. Roland makes a campfire, and explains more about his past, telling of his tragic love affair with beautiful and strong Susan Delgado, and his great friends Cuthbert and Alain, the ka-tet of his youth. Roland’s family is of the Royal line of Eld, and is very much respected. After Roland passes his manhood test, his father thinks he should lay low for a while, and sends Roland and his friends to another barony, away from danger. They take aliases and go to Mejis, on a pretend mission to count taxable goods, such as animals and produce, for the Affiliation. But the boys find there are more problems and danger here than at home, that these people have gone over to the side of John Farson, a man who pretends to be good, but who wants to make an armed revolution to destroy the world.

They are moving goods and horses all the time to make the boy’s job more difficult, and to hide their huge arsenal of weapons. Everyone in this barony is under the sway of Farson, including the evil witch Rhea. She has come to hold one of the valuable crystal balls, the pink one, in which she can see future events, and makes trouble for the ka-tet. There are thirteen colored balls, called The Wizard’s Rainbow, one for each of the 12 Guardians, and one representing the nexus-point of the beams. These are weakening, and must be fixed, for if the beam breaks, mankind is doomed. The last one, the black thirteen, stands for the Dark Tower. Some colored balls look into the future, some show demons, and some show doorways into other worlds. Roland’s father warned them that the pink one was rumored to be in Mejis. The boys are working against very evil men, and young and cocky as boys are at that age, are sure they can foil the plot. The first night they arrive in Mejis, Roland meets the beautiful Susan. She has promised to give her virginity to the aging Mayor because he can have no children with his barren wife, and is on her way home from a terrifying and disgusting test to see if this is still her condition by the evil Rhea.

But Susan is beguiled by Roland’s deep blue eyes, and engages in an affair with him before the dreaded date of her assignation with the Mayor. She has no wish to be with the Mayor, but it is a matter of family honor, and blackmail, to get her family’s stolen land back. Rhea’s jealously and hatred for the lovely Susan proves to be a disaster for the ka-tet, as she can see what their future plans are in the pink ball, but only at times. The plot is very intricate, but these characters are so real. Sheemie is a young man who befriends the young Gunslingers, and meets again with Roland later in life. He seems slow witted, but some of that is an act. He tries his best to cover up Roland and Susan’s affair, and at one point Cuthbert saves Sheemie’s life. Roland longs to lead his Gunslinger friends to victory. Alain is gifted with the sight too, and is very serious. Cuthbert is like Eddie in the later ka-tet, always with a smart and witty humor, and Susan is a brave young woman, who realizes her first dream of love, and also realizes how much she has to lose. This book humanizes Roland, maybe in the way only a true love can. Since he is usually the brains behind any mission and lives by the way of the gun, there are times it is hard to reconcile this young man wildly in love, to the cold hearted Gunslinger who can shoot down any enemy without a regret.

This ends the first four volumes. King did not write the last three until almost thirty years later, so if you need a refresher, it may be best to reread them, as the story picks up right as he left off for the most part. They are also available as books on tape or CD.

Fighting the Wolves of the Calla
Fighting the Wolves of the Calla | Source

Wolves of the Calla Book 5

Wolves of the Calla—Book V—The residents of Calla Bryn Sturgis need the Gunslingers to help them, because wolves are kidnapping their children, which are usually sets of twins for some unknown reason. Roland and the ka-tet are duty bound to help those in need, and live in the Calla to get to know the people, so as to form a workable plan. The village is divided about what needs to be done, so the story deals with town politics, intrigue about who is on which side, and the terrible threat to the children. King does a great job making the customs, festivals, culture and traditions of the Calla seemingly very real. Roland even dances the Commala at a town fair, to show he is from the Line of Arthur of Eld, to put the people at ease. The issue at stake is that about every twenty years or so, wolves (or are they real wolves?) come to steal one twin from certain families. This usually happens before puberty. When the twin is returned, their mental capacity is that of a toddler, and they have a painfully agonizing growth spurt, after which the twin dies.

Andy, the messenger robot, is an interesting character, but it is unclear if he is trustworthy either, although he plays a big role in this part. And as time passes, the ka-tet is unsure who they can really count on to help. Also, the members of the ka-tet are traveling back to New York on a pretty regular basis, to check on the development of the rose, to be sure it is still safe. They take drastic measures to do this. They can travel when doorways psychically open for them to go through, or sometimes by todash, which leaves them feeling bewildered. So there is lots of going back and forth in this part of the story. Pere Callahan of ‘Salem’s Lot makes a strong re-appearance in this book, if you recall him from the novel. Roland has formulated a plan to try to trap the wolves, because he believes they are really robots or else just evil people in disguise, and not wolves at all. But there is so much to be unsure about. At this point the book has beautiful illustrations, which this reader really appreciated. In another twist, Susannah is acting very strange, and making disappearances during the night. Both Eddie and Roland are aware of it (Oy too)! But they do not want to confront her about what they believe to be wrong. Will the ka-tet be able to win this fight, when many of the Callas parents seem unwilling to fight for their own children? If they do decide to fight, will they all survive the battle? The women in the Calla throw dishes called Orizas. The stakes keep getting higher and higher, and people in certain time frames in New York are beginning to build on the land near the rose which must be saved, so the ka-tet hatches a scheme to deal with that.

The ka-tet after battling the Wolves-Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy
The ka-tet after battling the Wolves-Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy | Source

Song of Susannah Book 6

Song of Susannah—Book VI—It gets increasingly hard to describe the later books without giving away too much of the story. As soon as Wolves of the Calla is through, a huge “beam quake” hits, which shakes the foundations of all the worlds, putting The Dark Tower in more danger than ever. There was a part of the story where a demon’s help was needed to help bring Jake Chambers into Mid-World for the sake of his sanity, and now it appears that Susannah has been affected in a big way by the demon. It has brought out yet another facet of her personality. Sometimes the mean Detta still comes out, when Susannah has to be tough, or feels threatened, but now she is “Mia” at times. If you recall how Eddie and Roland could see the world through each other’s eyes, now this is the case with Susannah, during the times she is Mia. She ends up going todash in New York with Mia, who understands little of life there, but has needs, using Susannah’s body to satisfy them.

Apparently Susannah/Mia is pregnant with the demon child, who is also partly Roland’s child. What kind of “baby” will this be? Mia thinks of it as her “chap”, and eats rats and any gross thing she can get her hands on. Susannah is not helpless, as Mia needs her to navigate New York, and for other tasks. But the reader does not know what kind of monster Susannah is carrying, and how badly it will hurt her to give birth to what is likely to be a monster. King has also written himself into these books, something this reader thought was brilliant. When the Tower is so tilted it may not stand, Roland and Eddie go through a door (they can psychically make these portals together, all of the ka-tet have heightened powers now). Or at times the doorways between worlds are thin enough that they can be more easily seen. They find writer Stephen King, and approach him. King is slightly drunk at the time, and explains that he was young when he wrote the first book of the series. He was not sure how much interest there would be, since he was a new writer at the time. He has had thoughts of these characters in his imagination for years, but has built up such an epic in his mind, he is afraid of the story. He doesn’t know how to end it. It’s all too much for him. Roland and Eddie beg King to finish the series, and tell him the Tower will fall, along with civilizations. King promises to work on it. But later they see a newspaper article warning that King would be the victim of an accident where he would be perhaps mortally wounded by a van while taking his daily walk, on June 19, 1999. Those terrible numbers! Mia has her “chap”, a hideous spider like monster named Mordred, with huge, jelly like legs, and a tiny pinhead with bright blue eyes like Roland. But he is really the child of the evil Crimson King, who awaits those who dare, at the Dark Tower.

The Dark Tower

The Crimson King and The Dark Tower
The Crimson King and The Dark Tower | Source
Approaching the Dark Tower through the field of roses
Approaching the Dark Tower through the field of roses | Source

The Dark Tower Book 7

The Dark Tower—Book VII—There are still battles to be fought, demons who try to hurt members of the ka-tet, and many other obstacles in the Path of the Beam before any of the characters get to the Dark Tower. And how many members of the ka-tet have lived through all of these terrors? This reader cannot say without spoiling the ending. Having read all seven books, 4,150 pages, it was a long, but fascinating journey. Jake and Roland find a portal to Maine so they can warn Stephen King before his accident happens. They arrive late, but are able to save King from death, if not grave injury, and Roland hypnotizes King to be sure he finishes the series. But where there is joy, there is also sorrow, and by the time Roland gets to the Dark Tower, he has only a mute boy named Patrick who can sketch to accompany him to the Tower itself, which comes in rather handy. This does not mean the whole ka-tet is dead, but there has been much damage done to it. The Dark Tower is surrounded by miles of fields of red roses, as Roland and Jake saw in their dreams. If he wants to enter, Roland still must kill the Crimson King, who is locked out and on a balcony. This is not an impossible task for the Gunslinger. But what awaits Roland inside the Dark Tower? Will it be an accounting of his life? Will it be death? It bears recalling that although Roland lives, mostly anyone who accompanied him on his quests ended up dead. Does Roland get to the top of the Dark Tower? It has been his obsession for over one thousand years, and now he’s near enough to taste it. The odd Tarot reading Walter gave Roland in Book I did have the Death card, but the Man in Black said, “But not for you, Gunslinger.” Could Roland be doomed to repeat the journey over and over, to atone for all those lost along the way? Or will he reach the top and finally make peace with all the tragedy and loss he has unwittingly caused many of the people he truly loved? The whole Robert Browning poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” is printed at the end, and reading it does explain what the true conclusion is. King also gives the reader options. One can read only up to one point, and find out what happened to the other members of the ka-tet, and stop there. King believes his hand unconsciously guides much of his writing, and did not want any readers to be disappointed if Roland got to the top of the Dark Tower and they did not like what he saw there. So it’s up to the Constant Reader to decide if they can face the truth Roland must accept at the top of the Dark Tower.

“Hile, we have been well met. Long days and pleasant nights.”

© 2012 Jean Bakula

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Comments 28 comments

Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi!

I do enjoy his short stories, probably Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, though Morgan Freeman's narration in the movie makes it shine. I think that was in Different Seasons. The smaller novels, not so much, I guess it's hard to develop a story too fast, though I know King has worked hard to bring the short story back into literature. He began his career by getting his stories printed in magazines. I read somewhere he got so discouraged after he wrote Carrie, that he threw it in the trash. He and his wife and 2 kids (before Owen) were living in a trailer, no money, and he was teaching English by day and being a busboy at night. The kids were sick and they needed money for antibiotics. The agent called and bought Carrie for $3,000.00, and the rest is history! Good thing Tabby had the sense to take the manuscript out of the trash. I notice that most of his books don't translate well into movies either. I guess nothing is as scary as in our imaginations. I love Bag of Bones. It's a ghostly love story, and it was before his accident, and he was really coming into his own by then. There is also a hub on here about SK and it tells you how to tell if you have first editions. I found out from it that I had 3! Take care!


jdw7979 profile image

jdw7979 3 years ago from Middle America

I will have to look for Lisey's Story and will get back to you once I finish with The Dark Tower. King's mind really is so vast, it truly is spooky at times.

I enjoy how he connects certain stories as well.. Do you enjoy his short stories or smaller novels?


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

I know what you mean, it took me a long time to read the series. And the first book is--I hate to say boring--but seems slow. But it is short (for SK) and it is important, read the details carefully. I read fast, and breezed through it fast, and had to go back a few times for details. King showed a remarkable continuity to the story, and we find that most of his work is really an extension of The Tower. Have you read Lisey's Story? Her husband had a "special place" he could go to, again on an alternate plane, and this theme occurs in much of King's work. I've gone back to read some old ones, as some were directly about characters in the Tower series. Good luck, and you can do it one book at a time! Let me know how you like it when you're done!


jdw7979 profile image

jdw7979 3 years ago from Middle America

I am a fan of King's work and have always been a bit intimidated or standoffish in regards to tackling his Dark Tower series.

You have sold me on doing so.. Thank you and great hub!!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi mercuryservices,

Yes, he does. I think that's what I enjoy about him the most. When the character is humming a song I know and like, or just thinking something like the random thoughts I get in my head, I appreciate that about King. He has a lot of detractors, but I think they are just jealous. King's characters are believable, and I suspect there is a lot of himself in many of them.


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Stephen King keeps it real with his characters.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello elizabethbickle,

I think that one was my least favorite. King does tend to go on and on! If you ever have time I think you would enjoy the rest. If you've read this t hread, you'll see King left the ending ambiguous, but I don't think that's a bad thing, we don't need to spoon fed everything. I chose to believe Roland went to the top of the Tower to face the/his demons, after all, his quest took 1,000 years! Best wishes.


elizabethbickle profile image

elizabethbickle 3 years ago from Spanish Fork

I have read a few of the Dark Tower books and I love them even though I am not done with the series. I have been reading one book, not sure which one it has been that long, I know it has to do with the Demonic train. Anyway, I haven't picked up the book since about 2007. Thank you for your review however I only went as far as I have read myself.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

I like Joe best, a good book of his short stories is 20th Century Ghosts. The stories are not all horror. I looked at reviews on Amazon, and many love Owen's stuff, perhaps I just read one with a story I didn't like. There's a great site called Goodreads.com, where you can read reviews and even keep track of what you read. They also let you post a link to your work here, if you do a book review or can think of a way to leave yourself a backlink to HP. Best Wishes.


Ghost32 3 years ago

Heh! I didn't know about the sons at all. Thanks for the heads up!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

A lot of authors and people who write TV shows are doing that now, I was disappointed with Lost and the Sopranos, and don't usually watch much TV. I chose to believe Roland did go to the top of the Tower and face whatever it was, but can understand your frustration with the ending. King normally writes about alternate planes of existence, so he could have had Roland do different things at the end, and it would have at least been an end! Right after I finished the series, I bought The Wind in the Keyhole, I thought it was a continuation of The Tower and maybe there would be more answers. But it's set back around the time of the middle of the Tower series, and is just about Roland telling a story about his boyhood ka-tet. I guess he gets away with it because he's SK, but it's not fair. I have a Kindle now, and think he's raiding his safe and releasing all his papers from High School to be sold as short e-books on Amazon. Don't waste your money on that. His older son goes by the name Joe Hill, and he's a good writer, some horror, but not all. The younger son is Owen, and I read Double Feature, which was awful. Take care.


Ghost32 3 years ago

Jean: Sorry about taking 11 months to respond. :)

What I hated about the ending was the way King copped out. He didn't write an ending at all, just turned it into and endless loop, and around and around Roland goes.

Well, BLEEP that. To me, that was done just because he couldn't come up with a workable ending, so....

No resolution = no ending, in my book.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello,

I think you will enjoy it. King rewrote about 25 pages of the first book, to make it more in line with the huge storyline it became. I thought the first one was a little slow moving, but pay attention, it's more important than it appears on the surface. Especially the Tarot card reading Roland gets from the Man In Black. I'm a tarot reader myself, and didn't even take it that seriously. It is a big commitment, but I know when I read most of King's work, the pages fly. I read it last summer. I hope you have fun with it. The way King wrote himself in about his accident was really neat, and I'm sure he had some demons to get out about that. Best Wishes and thanks for writing!


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findwholeness 3 years ago from Midwest

I am about to start this series, as soon as I'm done reading Lev Grossman's "The Magicians." You are not the first person to have good things to say about it. I'm excited to dive in. :)


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Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

I forgot the Shawshank Redemption. I can watch that movie 100 times and love it. It was a great short story of SK's, but Morgan Freeman really brings it to life in the movie! There are some I never read, like The Stand. I have it on my Kindle waiting though. And he's still writing. Have you read any of his son's stuff? He goes by the pen name Joe Hill. He did a nice book of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts. He's not just about horror, seems more sentimental than Dad, so some of the stories are romantic and different. Anyway, good luck plodding through the Dome, it's a thick book!


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kohuether 3 years ago from New Hampshire

He is the best! I LOVED The Shining, Misery, and Shawshank Redemption on film the best. The ending in the novel of The Shining was terrible. They changed it for the movie! I am so glad they did - I wouldn't have liked the movie as much. I do agree that his movies don't always translate well. I still have a ton of King books I haven't read yet, he's so prolific.


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Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi kohuether,

I read King for many years before I tackled the Tower, but was happy I did. Some people thought it was arrogant that he wrote himself into the story, but as he admitted to his alcohol issues and portrayed himself pretty much the way he is, I thought it was really neat! You many like the end of The Dome, I won't spoil it for you. Everybody is different. I do find that much of his work doesn't translate as well in the movies, with the exception of Christine, long ago. I love Bag of Bones, and It. King is still the best!


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kohuether 3 years ago from New Hampshire

I love this series so, so much. King is one of my favorite authors and this series is the best of the best as far as I am concerned. I loved how you put so much care into putting this together.

Oh man, I've been worried that Under the Dome was going to end in a lame way. Don't tell me what happened - I am about halfway through. Oh no! I love King but sometimes his endings leave a lot to be desired.


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Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting! I hear SK is making a movie from Under the Dome. That was one of my least favorites, there were way too many characters (even from SK) and the ending was lame, but I don't want to spoil it.


Lilly Marin 3 years ago

I love Stephen King, and The Tower books are great! Thanks for a great review!


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Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thank you for reading and commenting. I had concerns about the length, but I hate to break down a piece about one subject, such as this series, as you probably know by now. I have always been moved by King's honesty and thanks to his readers, I think his messages are very sweet, and that he is famous enough that he doesn't have to take the time to let us in on these matters of his life. But he does, and it humanizes him so much. I thought Bag of Bones was one of his best, it was before his accident, and he was showing a new maturity. I believe I have a review on it on Helium, a site which is a big ripoff. Thanks for visiting.


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Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thanks Jake. I've gone back to some of King's older books, especially Insomnia, and it has a lot of tie-ins to The Tower and the Crimson King. Clearly King always had this tale somewhere in the back of his mind. Salem's Lot has a few incidents with Father Callahan of Wolves of the Calla too. Take care.


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JakeFrost 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

I've always loved Stephen King, some great reviews here!


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Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

He does do that. I enjoyed the books. Did you see or are you familiar with the show Lost that was popular for a few years? There was a plane crash, and a group of survivors were together on a weird island, where all the best scientists were trying to create a Utopean society. But it got into time changes and parallel universes, and after the show ran for about 4 yrs. , JJ Abrams, one of the writers, became a media darling. But I kept thinking of Lost as I read these books. I told my family that the writers of Lost should have brought King in to write the ending. But both stories had a lot in common, with people dying and living in alternate planes of time. I guess you build up a story to be so much, there isn't too many ways it can end, except to leave the characters to wonder how they would have done things differently.


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Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this great review(s). King has inspired many imitators.if you like him he is great. he delivers what his audience likes


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Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

@ Ghost32 People do have varied reactions. What is it that you disliked so much, if you don't mind my asking?

@ againsttheodds, Hi, are you thinking of Wind Through the Keyhole? I bought it when I saw it in the store when I was almost done reading Dark Tower. I hoped I would find out what the katet went on to do, since they can live in other worlds. It's not a "new" story, it fits in sort of between Books 4 and 5, and is just a break when Roland tells the rest more stories about his life. It's good, but not what I hoped it would be. Thanks for commenting. If that's what you mean by Book 8, you'll be disappointed. King should have written it was not a continuation, just other stories from Roland's barony somwhere, maybe in a subtitle on the cover.


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againsttheodds 4 years ago

There is a new one just released - Book 8.


Ghost32 4 years ago

I read Stephen King for many, many years--but quit after finishing the Dark Tower series. HATED the ending. If that's the best he can do when guided, he needs a new guide.

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