I loved each one of the books in this series - the first was a little slow going but things really pick up in the second installment. # 7 was a great finish to a wonderful story...would recommend this to anyone. I can't wait for the movies although I do have doubts that they'll do justice to the books. Enjoy!
After a hundred hours of listening... Wow. Great story.
I wish I didn't listen to the ending for Roland... King warned me not to!
Kudos and thanks.
I haven't been as big a fan of this series as others. While King as always creates fascinating, vivid scenes, I haven't felt like he was going anywhere with it or doing anything other than showing pretty snapshots of old west fantasies. The last two books started having more of a purpose, revealing King's obsession, so that Stephen King became the main character in the series even before the trippy plot devices that began working King into his own story. It seems obvious that King had no idea why he was writing this, and eventually realized that the writing of it was the only reason for it, and he worked that into the series.
Which all leads to this novel, which tries to tie together all the various plots and characters and motivations and themes and everything that seemed like an organic jumble of random impulses through the rest of the series. In some ways he fails to make it all convincing, but in others he pulls together enough of the major themes to make the whole series work. The characters all wind up with purposes--except a villain or two that King conveniently writes away--and you feel at the end that King found a way to end the series.
What you don't feel is that King actually ever figured out why he wrote it, or why Roland obsessed him to such a degree. The story that comes out is good and ties it all together with King's beauty and surrealism, but there is no great revelation that explains King's passion.
There are two endings, as others have said. You can bail out after the first, or read to the "bitter" end. I liked the "bitter" end, and think it captures King's whole obsessive dilemma with this story, and even includes a commentary on all fiction if one works at it. The ending is about King as well as Roland, and to me it makes the whole thing worthwhile, as much for what it reveals about King's idea of "The Story" as for anything it fulfills within the story.
Not perfect, but still a five. Certainly his most revealing work.
When I finished this, I felt that I had seen (or remembered) a view of hell. It stuck with me almost too much. I believe King has had some bad experiences, (haven't we all) that come through in a clear picture in the end of this book. Have I been there? Why did Nietzsche get lost? Recommended, but not for the faint of heart..
This was one series I could not wait to finish ... and I don't mean that in a good way. It started strong with book 1, but after 7 books it was clear the SK did not have any real plan or direction for the completion of the tale. It reminded of what programmers call spaghetti code, code hashed together, pieces at a time, somehow working, but no one really knows how or why. One last point, an author should be concerned, when the only way to conclude the story is to put himself into it as a primary character.
let's face it: if you're thinking about getting this book, you must have already listened to, or read the previous six books in the series. so if i were to say "the ending is terrible. don't get it" you'd get it anyway. i mean, who would watch a movie then leave with five minutes remaining just because someone told them that the ending sucked? not me. so get it and listen. the narrator is great. the story is great. then before the ending, a disclaimer by the author not to read on (yeah, right!). it's the journey that really matters. well, yes and no. i look at this series as a great journey that ended poorly. get it, enjoy it, and....i told you so.
I've read a lot of Stephen King over the years and enjoyed most of what I read. The Dark Tower series however, has been a special treat. I came into it late, drawn to it via the Talisman. Once started I have been unable to stop. DT VII is the best of the lot, with DT III a close second. Roland is his most human and most endearing in this last part of the story. His Katet family each shows his or her greatness, proving to be real gunslingers in their own right.
As to the ending, it was a twist that I just about expected. Though it does raise a lot of questions about the character of Roland's universe. I guess I preferred the ending before the ending. Still, it is a great book and the audible version is very well read.
It hurt coming to the end, but the end was worth it. I've followed this story both written and in audio format for years. If you've reached this far, you'll be both pleased and dissapointed in the finality of the tale.