King is at his best here. I am a romantic as well as a sci-fi/horror fan and King can masterfully multitask in both areas simultaneously. The insight into Rolands past is invaluable to fans of the Dark Tower series (and readers of The Stand will find a bit for themselves as well in this work).
I have been an avid fan of Stephen King's since I read my first novel about 15 years ago (Thinner). He is right on par with his usually vivid desciptions in this volume of the dark tower, but he is out of character in drawing out the story. I have already read and listenend to the second volume of this series, The Drawing of the Three (OUTSTANDING), and I now understand all of the fine points of this text. This book is a must read/hear for the rest of an outstaning series although it is just "good" compare to King's usual work. Trust me, once you hear volume II, you will be hooked.
This was well worth the effort it took to get through the first volume of the dark tower. I was on the edge of my seat and my commute became an anticipated event rather than a horror pushing me toward road rage. I can't wait to hear the wastelands (III)
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