Duma Key was very good, as was 1963
After getting through the first few books of the Dark Tower, I realized all the inter-connections with his other work. So I read everything connected (which except for the really obvious ones like Talisman/Black House, maybe Insomnia, aren’t really all that connected). Then he finally finished the series. And I read the ‘last’ chapter that he warns you not to read. Heed the warning. I will never read anything by King again.
The end of the Dark Towers books is almost bold in its lameness.
On reflection I found the ending much less infuriating than most. Almost fitting even. It has crushing despair but with a heavily implied hint of eventual salvation. It’s cheeky as hell, but I ended up ok with it after a while.
Just think of the whole business as a roguelike that Roland might win someday. [emoji14]
Ha, I like that.
My take on King is that a little goes a long ways. King’s success prevented more editorial control over IT, which was a bloated mess with a truly horrible ending.
I felt the ending was good, and was willing to get over the end of their childhood bit to escape. What I liked about the ending was the apocalyptic sense of it with regards to ITs relationship to Derry.
It also helped lead into his next book, Misery, which needed to be more intimate in its horror.
This made me laugh.
I still love the dark tower series, but yes, the ending was magnificently lame.
The ACTUAL ending actually isn’t that bad, with Roland in the tower… but the thing with the crimson king was lame to the point of absurdity. I remember reading it and being like, “Oh… what? Come on. No. Wait, what? WHAT?”
On some level, I’m not really sure how it could have ended in a satisfying way. It was a journey of decades… any ending was going to be anticlimactic.
In the end, King just needed to finish it, because it was basically killing him.
Oh man, that Crimson King finale! What a trainwreck after building up a showdown with the Devil…for decades…and we get Phantasm nonsense and, never mind, can’t figure out spoiler tags.
And after building up Randall Flagg as an enemy for so long, when there was no need to resurrect him after the Stand (and his character is pretty different than the walking dude, anyway, he deserved a lot better.
And creating Mordred, who was completely unnecessary and added nothing but stupidity?
Jesus, just a train wreck. And so disappointing after the start the series had. The first 3 books may not have made a ton of sensel, but they were a lot of fun.
Yeah, the first was just a magnificent, atmospheric, blast of a book. The next two were pretty decent as well, even if they sapped away a lot of the original mystique.
But man, the series really went downhill quickly. I made it through the to the end pretty much by gritting my teeth.
Maybe I am misremembering, but wasn’t book 4 Wizard and Glass? I really liked that one.
Yeah, book 4 was pretty good though there were some weak parts in it. Honestly, even the horrible book 6 (guest-starring Stephen King as himself!) had some decent sequences…
And that’s that’s the terrible thing: you’re reading this weird morass of mythologies from a dozen stand-alone books that King is asking you to accept as part of a greater whole; bringing himself into the mix and asking you to still care about the characters when it’s clear that they are in fact literally running through the standard tropes of the hero’s journey; and generally making a hash of previously-beloved books. And still - STILL! - you’re reading it and thinking, “man, this plot is crap, but wow I really enjoy reading his prose!”
Well, I personally loved the forth book, [I]Wizard and Glass[/I]. It has the most coherent plot of all of them and went a long ways to help develop Roland as a character and define his motivation. I may be in the minority, but I also liked [I]Wolves of the Calla[/I]. It had a neat “save the town from the evil that has been menacing the town for decades” plot that I liked, even if it felt like an unnecessary tangent that did not move the plot forward. If I had to rate the books from best to worst, I would go 4, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 6. YMMV, of course.
I gave up on that terrible series when Thomas the Tank Engine started paying riddles in the dark with them. The first book was intriguing but it went down hill real fast.
I liked Wolves of the Calla a lot more when it was the Seven Samurai, and slight more when it was The Magnificent Seven. But the problem with those later books isn’t that King isn’t original or doesn’t have lots of cool ideas and scenes - it’s just that they’re so bloated and would greatly benefit if they were well edited for coherency and to restrain King’s indulgences, like his earlier books were.
lol, this thread made me have a discussion about this with a friend…
The Crimson King was built up, not only in the dark tower series, but in a TON of other books, as the ultimate badass of the universe. He was the dude who was freaking destroying the entire multiverse.
Spoilers which aren’t actually spoilers because they are such massively stupid things
Then he turned out to be a random crazy dude throwing little harry potter snitches? That’s not even some kind of analogy I’m making, that’s LITERALLY what fucking happens. Literally snitches from harry potter.
Also, my buddy said a similar thing about Flagg… The walking dude dies to a spider monster baby, almost randomly. Another ultimate evil character who exists in a huge number of King’s books, and dies in what is possibly the most anti-climactic manner possible.
Regardless, still one of my favorite series ever… I’m willing to look past some of the stupid stuff, because so much of the series was so good. While the first few books might not “make sense” in the most literal fashion, King absolutely does create a very cool world that the dark tower takes place in. The fact that the world is such a weird mix of the familiar and the alien, and arching over not just vast distances but seemingly huge periods of time, while still feeling somehow believable, is what makes the series so amazing.
Yeah, that’s another issue with The Dark Tower series. King had just started getting into Harry Potter in a serious way and he decided to use specific elements of that in Dark Tower’s later books that really took me out of it.
Then the whole thing where King was like, “Hey, I’m totally Roland in our universe!”
No you’re not, dude. If Roland’s anyone, he’s freaking Clint Eastwood.
I loved IT-- up until the sewers. He totally nailed what it was like being a kid who got the shit kicked out of him. My friends and I had our own version of the Barrens, and when I read IT, I think back on those days.
That said, I think the book is weak in two areas: the adult years, and the sewers (maybe 2.5 ways). I think the book would have been a lot stronger if the kids just tossed off IT and were done with it. Also, the gangbang scene I’m surprised his wife let through,
Weren’t those balls from Phantasm, not Harry Potter?