Sure hope so. While I have a lot of affection for some of the other books (like Wizard & Glass), the first book with its moody atmospherics is my favorite.
I think The Wasteland will always be my favorite. Though, Wolves of the Calla has some great moments too
The wasteland is up there, but I think the original Gunslinger is my favorite of the series. The depiction of Roland’s training was so cool.
Put me in the camp that the entire thing is weaker than a lot of other King books, but Wasteland and the original Gunslinger were my favorites, and I essentially despised books 6 and 7. 5 was o.k., but it was really a stand alone Seven Samurai homage that was bloated and indulgent.
And that’s really the problem with the entire series - none of it is coherent or capable of withstanding any logical scrutiny, so you’re left with a few decent character moments and scenes quilted awkwardly together into a larger story that makes little sense. And rationalizes King’s own car accident.
I actually read the revised version of The Gunslinger, which King rewrote to make fit better into the setting once he’d further developed it, to remove certain inconsistencies. I’d actually like to one day read the original version of the novel, or listen to it on audiobook.
Drawing of the Three is also good, and has my favorite scene in the entire series - with the Lobstrosities that mutilate a major character in a pretty shocking scene at the beginning of the book. I love the Lobstrosities. And the strange creatures from “the Mist” that appear in Wasteland at the beginning of the train ride.
Man, I read and was bored to tears by The Gunslinger a decade or so ago when I was trying to develop a proper appreciation for Demons and Wizard’s Touched By the Crimson King.
Gunslinger, Drawing of the Three, and Wasteland are about it for me. The rest of the series varies from “okay” to “ugh”.
This is me as well. I think I’ve warmed a bit to Wizard and Glass(even though it’s really just a giant flashback), but everything after just feels like a different author.
It really should feel like a different author. Wizard and Glass is 8 years after III and 15 after The Gunslinger, which was already an “old” book when publisher. Gunslinger feels a lot like a lot of 70s King output (through Bachman). I feel like I can sense differences even from Gunslinger to Wasteland. But they get bigger once you get into the 2000s books.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone explain why they hated Wizard and the Glass. If it’s because it’s mostly Flashback, I can understand that. I thought the flashback was pretty interesting. Roland’s “choice” to continue to pursue the tower didn’t make sense logistically from what I recall but was in keeping with the series (and ultimately Roland’s greatest flaw, that he gave up his soul for the Tower which was the “wrong way”). I thought it was a good, fitting, adventure story even if it was a little frustrating to get so little “forward progress” after Wasteland. I am curious if people have other objections to Wizard.
I don’t have the hate for the later books. But they are uneven. I think parts are great and parts don’t work. Mordred never quite did. And I didn’t enjoy King showing up as King in a King book. Also, I felt like there was something unsettled from the end of Black Talisman through the rest of the Dark Tower series, but I can’t remember what any more.
I didn’t hate Wizard and Glass, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I think I was annoyed by all the Wizard of Oz stuff more than anything.
I’m quite fond of Wizard, but have heard a lot of complaints.
It’s been what, 20 years since Wizard and Glass was published? I remember really liking it but the details are hazy (try again later).
Wizard and Glass is my favorite single book out of the lot. I prefer the main arc overall - lots of cool stuff there - but as a one off it’s one of King’s best written novels, period, and absolutely heartbreaking. And yeah, unfortunately, when he came back to the series many years afterwards and churned the last three (plus Wind in the Keyhole) out in rapid succession the quality suffered dramatically. (And of course, it was post-alcohol/post-accident King, which marked a significant shift in his output. Not a unilateral drop - I adore Duma Key, for example, which is one of his post-drinking books - but a shift for sure.)
I was surprised by how much I really liked Doctor Sleep.
His son, Joe Hill, is probably my current favorite.
For me, two biggest flaws with the Dark Tower:
Mordred ended up being a pretty pathetic nothing character, almost golem-esque. Kind of weak, and not really in line with what I think he was originally conceived to be. A lot of critical stuff went into bringing him into the world, and then…
spider baby who does mostly nothing, kills Oy, then dies? Lame.
Likewise, Crimson King was a massive disappointment. Built up through the entire series, indeed through books throughout King’s entire collection of works, to be this great ultimate evil… leading the breakers who were literally tasked with destruction of the entire universe. And then…
crazy shrieking old man, throwing harry potter quiddich snitches at Roland? And then being erased into floating eyeballs? THAT was the guy who was gonna destroy the universe? That’s totally absurd. He was just a crazy old dude.
It was just so anti climactic.
That being said, the final ultimate ending of it was not bad, if I accept that after reading the series over a period of, I dunno, decades? it was gonna be hard for it to really end cleanly.
Like I said though, it definitely felt like King was just trying to finish it and get it done… I think he was struggling with it a lot.
The Gunslinger was his first book, wasn’t it? Maybe not the first one that got published, but I seem to recall that he started writing it when he was still in college.
Wasn’t that the one that the one where the old witch fingered the young girl? Talk about eww. NSFW
It’s been too long since I’ve read them to remember many specific details, but I do remember having to force myself to finish the series just to be done with it due to my dislike of so many parts. I grew to truly hate the way the Detta character was written, and King writing himself into his book was (IMO) the worse kind of self-indulgence. I have to admit that I did like how it ended, but I haven’t picked up a King book since finishing this series over 5 years ago, despite owning 20 read and 12 unread King books on my bookshelves.
The self-insert is pretty bad, yup. As is the way he adds certain pop culture references in at least Wolves of the Calla and I think maybe one or both of the subsequent books but it’s been a while.
The snitches show up in all of books 5-7 as I recall. And of course the Wolves of Thunderclap are Dr Doom bots, some of King’s books show up (as a precursor to King, of course). There are a few others lesser ones I think. This stuff didn’t work as well as e.g. the Kansas City Monarchs, or the car Roland and Jake cite at the Waystation that’s some fictional model/make from a real life company. IMO.
The pop culture references aren’t bad, as they create this notion that we’re just another one of the worlds tied together by the tower.
I found them very jarring and immersion-breaking, myself. But not as bad as him actually putting himself in the book, granted.