From the Mailbox

rfdc reader Martin, currently reading the Dune series, sent me a note asking about Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and why the heck I don’t have a search function for old posts.

I used to have a search function, but for some reason, after I switched to the current implementation of the Thesis engine, it stopped functioning correctly. I disabled with with a note to look into getting it working again, and just never got around to it. I’ve made a (new) note and will try to get it up and running soon(ish).

As for The Dark Tower series, it remains one of my favorite series ever. Martin’s comment, however, was shared by a lot of people when the final book of the series wrapped the story up:

what Roland finds is a case of “what happens when a writer doesn’t know how to end a series”

It’s been a while since I read the series, and I have been meaning to do a re-read and series review like I did with the Dune and Harry Potter books, but there’s been too much on my plate (like the series review of Mistborn, thanks Nick and Brian for finally shoving my face in the first of the trilogy!) to take on another 7 (8? I forget exactly how many books are in The Dark Tower series) book read.

Suffice it to say this for now… I remember that I wasn’t all that irked by the ending of the final book. I understood what people were getting at, but it didn’t really bother me as much as it seemed to bother other folks. That said, the ending was also entirely forgettable, which I think is actually a bigger problem. I remember the criticism of the ending better than the ending itself. In fact, I had to do a bit of research to jog my aging brain as to what actually happened in those final pages.

And while that is a tremendous problem, it’s a problem that I think King has suffered from throughout his career, especially in his early years. Even Duma Key, one of his best and most recent books, has an ending that seems completely contradictory in tone and intent than the rest of the book.

Anyone familiar with King, I think, would not have been surprised how The Dark Tower series wound up. I know I wasn’t. Disappointed, perhaps, especially after the equivalent length of about 5 Lord of the Rings trilogies, but not surprised.

2 thoughts on “From the Mailbox

  1. hehe see now, I thought King’s subplots added a great deal of dimension to the main characters. Going to have to add this series to my summer reading queue I think so I can refresh it all in my head.

    Also, one of my favorite opening lines of all time… lets see if I can get it exactly without looking it up:

    “The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”

  2. Please, please do not get me started about the Dark Tower series. I loved it so much…and then slowly but surely it began this painful downhill slide into failsauce.

    I ended up refusing to read Song of Susannah (or whatever the hell it was called) because that entire fucking story line was just stupid. In the end, I was so irritated by it, that I refused to read the last book, and instead made Jay tell me how it ended.

    Boo.

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