The Dark Tower Series

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:31 am



How's it going Ringo? I've had a slow start to book five because of events outside of my control. Hopefully I'll be able to dive in soon.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:52 am

33% I think - liking it so far Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:09 am

That's good, you're going to love the ending then. I'm about 10 percent into book 5. The more I read, the more I'm starting to connect things in other King stories to elements I'm learning about in The Dark Tower.

For example, near the end of book 4 I realized that the fog cloud in The Mist is most likely a thinny. And the traveling between worlds in The Langoliers seems more in line with King's universe than I ever considered. And I've a hunch that the Langoliers are probably
Spoiler:
creatures from Todash space.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:53 pm

http://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/newsuks-centre-for-process-innovation-reveals-windowless-aircraft-concept-4419290

A "windowless aircraft" - reminds me of a certain mono, not sure I would've enjoyed such an experience Laughing Almost 70% into book 4 now, things are starting to happen. I'll post my thoughts on it when I'm done, but I've enjoyed the book a lot so far, and based on your spoiler-free review I suspect we disagree somewhat about it, but we'll see Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:43 pm

Hi Ringo. Smile I'm almost halfway through book 5.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:35 am

Only 5% left of book 4! Might finish it tonight, if I can stay awake Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:26 am

Cheerleader Cheerleader Cheerleader Cheerleader Cheerleader
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:42 pm

Finished it yesterday Very Happy  Added a few comments to what you wrote in the spoiler tag, bungo

bungobaggins wrote:Ka like the wind.

I think I'll start with some general remarks that are spoiler free.

This was a tough read for me. To put the entire quest on hold for 700 pages is a bold move IMO, and while we do learn some important things about Roland, I feel like the execution of it is a bit off. There might be a better way to incorporate Roland's past into the story without putting a halt on everything else; maybe introducing bits of the story in a piecemeal fashion instead of dumping it on the reader all at once. Perhaps deliver the important information within the story and make a fleshed out version in an entire book that is optional to the series. Shrugging These are just suggestions, and I'm sure King has a better idea about what he's doing than I do.

Roland just never seemed like the type to just lay it all out for everyone to know. He always seemed private and more reserved, cold. So him exposing this important part of his past to the ka-tet seems out of character. But perhaps it is because they are now ka-tet he feels he can share it with them.

Spoilers follow.

Spoiler:
Cuthbert has a great line towards the end of the novel.
"Waiting," Cuthbert said. "That's what most of our time in Mejis has been about, and it's the thing I do worst."

This really struck a chord with me because I really felt I had been waiting this whole book for something to happen. The story is mostly predictable once the basic parameters are set up:

  • Roland meets Susan.
  • Forbidden love.
  • Attempt to resist temptation.
  • Forbidden love is consecrated.
  • Everything goes to hell because of it.

It's terribly obvious from the start that Susan will die. Or at least it was for me. It's just a matter of getting to it. There's just no tension there. We know Bilbo survives The Hobbit movies, no tension. I also found it difficult to care for her character. The "young-and-oh-so-pretty" type are rarely interesting. And I think the fact that it is mostly a romance story turns me off.

It was pretty obvious that she would die, but I still thought there was tension there, especially toward the end. I agree about the romance bit, though, I didn't start reading a book called The Gunslinger to read love stories. That being said, I enjoyed the book on the whole, especially Alain and Cuthbert (Cuthbert in particular).

From the Afterword:
I knew that Wizard and Glass meant doubling back to Roland's young days, and to his first love affair, and I was scared to death of that story. Suspense is relatively easy, at least for me; love is hard.

I do like reading suspense, which is why I like King, but I don't like love stories.

Now for specific things I did not like:

-Too many characters. I imagine that this is roughly what it's like to read Under the Dome. Too many characters and not enough happening.


-Long sections without action, or at least an attempt to move the story forward. This was a big problem for me during the first half of the book, after the middle section when the narrative returns to Kansas for a few pages, things to tend to pick up. And the last couple hundred pages went by fairly quickly. But just that opening and middle were quite dull IMO.

This was my problem with the first half of book 3, and I felt the same way about parts of book 4. Oddly enough, when things begin to happen I actually appreciate the slow build-up, both in the third and the fourth book. The slow progress builds tension, or it does for me at any rate.

-Underdeveloped characters making strange decisions. Notably Olive Thorin helping Susan escape at the last minute. Where the hell did that come from?

Agreed, and it's probably a result of what you said first - too many characters.

-Smart characters making dumb decisions. Roland has Susan stay with Sheemie in the Bad Grass was probably one of the worst options they could have chosen. A better option would have them take fast horses, ditch the mule, and ride toward Gilead at night before Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain ride out to meet Farson's men. Instead they're literally sitting ducks.

Duh, they're fourteen, give 'em a break Very Happy

-The angry mob. This is a tired King trope. A group of what is typically rational, kind people (typically led by a complete loony, in this case Rhea), turned blood thirsty. Off the top of my head I can name at least three other King stories with angry mob scenes: The Mist, The Stand, Under the Dome.

These books are actually the first King books I've read, so I wouldn't know. I've seen a couple of films based on books of his, but it's been a while and I'm guessing it doesn't count much anyway.

-The MacGuffin. Let's be honest with ourselves, it's basically a palantir.

Laughing

Note that the last half of the book is fresh in my mind, which is why my examples are coming from there. So although the pace picks up in the second half, there are still things there that I don't like.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things I liked:

-Tying the story of The Stand into the books current events. The Stand is my favorite King book, so to see the world ravaged by Captain Trips was really nice. It felt familiar, and like I knew something that the characters didn't. And to have the Walkin' Dude be called Randall Flagg sent a little shiver down my spine. It's pretty clear by now, to me, that he's some sort of embodiment of evil within King's universe.

-The Wizard of Oz and other cultural references. I like when Stephen King brings in elements of pop culture into his writing. It makes it uniquely American, IMO. Loved the red shoes for the entire ka-tet, even Oy. Very Happy Even little things like Arthur Eld = King Arthur, Maerlyn = Merlin add a little bit of depth to these worlds, as if there is a shared mythology. Also noted in references to the Man Jesus's cross, etc.

I liked this a lot as well, though I guess I'm missing out on a lot of the references since I didn't grow up in the US. It is, no doubt, a very American book Very Happy

-Getting back to our original ka-tet at the end. It felt like returning to old friends I hadn't seen in years. And there's such a strong camaraderie between them at this point. They will do anything for each other to get to the journey's end. Which is also why I'm afraid for them. I'm scared about what could happen in book 7. I don't want to lose any of these characters. Sad

I feel the same way, I'm actually worried about what Roland will do, knowing by now what he is capable of. He does seem to have had a change of heart by he end of book 4, so who knows (though I'm guessing a visual of the Tower itself would reverse that change pretty much instantly Laughing )

-King is good at establishing strong relationships between characters. Roland's first ka-tet felt natural, like ka was really drawing Roland, Cuthbert, Alain, Susan, and Sheemie together. I really liked when they formed their ka-tet near the end of the book. Too bad it didn't last.

I don't know, I was never really convinced that Susan and Sheemie belonged in the ka-tet. Susan was no doubt tied to Roland and he to her, Sheemie had an affection for Cuthbert, but Alain was a fifth wheel on the wagon.

So overall it wasn't bad. If I had to grade it, I'd say 3.9/5. Doesn't quite make a 4/5 for me, but it's close. King is a good story-teller and I can't knock him points for that.

"Hile! Hile!" he screamed in a ringing, carrying voice. "To me, gunslingers! To me! Ride them down! No Prisoners!"

That's a scene I'd love to see onscreen some day Very Happy

You said it was a bold move to put the entire story on hold the way he does, and it is. But I liked it, and I actually wanted more at the end - what happened to Alain and Cuthbert? Will we ever know? We probably will, and by the looks of things it won't be pretty. What happened to Roland's father, and Gilead? Why not give us more Walter? And the crazy priestess from Tull? All these questions! Mad

I think it was necessary to dedicate a whole book to tell this story, splitting it up would only have made it more confusing. Making it an optional book like The Wind Through the Keyhole would've been a good idea, I guess, but guessing and thinking doesn't help much now anyway Smile  I got to say, however, I thought his telling of the story was a bit too
timely - a few hours after he's told them the whole thing they stumble upon the glass, see Rhea in it, the gate with the thirteen rainbow thingys. It's a coincidence almost on par with Voldemort's habbit of appearing at Hogwarts in June/July so the book can end before the summer vacation. Anyway, great book on the whole, I really enjoyed it. Undoubtedly the most badass love story I've read Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:36 pm

Ringdrotten wrote:This was my problem with the first half of book 3, and I felt the same way about parts of book 4. Oddly enough, when things begin to happen I actually appreciate the slow build-up, both in the third and the fourth book. The slow progress builds tension, or it does for me at any rate.

You have a good point here, and when things in book 4 started to pick up I did feel like it was still worth reading through the "boring" parts.

You said it was a bold move to put the entire story on hold the way he does, and it is. But I liked it, and I actually wanted more at the end - what happened to Alain and Cuthbert? Will we ever know?

You'll find some of this information in book 5. Wink
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:41 pm

bungobaggins wrote:

You'll find some of this information in book 5. Wink

Glad to hear it, already a few pages in Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:24 pm

Been meaning to ask you this, bungo.. how do you pronounce ken and kennit? Like Barbie and Ken? scratch And there was something else, but I it seems I've forgotten what it was. Anyway, those two words sound very strange to me, so I'd love some clarification Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:23 pm

It's pronounced like Ken the name. There's a clear audio file of the pronunciation here.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ken#English
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:58 pm

Finished book 5 yesterday (mostly thanks to airports and sleep troubles) - will post my thoughts on it this weekend, currently typing on a phone (which is a pain Mad ).

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:32 pm

I'm at 47 percent. If knew this would happen. Mad

{{{I actually don't mind typing on my phone because I use Swype.}}}
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:21 pm

Was going to post my thoughts on book 5 during the weekend, but it turned out busier than expected, and now I've got a paper to finish by Friday, so it'll probably have to wait even longer. I'm going to have to do it soon, though, already 60% into book six Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:35 pm

wtf Ringo. Mad
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:58 pm

Long flight yesterday Laughing And it is alot shorter than the previous two, so it isn't that much of an accomplishment really. And it isn't as slow as 3, 4 and 5. Not that I mind the slow pace of the other ones (looking back on them anyway), but it is a welcome change nonetheless.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:58 pm

54 percent through book 5. Mad You're gonna finish the entire series before I get to book 6! Mad

I imagine that the pace will really pick up in the third section of book 5, once the Wolves arrive.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:39 pm

I'm back to reading only when I'm in bed now and my progress has slowed don't quite alot, so you don't have to worry about me finishing the series anytime soon Smile And yes, the pace picks up in book 5 as well Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:51 pm

Wrote a review a couple of days ago, but when I tried to post it I was taken away from the forum because it didn't support proxy or whatever (I had Hola unblocker enabled at the time), which is weird because it hasn't been an issue before. Anyway, it wasn't that long, I just got too pissed to rewrite it. This'll probably be even shorter as I've got some cleaning for Christmas to do! I recommend you don't read this until you've finished the Wolves, Bungo Smile

Spoiler:
Like with books 3 and 4 I found myself thinking how slow this book is, and once you realise they're going to spend the entire time in either the Calla or various New Yorks you're kinda bummed, because you want to get to the damn tower almost as much as Roland at this point in the series. In the third and fourth book I felt the wait was worth it, and the ending of the Calla wasn't "unworthwhile" either, but I thought it was the weakest ending so far in the series. I did like the Calla, though, King did a fantastic job describing the community, the people, the culture and so on. And I loved Callahan's story - it made me want to read Salem's Lot, so that's high up on my to-read list when I've finished this series. It was also cool, and very sad, to learn what happened to Alain and Cuthbert in the end.

There are two things that didn't work very well me. The first is the explanation to why the wolves steal twins. They steal them for the Breakers, who use some sort of twin gene to destroy the beams. I don't know what I was expecting, but I just didn't think that was enough to justify a 700 page book. And if they needed this gene from the twins, why didn't they just take all of them, instead of only one a pair?

The second issue I've got with the Wolves, is the way King includes himself in the story. And not only in the story, but as the author of everything that happens. I mean, I know this is fiction, but we read these books to escape reality and be entertained, and even though we know it's all make-believe it's nice to get lost in another world for a few hours, and the more believable it all is, the better. There's a lot of strange stuff in this series, but I've yet to feel "this is just bullshit", so he's succeded in making a believable world for me. I sort of felt that King took that away when he introduced himself as the author of Callahan's story, which would indicate that he's the author of everything else that happens as well. I'm getting close to an explanation to this in book six now, and it better be damned good, because on some level it ruined some of the pleasure of reading this series.

All in all I enjoyed the book alot, and even though I'm tempted to give it a 3/5 because of that whole author mess, I say it's a pretty solid 4/5, because of how well it's written and how immersed you get into this world he's created, and how involved with the characters. Book six is a fantastic book so far, and the pacing issues are gone completely. I just hope he can pull off a satisfying justification for including himself, because that took away some of the fun for me.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:07 am

66 percent. Got to part 3 tonight. Cheerleader

I really liked Callahan's tale, especially the moment at the Way Station with the man in black.

I'm looking forward to reading your review, Ringo. Smile
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:18 pm

"I really liked Callahan's tale, especially the moment at the Way Station with the man in black." - bungo

Yeah, that was pretty great Very Happy Perhaps it's supposed to be Roland, but Walter is my favourite character in this series. Has been ever since Tull Very Happy

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:53 pm

Roland may have been my favorite character in previous books, but not in this one. His conversation with Jake about what to do with Susannah made me feel just as uncomfortable as Jake did. I think Callahan is my favorite character in this book. Oh, and Eddie is getting pretty annoying with all his "19" jokes. Rolling Eyes
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:06 pm

Yeah, the whole 19 thing better have a badass conclusion Smile Finally got some time to read again, 85% into book six now. The whole book has been great so far, definitely one to look forward to Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:15 pm

Finished book 5 last night. I don't have time to post any thoughts now, but overall I really liked this one over book 4, a big improvement IMO.

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