Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Book Review - The Dark Tower

What better way to start an occasional series of Book Reviews than with Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series.

I have to admit I put off, or was put off, reading this despite being a huge King fan for many years. I thought it was all Dungeons and Dragons, Swords and Sorcery and that. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it ain't my cup of tea reading wise these days.

What the Dark Tower actually is, is an epic set across many, many volumes featuring our hero, the Gunslinger Roland, in a world that has 'moved on.' A mix of dystopian future/past and Wild West, it really is unlike anything I've read before. What 'The world has moved on' actually means, you're probably best reading to find out. Suffice to say, the world building is structured in such a clever way you hardly realise it's going on. The characters are to the usual Stephen King quality of depth and I have to say, if ever you were going to read over a million words in one volume of books, I'd probably opt for Stephen King over any other author.

I'm currently near the end of book 4 and  have to say it's taken over my life. I don't know if any other author could get away with a more than 500 page flashback the way book four is. Still the fourth book's over 800 pages so I guess it's allowed. I only wish I'd read the series a few years ago, when I had more time. Don't be put off about half way through the first book, as I nearly was. Most of the earlier parts were written so long ago that Mr King was still finding his feet then (even the subsequent edits don't take away some of the rawness.) Of course, some of the purists like that, but to me his writing peaked late nineties and has stayed at the peak ever since. Anyway by the second book, you'll realise just what a ride you're in for. By the fourth, you won't want it to stop.

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