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Author: Subject: Anyone else read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King? SPOILERS IN THREAD

Zen Peach





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  posted on 6/20/2010 at 04:54 PM
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

That sentence starts one of the most epic journeys in writing that you can take. 7 books, thousands of pages, 26 years in the making. Im sad to say that Im on the last book. Im a voracious reader and have gone through the other 6 books in the series in about the last 2 months.

This series is easily Kings greatest achievement out of a career that spans decades and includes well over 40 novels, short stories, collections etc. He freely admits also that this was his greatest achievement. Personally I love the imagery in the series. Everything is described so well and the accompanying artwork in the books is great. The series has so many attractive elementsl and its a cross between Twilight Zone, the Magnificent Seven, every Sergio Leone movie and plenty of science fiction to keep the reader guessing. Excellent storyline, character development (cant say that about all of Kings works) and a really cool twist involving a good number of his previous novels tying in to the Dark Tower series. If you havent read it and are a King fan, you are missing out. Even if you arent a King fan, you should read this. Its unlike anything else out there.

[Edited on 6/20/2010 by SquatchTexas]

[Edited on 6/27/2010 by SquatchTexas]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/20/2010 at 05:22 PM
quote:
I've read them all and enjoyed them. I agree that it was his best work and his imagery and characters are memorable. I'll save the one thing I didn't care for until you are finished and I'll see if you agree with me or not.


Thanks!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/20/2010 at 08:48 PM
I'm a huge King fan but prefer his mainstream work to his fantasy work. Frankly, I think his novels have declines since the 80's. The last truly great one was Misery. His greatest work will always be The Stand but all his early work is great.

 

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  posted on 6/20/2010 at 10:02 PM
quote:
I'm a huge King fan but prefer his mainstream work to his fantasy work. Frankly, I think his novels have declines since the 80's. The last truly great one was Misery. His greatest work will always be The Stand but all his early work is great.


I completely kid you not...if you like the Stand you would love the Dark Tower. Not only is the story connected, but the pure 'epic' nature of DT makes the Stand look like a short article. I love The Stand though. I think its right after DT as far as a great example the superior quality of work King is known for. The fact that DT is pure fantasy makes it, at least in my opinion, far better than his normal mainstream stuff.

 

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Peach Pro



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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 07:27 AM
I just finished the last book in the series. Loved the first 4. 5 and 6 were good, but I honestly struggled to get thru the last one. I just didn't connect as well with some of the introduced characters. I agree with the the other comment in that I love his early work but I would say most of his "post-accident" work has not clicked as well for me. I have The Dome yet to read as part of my summer reading list - will it be worth it? (it's a pretty long read).
 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 08:50 AM
quote:
I just finished the last book in the series. Loved the first 4. 5 and 6 were good, but I honestly struggled to get thru the last one. I just didn't connect as well with some of the introduced characters. I agree with the the other comment in that I love his early work but I would say most of his "post-accident" work has not clicked as well for me. I have The Dome yet to read as part of my summer reading list - will it be worth it? (it's a pretty long read).


Im about 200 pages in on the last book and so far its ok. Im looking forward to reading Under the Dome at some point but dont know when Ill get to it. I agree with you about his post accident work...I wonder what happened..Im guessing something just clicked and he doesnt have the same drive or view on the world he once did. In one of the afterwords on one of the DT books, he mentions the idea of retiring altogether after finishing that series. Obviously it didnt happen, but for someone who once claimed he would write until he just couldnt come up with any more stories, I thought that was odd. I havent bothered to read any reviews of Under the Dome mostly because I like to form my own opinion of his work as Ive read practically everything he has written and I know critics can be harsh and without the ability to be objective. Many think he is just a hack that could get anything he wrote published and maybe thats true to some degree, but I believe the sales of his books closes the question as to whether or not he has the skill and ability to keep the readers interested.

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 08:53 AM
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll take a look one of these days. I've read a few of his novels, with varying results. I liked some, but others needed a good editor. Trimming would've helped. Ironically, Misery didn't catch me at all and I gave up halfway through (sorry, Doughron! )

Billastro

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 09:22 AM
quote:
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll take a look one of these days. I've read a few of his novels, with varying results. I liked some, but others needed a good editor. Trimming would've helped. Ironically, Misery didn't catch me at all and I gave up halfway through (sorry, Doughron! )

Billastro


Heh... if you think some of his other stuff needed a good editor, theres a lot in the DT books that might not appeal to you, mostly because theres so much going on. One book is nothing but back story but it was necessary (and a pretty damn good read). Speaking of Misery, I think that was one of his more mediocre books. His best? IMO, Carrie, Pet Sematary, Dead Zone, The Stand, Salems Lot, most of his short story collections and a few others. Oddly, the one book Ive tried to read from him that I was just simply unable to do anything with was Insomnia. I read about a quarter of that and just had to put it down..boring as all get out. Actually, there was another book I wasnt able to get through and that was The Talisman with Peter Straub. Simply dull.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:30 AM
quote:
quote:
I'm a huge King fan but prefer his mainstream work to his fantasy work. Frankly, I think his novels have declines since the 80's. The last truly great one was Misery. His greatest work will always be The Stand but all his early work is great.


I completely kid you not...if you like the Stand you would love the Dark Tower. Not only is the story connected, but the pure 'epic' nature of DT makes the Stand look like a short article. I love The Stand though. I think its right after DT as far as a great example the superior quality of work King is known for. The fact that DT is pure fantasy makes it, at least in my opinion, far better than his normal mainstream stuff.


I also highly recommend The Dead Zone which I think is on parr with the stand and Pet Semetary which is the most disturbing book I have ever read.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:31 AM
quote:
I just finished the last book in the series. Loved the first 4. 5 and 6 were good, but I honestly struggled to get thru the last one. I just didn't connect as well with some of the introduced characters. I agree with the the other comment in that I love his early work but I would say most of his "post-accident" work has not clicked as well for me. I have The Dome yet to read as part of my summer reading list - will it be worth it? (it's a pretty long read).


Just read Under the Dome. It's to his classic work like Hitting the Note is to the Allmans classic work. Well worth reading, reminiscent of the epics of old but not quite as great.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:34 AM
quote:
quote:
I just finished the last book in the series. Loved the first 4. 5 and 6 were good, but I honestly struggled to get thru the last one. I just didn't connect as well with some of the introduced characters. I agree with the the other comment in that I love his early work but I would say most of his "post-accident" work has not clicked as well for me. I have The Dome yet to read as part of my summer reading list - will it be worth it? (it's a pretty long read).


Im about 200 pages in on the last book and so far its ok. Im looking forward to reading Under the Dome at some point but dont know when Ill get to it. I agree with you about his post accident work...I wonder what happened..Im guessing something just clicked and he doesnt have the same drive or view on the world he once did. In one of the afterwords on one of the DT books, he mentions the idea of retiring altogether after finishing that series. Obviously it didnt happen, but for someone who once claimed he would write until he just couldnt come up with any more stories, I thought that was odd. I havent bothered to read any reviews of Under the Dome mostly because I like to form my own opinion of his work as Ive read practically everything he has written and I know critics can be harsh and without the ability to be objective. Many think he is just a hack that could get anything he wrote published and maybe thats true to some degree, but I believe the sales of his books closes the question as to whether or not he has the skill and ability to keep the readers interested.


I am a voracious reader. He is no hack. He is one of the most skillful and talented crafters of prose I have ever read. His work stands thousands of miles above the work of most popular writiers. His work has declined in my opinion in the way most musical band's work declines. It's still good but not as good. He seemed to be on a roll of genius in his younger years. Under the Dome is better than anything else he has written for quite some time.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:34 AM
quote:
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll take a look one of these days. I've read a few of his novels, with varying results. I liked some, but others needed a good editor. Trimming would've helped. Ironically, Misery didn't catch me at all and I gave up halfway through (sorry, Doughron! )

Billastro


Try the Dead Zone. I can't imagine anyone not liking that.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:36 AM
quote:
quote:
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll take a look one of these days. I've read a few of his novels, with varying results. I liked some, but others needed a good editor. Trimming would've helped. Ironically, Misery didn't catch me at all and I gave up halfway through (sorry, Doughron! )

Billastro


Heh... if you think some of his other stuff needed a good editor, theres a lot in the DT books that might not appeal to you, mostly because theres so much going on. One book is nothing but back story but it was necessary (and a pretty damn good read). Speaking of Misery, I think that was one of his more mediocre books. His best? IMO, Carrie, Pet Sematary, Dead Zone, The Stand, Salems Lot, most of his short story collections and a few others. Oddly, the one book Ive tried to read from him that I was just simply unable to do anything with was Insomnia. I read about a quarter of that and just had to put it down..boring as all get out. Actually, there was another book I wasnt able to get through and that was The Talisman with Peter Straub. Simply dull.


I hated Insomnia. I would put that at the bottom. Here is my list of the best:

The Stand
The Dead Zone
Pet Semetary
Cujo
Christine
Firestarter
Different Seasons
The Shining
Salem's Lot
Night Shift (first collection of stories is incomparable)
Misery

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 12:05 PM
quote:
I think I read the first Dark Tower book. Used to read his stuff alot. Not for over twenty years though.


Same here, I followed the man in black for a while then lost interest. I was suprised to see the story continues after all the years.

What was the story about the creepy clown in the sewers? That was a good one.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 01:09 PM
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
I think I read the first Dark Tower book. Used to read his stuff alot. Not for over twenty years though.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----



Same here, I followed the man in black for a while then lost interest. I was suprised to see the story continues after all the years.

What was the story about the creepy clown in the sewers? That was a good one.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----



'It'? I read that one too. I may have read it while on in-school suspension in high school, lol.


Yeah thats it. Lame ending (giant spider in sewer or something) but overall a great read.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 01:34 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll take a look one of these days. I've read a few of his novels, with varying results. I liked some, but others needed a good editor. Trimming would've helped. Ironically, Misery didn't catch me at all and I gave up halfway through (sorry, Doughron! )

Billastro


Heh... if you think some of his other stuff needed a good editor, theres a lot in the DT books that might not appeal to you, mostly because theres so much going on. One book is nothing but back story but it was necessary (and a pretty damn good read). Speaking of Misery, I think that was one of his more mediocre books. His best? IMO, Carrie, Pet Sematary, Dead Zone, The Stand, Salems Lot, most of his short story collections and a few others. Oddly, the one book Ive tried to read from him that I was just simply unable to do anything with was Insomnia. I read about a quarter of that and just had to put it down..boring as all get out. Actually, there was another book I wasnt able to get through and that was The Talisman with Peter Straub. Simply dull.


I hated Insomnia. I would put that at the bottom. Here is my list of the best:

The Stand
The Dead Zone
Pet Semetary
Cujo
Christine
Firestarter
Different Seasons
The Shining
Salem's Lot
Night Shift (first collection of stories is incomparable)
Misery


All of that is his early work. I agree that he has loist a bit. I'm not sure if it was the accident or maybe something else as I feel his books right before that accident were below par for him.

Lisey's Story was the one that turned me off from his work. It was so bad, I quit somewhere in the middle. I was at the point that if I knew Lisey, I would have oiffed her.


It was before his accident that he started tailing off. I look at it as he showed genius in those early days, the genius was spent and after that he just became a solid craftsman of enjoyable books. I will say I have NEVER read an author with a better ability to get inside the heads of his characters both mail and female and relay their thoughts to the reader. In my opinion just in terms of writing talent he is one of the best ever. Another good one in my opinion who is totally different is Pat Conroy.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 01:36 PM
quote:
quote:
I think I read the first Dark Tower book. Used to read his stuff alot. Not for over twenty years though.


Same here, I followed the man in black for a while then lost interest. I was suprised to see the story continues after all the years.

What was the story about the creepy clown in the sewers? That was a good one.


Funny you should mention "It". To me that was the book, and I read them all in order as they came out, where the plots just started to seem excessive. Also at that point I think he gained more editorial control. That's why some of these later books were in excess of 1,000 pages.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 05:03 PM
My personal opinion is The Stand was his best work.


I started the DT series, only made it half-way through the Wolves of Calla.

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:06 PM
quote:
My personal opinion is The Stand was his best work.


I started the DT series, only made it half-way through the Wolves of Calla.


I think most of his long time fans think the Stand (the original) is his best book.

 

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  posted on 6/22/2010 at 07:42 AM
quote:
quote:
My personal opinion is The Stand was his best work.


I started the DT series, only made it half-way through the Wolves of Calla.


I think most of his long time fans think the Stand (the original) is his best book.


I think aside from his DT work, The Stand is absolutely the best...I love deep plots, lots of interesting characters, good development of same and lots and lots of pages :-)

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/22/2010 at 08:47 AM
I'm a long time Stephen King fan - his novels and novellas, his short stories. I know the critics have often panned him but I think there is something so familiar in his writing and the way he references contemporary culture that makes his work almost personal... I can usually get a very strong sense of the personality behind his characters and the life experiences that formed them. And often those personality traits; their strengths, their 'flaws', their vulnerability; seem oh-so-familiar. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is an all-time fave and Stand By Me and It are so poignant in their descriptions of childhood. (and my first car was a 1958 Plymouth Fury )

 

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  posted on 6/22/2010 at 09:02 AM
The last King book I read was "Bag of Bones"

I stopped reading the Dark Tower after book 3 and
haven't had the inclination to get back into it

 

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  posted on 6/25/2010 at 09:16 PM
quote:
I've read them all and enjoyed them. I agree that it was his best work and his imagery and characters are memorable. I'll save the one thing I didn't care for until you are finished and I'll see if you agree with me or not.


Ok, I finally finished the last book yesterday. I thought the ending was pretty good (apparently the ending was an issue with some readers). What was it that you didnt care for?

 

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  posted on 6/26/2010 at 09:31 PM
SPOILER ALERT













































































quote:
quote:
quote:
I've read them all and enjoyed them. I agree that it was his best work and his imagery and characters are memorable. I'll save the one thing I didn't care for until you are finished and I'll see if you agree with me or not.


Ok, I finally finished the last book yesterday. I thought the ending was pretty good (apparently the ending was an issue with some readers). What was it that you didnt care for?


Yes. I bought the first one when it came out as a limited edition in 1982. I rode that train for a long time. The journey was great. There was no destination. IMO, he came up with that ending as a way to tell his fans "gotcha".


Yeah, the ending had been described as "....thats it...?" I saw it more as a "Twilight Zone" ending regarding Roland..I got a kick out of him being pulled through the final door only to start all over again with no memory of what the previous journey had been and with no knowledge that he would do it all again but perhaps differently this time (he had the horn of Eld this time around). Obviously, now he has to meet Walter all over again and have his fortune told...redraw his 3 and who are they going to be this time? The same ones but with different outcomes? Will ka, being the wheel that it is, roll differently this time? King effectively set the series up for either an alternate DT set of books for him or another author to start. (and apparently there is a new DT book in the works, or at least being talked about by King along with a sequel to The Shining..I love both ideas)

For all the huff and puff and threat of the Crimson King, he came off as a pretty lame bad guy IMO..heck, there was wayyyyy more evil in Mordred...I expected dark magic, more tangible threats to Roland and Patrick than the sneetches that were easily dealt with.

Susannah was my least favorite character overall but her "ending" (beginning?) was superb and I was really pleased to see Eddie and Jake had been saved as well in some manner. It was a really long journey (for the reader) and it was a damn good ride...I think though that the only way to really have gotten the most out of this series was to have all the books available at once from the library or some other source. You should have seen the look on the face of the librarian when I walked up with all 7 Tower books at once!

Im hoping that the talk of a series of movies is still on target but they would have to follow the books pretty close to make it good. I can easily see Viggo Mortensen as Roland.



[Edited on 6/27/2010 by SquatchTexas]

 

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