Started the King's Dark Tower series...

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Emate, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Emate

    Emate www.cryptids.co.uk

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    Hi everyone, new to this forum, and am an aspiring author and avid reader, and I'm eager to get involved with the community!

    What better way to get stuck in then to strike up a conversation concerning Stephen King's self-proclaimed magnum opus The Dark Tower series, which I've only begun reading a few days ago (a crime, I know, especially since I've been a big Stephen King fan for a number of years now).

    The first novel, The Gunslinger, struck me as an odd read, and rather disjointed. This Mid-World curiously latched onto my mind (I wasn't so keen on the gunslinger's personal history at first) and I was more enraptured by this world that had mysteriously "moved on" (even now the phrase gives me chills!). How far along in time did it move on? Was it even set far into the future as I had suspected, or in a different world entirely? What are the people like? Are there other civilizations out there? Yet King never focused on any of these questions, if at all. The only town we encounter is run-down Tull and minuscule flashbacks of Gilead, however the dusty picture King paints of this world is both equally frustrating and mysteriously poignant. It wasn't until after I had finished it that a quick Google search revealed that it was in fact collated with five short stories linked together into a novel, confirming my suspicions. Now I have to be brutally honest; I was a little let down by it, because I had a growing sense of anticipation concerning these books and I know people rave about them.

    And then I started the second novel. I can't quite put my finger on it but it hooked me right about when Odetta and Detta arrived. I found the introduction of lengthy scenes into our familiar world uncomfortably juxtaposed against Roland's in the sense that it felt like two stories in one, almost. In fact looking back the first novel is completely unrecognisable to the second.

    Despite my reservations, I've downloaded the third novel and am keen to see where the story goes next.

    So what are everyone else's thoughts on the Dark Tower series? Do people love it? Hate it? Sound away.
     
  2. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Book Two is, by far, the best of the series. It's the book where King hits it out of the park, and it hooks you so, so easily. The first is, as you realised, rather disjointed and odd as it's the combination of a group of short stories that King wrote but then strung together.

    I think most of the people here who have read The Dark Tower are fans, though some of us are fans more than others are. Think I'm one graphic novel (soon to be two) away from having them all, and I should be getting the revised concordance this year.
     
  3. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    I rather like it.It's the sort of world I would write about, except the themes would probably be very political and the story would be more culture focused if I did. It was an odd combination but one that for the most part worked in my opinion.I was honestly hesitant at first to pick up the first book because it was a Stephen King. I'm not saying he's bad, he really isn't, but I first knew him as the guy who made every day things malicious and evil seemingly on a whim. However, I do have some level of respect for the man.A sort of epic dark fantasy seemed like such a far cry from his usual work that I was cynical about the results initially. I had doubts that he could pull it off.
     
  4. chokipokilo

    chokipokilo Unreasonable reasoner

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    Gave up after book 2. I found the world building strayed toward being a little silly and the characterization was pretty poor IMO.

    But to be fair, I had no different reaction to "The Stand" or "It." So if you like King better than I do this series may be great.
     
  5. Westsiyeed

    Westsiyeed The Fifth Dominion

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    I actually think the third book, The Waste Lands, is the best that I've read, though Drawing of the Three was great and Wizard and Glass very good. Gunslinger, as many have said, was good but disjointed.

    I just found that by The Waste Lands the characters were getting well established and King's fantastical ideas were really coming through (and I remember reading it in a day when my back was out!)

    So I'd definitely encourage you to read the third.

    I started Wolves of the Calla and put it down after about 1 or 200 pages (can't remember), I just found it was dragging a bit and I was a little bored with it. BUT this could be because I went straight into it after reading books 3 and 4 in a row, so maybe a break's in order and I'll try again in a while.

    From what I've seen though, people generally seem to rate books 2-4 as the best.

    Good point! Actually I think that's the first time I've seen someone say they didn't like "It" (it's probably my favourite King book). Different strokes for different folks though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  6. Emate

    Emate www.cryptids.co.uk

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    YES. I'm so glad somebody said this - the way King characterizes really irks me. It's supposed to come off mysterious (for Roland) but instead just makes me frustrated because a) I don't know particularly know where the protagonist comes from and b) why he's even searching for the Dark Tower in the first place.

    I keep expecting a flashback that cements Roland's belief that the Dark Tower is inherently evil and not just "the nexus of all worlds". If he destroyed it, wouldn't he just wipe the universe's slate clean? IMO, Roland's drive to the Tower is realistic enough for me, but I'm going to keep reading.

    I'm on the Wastelands now and they've just arrived at the robot-bear's hide-out place. Bit confused as to where it's come from and what the hell they're doing, but hey, that's the way King rolls!
     
  7. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Emate.

    I have one sentence in reply to your first sentence: That was pretty much the whole point.
     
  8. Emate

    Emate www.cryptids.co.uk

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    I see. For me personally I like to have a general background to set the pretense, but don't get me wrong it is captivating! Just not what I'm used to saying. As was said before: different strokes for different blokes.

    I found the Odetta/Detta storyline a genius idea and looking forward to seeinh Susannah be a potential bad-ass later.
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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  10. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    IMO, it ranks as one of the top 3 fantasy series ever written.
     
  11. azninvasion99

    azninvasion99 Registered User

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    I actually enjoyed Wizard and Glass the most despite it not having much to do with the actual storyline. I just found the flashback to be so well written, and it had a lot of twists and turns in the story. Waste Lands would be my 2nd favorite.
     
  12. Slice of G

    Slice of G Registered User

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    You took the words right out of my mouth. The flashback was such a great story, you forgot you weren't actually in the main storyline. I also enjoyed Books 2, 3, and 7 the most. I know some people don't agree but I thought the ending was done nicely.
     
  13. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    Have only read the first four books and those some years ago. Book 1 was interesting though disjointed and seemed like King was experimenting with ideas, but it was fairly short so no big deal, you get through it and move on. Books 2 and 3 were completely aimless, King was just making stuff up as he went along with no thought of how it fit into the story. Get himself into a bind, no problem, i'll just use this up to this point never mentioned talent that the character just happens to have to get us out. And I could have cared less about any of the characters following Roland around, terrible characterization. But King keeps you moving through the books at a breakneck pace, and the setting is interesting, so they were hard to put down. Then I read book 4 and I thought it was one of the best books I had ever read. I felt like King was wasting his time focusing on Eddie and company, this flashback is the story I want to know more about. The story had purpose and direction and good characters that I sympathized with. Tell me more about Rolands history, not his druggie friend from our world.

    Figure I will read the rest of the books someday, just figured they would be a letdown after Wizard and Glass.
     
  14. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    I'd be interested in hearing more on why you feel this way - it definitely clashes with my views!
     
  15. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    And, well, book 2 has a pretty clear purpose.
     
  16. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    Too be honest, they were annoying. They seemed very fake, with bad, unrealistic dialogue. I'm talking specificly about Eddie and his girlfriend. It's been a few years so I can't name any specifics though.
     
  17. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    Perhaps you weren't in a good frame of mind to read them. I've noticed this about myself at times, I'll begin reading something and it just doesn't click with me so I put it down and months, sometimes years later I'll go back to it and find that I absolutely love everything about it. This happened to me with Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I just couldn't get into it so I put it down and I believe it was five years later I picked it back up and it was awesome.
     
  18. Baslim

    Baslim New Member

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    I started out as a sci/fi fan 18 years ago and have read a majority of works written by the following authors:

    Robert Heinlein
    Isaac Asimov
    Michael Crichton
    Orson Scott Card
    L. Ron Hubbard
    Stephen King
    Larry Niven
    Frederik Pohl
    Arthur C. Clarke
    Frank Herbert
    Ray Bradbury
    Dan Simmons
    H.G. Wells
    Franz Kafka
    Robert Silverberg
    Harry Turtledove
    Robert Ludlum
    Poul Anderson
    Greg Bear
    Kurt Vonnegut
    William Gibson
    Aldous Huxley
    Ben Bova
    Tom Clancy
    Clive Cussler
    James A Michener
    Jules Verne
    Zecharia Sitchin
    Dean R Koontz
    Greg Bear
    Spider Robinson

    I never really gave much thought to Fantasy as a genre worth investing in. I found that after reading Stephan Kings' Dark Tower series, I washed up on the shore of "Fantasy". I really enjoyed this series and recommend reading all of the books.
     
  19. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    Are you talking about the made up words and phrases for Roland's world, or more about the speech patterns King will give some of his characters with pet nicknames, phrases and terms that they use a lot?

    I can understand how King doing this could get annoying for some people but it doesn't really bother me because I figure most peoples' irl speech patterns would look silly if they were written down.

    Although the Suzanna character did get grating for me when she would be speaking as her mean, bitter personality.
     
  20. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Well, you weren't particularly meant to warm to her. Detta was, if you think about it, the embodiment of oppressed blacks in Odetta/Detta's era.