My rating is 2 out of 5 stars.
The quest for the Dark Tower is ending!
All the weary miles, endless deaths, heroic stands, and lost loved ones is finally coming to an end for Roland Deschain of Gilead and his ka-tet.
And the weary but dedicated fan can finally savor that ending. An ending that will somehow, someway tie up all the loose plots, causing all their frustration about the years between novels, the endless lore changes, the confusing multiverse, and even Stephen King writing himself into the story to disappear from their minds
For the end of the Dark Tower Saga will be a wonderful, dramatic, earth-shattering ending. The same kind of ending Tolkien provided fantasy fans with in The Return of the King, where a reader watched breathlessly as Frodo and Sam slunk across the desolate plains of Mordor, striving to reach Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring; only to discover to their sheer wonder and delight that the tale was still not done, but that Tolkien would allow them to follow along behind the hobbits for just a little longer – until the true ending at the Grey Havens.
That is the type of finale The Dark Tower must have, because every reader of King’s saga knows that a tale as massive and epic as this deserves that Lord of the Rings type of closure. The kind of ending where a reader closes the novel and sits there, stunned into silent contemplation at the stupendous journey that they have finally COMPLETED!
And as a reader begins The Dark Tower Book VII, he/she will begin to see his/her deeply held hope coming to fruition as dangling plots begin to be completed. Immediately, Roland and his friends set forth to stop the Breakers of Algul Siento and save the Beam, protect the Rose (whatever it really is) in New York, and stop Stephen King from being run down by a real life automobile and killed. Everything begins to take shape for the final push to the Dark Tower.
So it seems obvious that finally Stephen King is going to reveal the “5 Ws and H” of the grand saga. Who the hell is this Crimson King, who has orchestrated the destruction of world after world in the multiverse, and who the hell is Marten Broadcloak/Randall Flagg really? What caused the Crimson King to go insane and begin to attack the Tower? Why was it so damn important for Roland to get to the tower in the first place? How did Roland’s quest kept the Dark Tower multiverse from continuing to move on? When did the old ones die out and leave their machines, or when did the worlds first start moving on? And finally – after all else has been completed – where is the Dark Tower, and what will happen when Roland finally enters it?
But then something unprecedented happens in this grand finale of a sweeping epic.
That is right. You won’t find any of those questions answered. In fact, you won’t even find a dramatic ending like Lord of the Rings.
Nope. It is not going to happen.
As Stephen King himself writes at the end of the Quest for the Dark Tower:
I’ve told my tale all the way to the end, and am satisfied. It was (I set my watch and warrant on it) the kind only a good God would save for last, full of monsters and marvels and voyaging here and there. I can stop now, put my pen down, and rest my weary hand . . . Yet some of you who have provided the ears without which no tale can survive a single day are likely not so willing. You are the grim, goal-oriented ones who will not believe that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination no matter how many times it has been proven o you. You are the unfortunate ones who still get the lovemaking all confused with the paltry squirt that comes to end the lovemaking . . . You are the cruel ones who deny the Grey Havens, where tired characters go to rest. You say you want to know how it all comes out. You say you want to follow Roland into the Tower; you say that is what you paid your money for, the show you came to see.
I hope most of you know better. Want better. I hope you came to hear the tale, and not just munch your way through the pages to the ending. For an ending, you only have to turn to the last page and see what is there writ upon. But endings are heartless. An ending is a closed door no man (or Manni) can open. I’ve written many, but most only for the same reason that I pull on my pants in the morning before leaving the bedroom – because it is the custom of the country.
And so, my dear Constant Reader, I tell you this: You can stop here. . .
Should you go on, you will surely be disappointed, perhaps even heartbroken . . . There is no such thing as a happy ending. I never met a single one to equal “Once upon a time.”
Endings are heartless.
Ending is just another word for goodbye.
And so after reading 4500 pages about Roland the Gunslinger, a reader is given a choice: stop the book without knowing what happens to Roland once he actually gets to the Dark Tower or read the ending and be disappointed.
Who knew Stephen King was an attorney, because he just put a disclaimer in his book; a disclaimer that basically admits the ending sucks.
Or that he was writing a Choose Your Own Adventure Book? Because we have multiple endings to choice from. One is the hollywood “And they all live happily ever after ending” ending and the other is the “You wanted an ending, I’ll show you how clever I can be while I’m not giving you what you asked for” ending. Either choice leaving a reader disappointed, wondering “Why did I read this series again?”
The awful truth about The Dark Tower Book VII is that it is a dud.
A clever buildup to a nothing happens.
A Dallas “Get out of the shower it’s all been a dream.”
Another Matrix sequel were our number today boys and girls is 101, and you are the sixth Chosen One, which means your dramatic victories are not anything new.
Not a “flawed masterpiece” at all but a cleverly disguised fake.
A huge belly flop into the abyss of bad endings.
A book that just stinks.
In fact, this “supposed” finale of the Dark Tower series makes such a mess of the story that Roland’s whole quest is rendered meaningless. A useless exercise in futility that is very similar to a hamster running as fast as he can on his exercise wheel.
What King does to Roland in this novel is like Tolkien writing that Frodo reached Mount Doom only to discover that Sauron is really Father Christmas on psychotropic medications; the One Ring Frodo has been carrying is really a fake that Sauron allowed Gandalf and the Elves to believe was the real thing; and now – just to be a vindictive bastard (because there doesn’t seem to be any other logical reason) – Frodo and the Fellowship gets to relive the whole bloody quest in an endless loop.
Maybe King never knew where Roland’s story was going. Maybe it was just a great idea, which he never really plotted out to guarantee that it ended correctly. I get all that, but if that is true, he should have used this last book to fix all those problems, not tell the reader “I hope you came to hear the tale, and not just munch your way through the pages to the ending.”
Who the hell has ever went to a movie and been pleased when it stopped playing before the end?
Or worked all week just to be told “No pay check for you. Try to think back to all the fun you had here.”
No one. And no one is going to like this ending. You might love the series or the characters, not want to admit how horrid this last book was, but deep down you realize it. And you cope by telling yourself how great the overall story was or that King focused on Roland’s spiritual journey in this book or whatever, but the fact of the matter is this novel continued the downward spiral of Roland’s story and left all of us scratching our heads thinking “Really, this is the end.”
Mr. King, I’ve read epic, fantasy series.
I’ve read grand finales with breathtaking endings.
J.R.R. Tolkien took me to the Grey Havens once upon a time.
Mr. King, you’re no J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Dark Tower was not The Return of the King.
If you haven’t read this book and want to see if I’m correct in my assessment of it, feel free to buy The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, Book 7) at Amazon.
Sounds like King would have been much better off saying, “Made a mess of this one. Sorry!”
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I could spend the next hour going through your review and explaining to you piece-by-piece why you’re so dreadfully, horridly incorrect about this book. However, I can see a lost cause for what it is so I won’t be spending my time that way. I’ll just say that most of the questions you’ve griped about going unanswered WERE in fact answered. To be honest, it kind of sounds like you stopped reading at some point and started skimming.
I had the privilege of reading this series front to back without any interruptions. I think that has made it much easier to analyze it as a whole than you poor souls who had to wait years between books. If I had your experience, I would probably also consider the ending a piece of junk. Instead, I find the ending to be pretty goddamn brilliant and a perfect fit to the series. It was well evidenced throughout all 4000+ pages, and the Horn of Eld is the interesting element that leaves the reader pondering for years after.
Thanks for your comment, and I am glad that you enjoyed the ending to the Dark Tower series. After investing all that time reading this epic tale, I am sure you are glad that you did. As you can tell, I unfortunately did not appreciate Mr. King’s conclusion, but it doesn’t bother me much, because I loved the characters, enjoyed the journey and got out all my angst by writing this review. While my disgust with the ending upsets some people, I do not feel a need to apologize, since we are all allowed our own opinion on these type of things.
Have fun reading!
I’d prefer a review that made more sense. That parts that bothered me about your review wasn’t that you didn’t like the ending, but what kind of feeling you expected from it. You’re a Tolkien guy, and hey, I’ve read and reread everything Tolkien has ever written(that’s published). The hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy are pretty much his only “epic”‘s. Almost every single one of his other books surrounding middle earth are tragics. None of them end well, none of them end happy or leave you in the least bit on the up note. Funny thing is, most of them are a dead give away on how sad of a read it will be, ‘The fall of Gondolin’, ‘The fall of Numamor’. The thing is, King in the Dark Tower never told anyone it would be a happy or satisfying ending. He discouraged the whole “happy” the entire time. The Dark Tower is an expression of a tragic, a tragic so great that you feel the agony of the hardships during that entire journey relived. King accomplished it with a true masterful way, and he wasn’t aiming to be up there with Tolkien, so no he isn’t a Tolkien and no his book 7 isn’t The Return of the King. The Dark Tower is a beautiful tragedy of his own design and stands alone. Oh I was truly pissed off at the ending, I really was. But as I thought it out and kept finding myself remembering it, I found over a few months that after being a die hard Tolkien fan (learned to read by reading Tolkien’s trilogy and eventually learning to read/write/speak quenya, diehard Tolkien nerd) that I put The Dark Tower in #1 favorite spot. Not because its a better “Epic”, but where LOTR had its hero’s in its epic, TDT had its misfits in its tragedy, and weirdly enough, I can relate to a misfit more then a hero. Funny.
Thanks for the comment. Just to put the review in context, it was written very soon after completing my read of the book and series. 2013 was dominated by The Dark Tower for me, and while I didn’t read the novels back to back, I never went very long before reading the next. And I really, really felt letdown by the ending. Still do. But if I was writing a review of this book now, it wouldn’t be as snarky. I would focus on how great the journey was to get here rather than my disappointment of how it ended. Not sure if that makes a difference, but there it is.
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You are completely correct about this, I agree with everything you wrote and have thought it for years myself, including the note by King being a disclaimer for how shit the ending is. I don’t think any other author has ever been so aware of how bad their ending is that they literally put in a note pleading with people not to read it because they’re so ashamed.
It’s an embarrassing disaster and practically a crime against the written word, how badly the wheels come off towards the end, it’s one of the greatest story universes created and he screwed it up more than anyone could possibly imagine.
And if things are going to be different with the Horn, WHY DIDN’T HE WRITE THAT VERSION OF THE STORY INSTEAD!? Absolute trash. Fuck Susannah too.
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