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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2004
I have to admit, i was worried to read this book, i was dreading how King would deal with the last march toward the Tower, and what i would find at the end. When you invest many years in a series of books, and finally it all comes to an end, you pray it was all worth it, that reading and loving the first 6 books would not all be in vain, and BOY was it worth it!!
King has outdone himself in this the last Dark Tower book, You really got to see the heart of Roland, to see his true character, and the realization of how much he truly loves his friends...Jake, Eddie and Suzzanah, even Oy. We see much more of Rolands feelings, and how all his companions will gladly sacrifice themselves to allow Roland to reach his dream.
Yet again we meet characters from other King books, and it all ties in, its as if no matter what book SK is writing, the Dark Tower was always there at the back of his mind, and always trying to find its way through.
This is the end of truly the best series of books i have ever read, the ending was something i could never in my wildest dreams have imagined, yet after reading it again, and again, the only ending there could be that would make sense. I cant imagine anything coming close to this series of books, and if SK decides never to publish again, he can be content with knowing he has written the best there ever is
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2004
I've been following the Dark Tower series for several years now, and I've loved them all. But in Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah, I thought the story was overcomplificating slightly, getting a little loose. Not enough to make the books bad (and they weren't, I love everything with a certain Sai Deschain in it) but it was there. Like many, I was afraid Stephen King had finally started to do what he always said he was afraid he'd do.... let the sheer size of the story spin out of control.
But in The Dark Tower, he stops that and fast. Unlike the last two entries, this book harks back to an older style of Dark Tower book: action, lots of action, and good action to boot. The way the story flows most strongly resembles The Waste Lands, my favourite book of the series up to this. One thing King uses very well is the plot device of having himself in the story, he really plays around with it, and it works. This book has everything: great joy, terrible sorrow, suspense, horror, love, and most important of all: everybody's favourite characters return. Roland and his ka-tet are all present, of course, but Walter's back, too. And a certain author is still knocking around... New characters appear as well, such as Roland's half-human son, Mordred (brilliantly written, and nasty as hell.), and his OTHER father, The Crimson King, is finally more than just a menacing prescence. I won't mention any other new characters, but those of you who know your Dark Tower connections in SK's other work will see a few friendly faces.
Kicking in where the cliffhander ending of volume six left off, we find Jake and Pere Callahan (accompanied by Oy) entering the Dixie Pig in search of Susannah. It's a tense situation, and we love it. Kudos to King for the echoes of 'Salem's Lot. Susannah is handling her own escape plans, and trying to avoid her newborn son (who has a nasty habit of turning into a spider). On top of this, Walter's in the shadows, and his motives are far more ulterior than we suspected, this guy's only in it for himself. Meanwhile, in Keystone America (as the real world is called), Roland and Eddie have to get back to the future, but it's never as easy as it sounds....
It's only after the Tet re-unite and return to Mid-world that things really get going. Their first port of call is Thunderclap and the Devar-toi (which is where the Breakers hang out), and then it's on to the tower, and whatever the tower contains, but the road is dangerous, and there are many ways to die and worlds to do it in...
Overall, I found the book extremely hard to put down from beginning to end, and it may well be one of the best books King has ever written. I know some of you want to know if there's a happy ending, but as Sai King says, ultimately, there's no such thing. The end may not be everything you hoped for, but the journey was definitely worth it. I'm just sorry it's over.
*****/*****
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2005
Like most other people it feels like a lifetime (and it probably is!) since I was first introduced to, then fell in love with, Roland of Gilead. Like others, I have experienced the highs and lows of following his story and those of his ka-tet - both in terms of the story and sometimes to quality of writing (being a die-hard King fan it pains me to say that).
The Dark Tower VII sends you on an emotional roller coaster that takes you back to the good old days when King really knew how to tell a story. There were times when I had to put the book down and walk away just to recover from what I'd just learned. There were times when King weaves so much of himself into the threads (figuratively AND literally) that you sometimes can't tell where reality ends and fiction begins. This is the only book I've read in a long time that just doesn't play it safe. There's so much joy, pain, sadness, heartache - this is not for the faint-hearted. If you have built up any emotional connection over the years to any of the main characters, trust me - there will be times when you just won't know where to put yourself.
I finished this book a couple of months ago and so have had time to reflect on the ending. Make no mistake, this IS the end. My initial reaction was of the "you gotta be kidding" variety, but the more I think about it (and you WILL be thinking about it for a long time to come, this book just wont leave you alone even after you've closed its covers for the last time), the more I believe it is the only way. Simple, quiet, final. And so so right as a conclusion to an epic. Now I just think: "wow..."
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2009
I've just spent the past 6 months getting through the Dark Tower series. Some of the books I burned through in a matter of days; others just dragged. This, sadly, is one of the latter. I kept on putting it down, ignoring it for large periods of time; desperate to get to the end without doing the work to get there. If a book series really is that good then you want it to go on forever, not be desperate just to finish it. This book and series is full of frustrations, but the very VERY ending is ultimately rewarding (I saw it coming but it was delivered so well) Hopefully it will leave you pondering over it for a good few days at least, as it did with me, even though this series makes my blood boil at times.

I really wish Stephen King didn't make himself a character that is central to the storyline... I feel this was a form of bloated self-therapy for him after his car accident and was totally unnecessary and demeaning to the reader. It takes up a good part of the final three books and I really wish he didn't feel the need to link this work with as many of his former novels as he could squeeze in. We really didn't need another ridiculous human/spider because we all know that not only ruined the book IT but also ruined too many hours of my life here as well.

In balance, there are some great elements and moments to the Dark Tower series. Book IV: Wizard and Glass was absolutely fantastic (apart from the terrible ending where King seemed to get bored) At least here the very ending serves to provide you with a sense that this whole journey has, just about, by the skin of it's teeth, been worth it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2009
The first half of the book is a bit long winded, but the plot does gain momentum towards the end. I wasn't sure that I should finish the book as King practically begs you not to. The ending is brutal, I feel as if I have somehow desecrated the narrative by reading it. On the other hand, the reader can hardly be expected to be denied the conclusion after such a long and arduous journey.

King's series is a monumental achievement, like many readers I have minor gripes with some of the events of the narrative; but none of them detracts from the startling originality and boldness of The series as a whole.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2011
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!
DON'T READ IF YOU'RE SURE YOU WANT TO READ THE BOOK

There's two options: Either am I too dumb to understand it, or the way the whole story comes out just doesn't work.
1. The tower keeps Roland trapped in an endless loop, apparently to punish him for his sinful life. Fascinating idea in principle. But wait a minute: Isn't Roland the one who SAVED the tower, by stopping the work of the breakers? He may not always have behaved like a gentleman on his way there, but he saved it nevertheless, so how can the damn thing be so picky?
2. What exactly is it that the tower wants to teach Roland? To be a nice guy? That's BS, you would never even make it to the tower with a Mother-Theresa-attitude.
3. How is Roland supposed to learn anything from his past 'mistakes' if he forgets everything each time the loop starts anew?
4. We've been told before that in the keystone worlds, time only runs one way. But in the end, we're back to the beginning. How does King square that circle?
5. You cannot repeat time just for one person (unless this all happens in some fake world which exists only for Roland). If Roland is trapped in an endless loop of repetition, then EVERYBODY is. It would also mean that Eddie, Susannah and Jake are hauled from New York over and over again. The Pubes and Grays in Lud will stand up to fight each other again, the Calla will be back to how we encountered it, etc etc etc.
6. By turning back the clock for Roland, the tower puts the breakers in place again, and endangers its own existence again and again. Why on earth would it do that? Pretty high risk just for teaching a gunslinger to behave a bit nicer.

But the ending, bad as it is, is not even the main problem. Since this is the last book, I would have expected King to fill us in on the blank spots. Tell us about the history of Roland's world. How exactly did the Great Old Ones die out? How did Roland's society evolve? Who is the Crimson King, except for an old loonie who screams EEEEEEEE? And most of all, what exactly IS the tower?

It's also disappointing how King builds up expectations of big showdowns with the principal bad guys, and then disposes of them in a matter of a paragraph. Remember how much care has gone into building up the Mordred character: We first came across him in the beginning of Wolves of the Calla, when he was still 'the chap'. How can you just dispose of a character like that as if he was nothing but some annoying bug? Same goes for Walter O'Dim and the Crimson King, and to a lesser extent, Finli O'Tego. Hell, how about some final revelation, some big secret that the guys tell us before going, or whatever?

King's own grumpy afterword just confirms the impression I've won throughout this final book: He grew tired of it and just wanted to get it done quickly. He throws this at his readers, with an attitude of "There's your tower ending, now shut up and leave me alone". It's still not a bad story, but if you build up such colossal expectations (and that's what King does, by raving on about how this is his big ueber-novel which sort of exceeds everything else he ever wrote), then you cannot come up with such a half-baked thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2005
Absolutely brilliant.
I only started reading the series when Wizard and Glass was published, not realising that it was indeed a series, so I was absolutely gutted when I found out the story hadn't ended. Although my wait for this book hasn't been as bad as for others, it has still felt like a lifetime, yet the book didn't disappoint in the slightest.
The final stage of the quest for the dark tower had everything for me, every character finishing their own tale/journey, enough gunslinging to keep the violent side of me happy, enough fantasy to keep the imagination intrigued, and enough story telling and emotion to keep that other side of me happy.
I disagree with the reviewer who "wants to smack" the heroic characters, why continue to read the books if you don't generally like his characters? In this case, King leads the characters to the end that I for one thought suited them all perfectly, each falling into the final scenario which suited their personality. I agree with the reservations one reviewer had when I read that King had written himself into the story, but it all panned out well and, if anything, added to the feeling I had that this book must have dominated King's life for the last 30+ years and was a real labour for him. As for the end, just brilliant. I stared at the book for some time after closing it; there was a touch of regret that the story had finished, but it ended in such a way that satisfied my curiosity but also left enough to the imagination. A brilliant book in it's own right, and the perfect end to the series as a whole
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2005
This story as a whole is an eternity in length by itself, and even broken down into several pieces, those pieces still reach an amazing magnitude.
When i first saw this book in shops, i thought that carrying it home would kill me alone. Even though i was desperate to finish the story that i had begun a million years ago, i was in no rush to try and conquer this mountain.
I first thought that it would be a task to try and finish reading it, but once i started the story flowed, and i flowed with it, never bored or taxed from how much i had to read. I loved every second of it.
Many people disagree with the ending, but i think it was a stroke of genius; besides, how else could he have ended it? It literally makes you want to go back and read it all again!!! LOL
Now the story is complete, and i think it over-shadows other such monuments of literature as The Lord of the Rings, The sword of Truth set, and other such series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2010
OK, so to start off, I'd give this saga 3.5 stars as 3 seems a bit harsh!

This review is of the 7 books not just this one, but this seems to be the right place to do that. Having finally finished them I still can't honestly say whether it was worth it or not....

Let's begin at the end. I thought the ending was superb. It won't please everyone I know, but for me it was inspired and just, so I have no problem with that. My problem with the saga as a whole is that it wasn't consistent, and the last 3 books especially felt very very laboured, in particular the Wolves of Calla which was clearly twice as long as it needed to be. Song of susannah was ok, and I thought the final book ramped it up a bit. Of the first four novels, The Wasteland was dire (I know I'm in a minority here) and dragged and dragged.....the first two novels were fine, but the real gem is Wizard and Glass, a story within a story, which was superbly written and plotted, and of all things it was a love story, and I'm not in the habit of reading love stories I can assure you!! I would read again, and the joy is, someone who doesn't want to read the saga, could dip in on book 4, read that, get the gist of it all and read a damn fine story too, then not bother with the rest. Seems harsh, but in retrospect that's what I would have done.

In summary, I kind of enjoyed them, but think I could have spent my time better reading an alternative 3500 pages of some other novels and been more satisfied. Looking forward to the screen version though, could be great ift the filler is discarded....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2009
Well, where to start? (Minor spoilers)

Having completed the Dark Tower series in just over a year, I truly feel like its the end of an era, and am grateful I didn't have to wait 20 years like some people!

The final volume is, to be fair, the best of the final three, as it seems to me that this is where King knew exactly what he wanted to do. Wolves of the Calla was a good read, but still far too slow for my liking, whilst Song of Susannah was all over the place and a low point in the series.

The series, it is clearer than ever here, has become a true 'labour of love' for sai King, 'labour' being the key word. So much so has it affected his life that he couldn't avoid writing himself into the narrative. As he stresses numerous times, this was not based on any delusions of grandeur, but simply his way of dealing with the tremendous pressure the books put on him. All things considered, a series weaving cowboys, robots, time-travelling, Arthurian legend and vampires into the same plot was an immensely tall order, and King does a remarkable job.

King has said numerous times that he doesn't write the book as much as it writes itself, but one of the main problems I had with this book was in fact, not the meta-fiction, but the almost embarassingly ad-hoc demise of all of its major villains, particularly one major character who has existed since the first book. It seems that some of the narrative strands introduced in the last few books inadvertently overcomplicated things and left King with no other way out. The fact that he himself references the phrase 'deus ex machina' more than once, before clearly employing the technique in serveral occasions, is unfortunate, but perhaps inevitable.

Roland's world is, as always, wonderfully portrayed down to the last ruined building or dead treee, and, although there is little 'action' say compared to, say, 'Drawing of the Three', but in a way, this recalls the surreal spiritual isolation of the first book. The battle scenes are in all but one unfortunately quite anticlimactic when they do erupt (King at one point even gives up trying to describe it), but for their briefness forgivable. The book shines, as they always have done, when Roland's ka-tet are together and engaged in light-hearted 'palaver' (banter) as they journey through strange places and encounter the weird and wonderful that only King could conjure up.

The ending is something that every Dark Tower reader should discover for themselves, for they have earned it. For me, the book is about obsession over a difficult, tormenting goal, both on the part of Roland and Stephen King. I would strongly advise not trying to learn the ending before finishing, as I did, although I will say that I still found myself in awe as the book shifted into the final chapter. The ending is the only ending, and despite the imperfections of the series, I am glad I took the journey.
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