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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 July 2017
Where the first book in this series was mystical this book is very different. The gunslinger is going to draw three people to him from our world. Each of them comes from a different part of twentieth century history and all of them have problems. The gunslinger finds himself in their life and has to bring them over into his world but it is not easy or straightforward and to do it he has to inhabit the mind of two women and a serial killer.

Apart from the fact that a couple of the same characters from the first book also appear in this novel there isn't much connection between the two books. It is also difficult at this stage to see where the overall story arc is going. It seems very much as though this is just one building block in a greater story and that we won't really understand everything until we get to the end - I really hope that it all ties together then ! For that reason the story in this book is a little unsatisfying although the author does resolve the issues which arise here.

The book is enjoyable enough to read but the fact that I am not sure exactly what is going on overall rather muted that enjoyment. If I reread it after reading the whole series I may find it more satisfying.
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on 12 August 2017
In the foreword, King writes of the influence of Tolkien on him as a young writer and how he wanted to write his own long, sprawling epic but knew if he didn't wait long enough he'd write something too similar to The Lord of the Rings. This is The Two Towers, or at least the Frodo and Sam half of it. The gunslinger has become Frodo, with his mission to reach the dark tower in some inter-dimensional Mordor; Eddie is his Samwise Junkee; Detta/Odetta is their Gollum/Smeagol. We even have Grima Wormtongue and a character who seems to oscillate between Saruman, the Mouth of Sauron and Gandalf.

The three traipse from place to place at a snail's pace across a desolate landscape, with Roland Baggins getting progressively sicker. We address questions of addiction, echoing the seduction of the one ring.

I still finished it, although I'm struggling to get into book three - even though I'm reading these on holiday with nothing better to read.
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on 14 February 2018
For the first time in the Dark Tower series I contemplated giving up. Ok maybe thats a bit extreme, but I did fine the middle of the book a bit tedious at times. I'll be as general as I can with no spoilers.

Our travellers are asked to help a Town to defend itself, and while exploring the Town, and meeting the people they discover a man from New York. After talking with him they discover there journeys may be intertwined, ka you might say. There is a significant portion of the book devoted to this mans story, without the main story progressing at all, or very slowly. But it needs to be done and just like our heroes, He needs to be heard or read.

As time progresses, and you get closer to the end of the book, you begin to realise, "hey, I've only got 50 pages left and the story isn't finished yet, what gives?" This is because the end comes short and sharp. However King makes sure it doesn't feel rushed, it doesn't feel like he ran out of ideas. Like Roland says, the fighting doesn't last long, and thats true for the story telling too.

We end on a cliffhanger, which sets up the next book perfectly, and I cannot wait to begin the next journey.
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on 21 July 2015
I read 'IT' when I was 17 and I was so gripped I hid in an alleyway at the end of our road, and waited for my mum to drive off to work so that I could bunk off school to keep reading it! That was the only time I did this but I felt had to - I couldn't focus on anything else until I had finished it. I have not read any Stephen King since - perhaps through fear of 'bunking off' for the rest of my life!

My Dad has read a LOT of books - I think he has read everything that Stephen King has ever written. For years he has spoken enthusiastically about 'The Long Walk' and, finally, I have got around to buying this and reading it.
I have read many YA dystopian novels over the last three years and, after reading 'The Long Walk' and 'Running Man' I can't help but wonder at how many of the authors, of the more recent books I have read, have been influenced by these stories. Like another reviewer has written, I read before I go to sleep almost every night and I found myself looking forward to bedtime everyday, whilst reading these stories - in fact - I had to abandon waiting until bedtime a few times, despite having a list of other jobs to do! (I did go to work - there was no 'bunking-off' this time!)

Stephen King is BRILLIANT (I teach English at a secondary school and I never hear English teachers mention Stephen King - I suppose the swearing makes his novels a bit of a 'no-go' - especially for the younger students - and, perhaps, some of the violence. However, I think he is a brilliant writer and I managed to use a few quotes from 'The Long Walk' to teach my year 7 students 'pathetic fallacy', with great success!) As an avid and passionate reader of a wide range of books -from any genre, time period... I have to say, these stories reminded me that Stephen King is a legend - (in my opinion).
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on 17 November 2015
Written in the first-person perspective, the narrative is framed around an interview given to the police by a 65-year-old woman by the name of Dolores Claiborne, who has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a rich old lady called Vera Donovan, who she worked for as a housekeeper. Vera bequeathed Dolores a tidy sum of some 30 million dollars upon her death, which unsurprisingly made people suspect that she was killed for her money. Dolores has form for it after all, having bumped off her abusive husband Joe three decades earlier.

The lack of chapters didn't really bother me as it's such a short book, in comparison with a few of Stephen King's heftier tomes. I've read over a dozen of King's novels since I started working my way through his back catalogue two years ago, and I've enjoyed almost every one immensely. This really lived up to my high expectations.
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on 9 July 2017
A quartet of very good stories by the master of horror, Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

Rage - a young highschool student holds his classmates hostage (this story was eventually pulled from publication, by King himself, due to an alarming amount of School shootings that have occurred over the years).

The Long Walk - set in a Dystopian future this story focuses on a competition where the winner literally takes all and the losers get a bullet in the head.

The Running Man - Yes, the film is apparently based on the book but there really aren't any comparisons. Another Dystopian future/competition but it's a very dark affair.

Roadwork - after being served an eviction notice (due to the construction of a new road) our hero goes on a mad one, taking drugs and falling deeper in insanity, and then the violence ensues.

Outstanding book, I recommend it highly!

Cheers
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on 29 August 2017
A collection of novellas from Stephen King under the Bachman cloak, two diamonds and one rather laborious tale.
As a latecomer to the Stephen King appreciation club, I have been steadily working my way through his collection and came across a positive review for The Long Walk. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of this collection and ploughed through The Walk in a few days.
Bachman (King) has a flawless skill in describing the hopes, dreams and fears of teenage years (see Stand By Me to support) and The Long Walk builds on the vulnerability of young age to construct suspense with every page turn. A simple, though thoroughly gruesome concept, if I were to describe this book to a friend it would sound a dull affair - but this could not be further removed from the truth. I slipped into the main characters shoes effortlessly with Kings help and marched every step of The Long Walk. The despair and angst grows as the Walk progresses and you cannot escape this book as much as the boys cannot escape the Walk. I loved this story, the only slight gripe is the end feels jammed into a few pages when it cried out for more. I was so emotionally invested, the final cut left me feeling frustrated.... but then that matched the feelings King created perfectly.
The Running Man differs from the Arnie movie classic - the glimpse into a future where reality TV has taken a bloody twist and the contestants are driven by extreme poverty to compete for life changing money, all to satisfy the bloodlust of the blinkered, uncaring wealthy and the contestants own pitiless peers and neighbours. Written before reality TV saturated what passes as television now, the trend for more extreme shows we possess in reality could indeed prove Kings window into the future as more accurate than I would comfortably admit. The repulsive TV execs and public baying for the contestants to be killed as quickly and brutally as possible, make it easy to side with our 'hero' as King always expertly manages to do. More action packed gore than cerebral scares here but another fine example of Kings writing genius.
Roadwork is the stone in my Stephen King slippers. I struggled with the storyline, I simply couldn't connect with the character and didn't feel the plot at all. I persevered to the end and can say this is the only King book I have read that I did not enjoy. I would purchase the collection for the first two stories along which are stellar, but I would save yourself the time and pass on Roadwork.
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on 16 May 2016
While I consider that Stepehen King is possibly one of the greatest story-tellers alive, I don't like his horror stuff. So I tend to stick with his short story collections; if a story starts getting too bloody and gory for my tastes, I can skip it and go to the next one. Having now read almost all of his story collections I have to say this is one of his best - in fact, if I hadn't already read 'Bazaar of Bad Dreams' I'd say it was THE best.
There are just four long stories/short novellas in this collection. '1922' is set in the Midwest in the 1920s; a struggling farmer induces his teenage son to help him murder his wife; the story is his confession and is very much in the "Tell-Tale Heart" category - neither he nor his son can escape the consequences of his actions.
'Fair Extension' is a bit of an oddity. A man is offered everything he most wishes for - his cancer cured and lifelong success for himself and his family; the price for this is not his soul, but corresponding tragedy and ruin for another person and the ending isn't what you'd expect.
'Big Driver' and 'A Good Marriage' are apart in the book but really belong together, I feel. Like 'Rose Madder' and 'Dolores Caliborne', they involve women taking drastic and heroic action against violent men. Too few male writers have King's amazing ability to write women characters who are strong, rounded, resouceful and totally believable. In 'Bad Driver', a woman writer who has so far lived a perfectly peaceful and comfortable life is violently raped, beaten and almost murdered. The rape is described, but completely non-voyeuristically; we're left in no doubt that it's a horrifying, brutal act. 'A Good Marriage' explores the dilemma of a woman who uncovers her husband's dreadful secret.
Both stories show women refusing to be helpless victims; they both take control of their lives and get revenge in very satisfactory (to me and, I suspect, to many women!) ways.
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on 21 April 2016
I always love any Stephen King story but this book is very special because it contains 'Rage', which King withdrew from print shortly after its release. It can be difficult to get 'Rage' (unless you want to pay a few hundred for a French copy.. I don't know why those are more available than English language copies!). Also, along my hunt for the story I found several story collections that had 'Rage' printed on the cover, but if those collections were reprints then Rage was no longer in the book. I spent months searching for a copy of 'Rage' so imagine my surprise when I found it here on amazon! This story is a real collectors item for King fans because they won't be reprinting it, so the only copies available are the ones that came out in the first pressing.

If you want Rage, I'd grab this collection now while you can! That story alone is worth well over the price listed, plus you get another three novellas so it's a steal!
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on 22 August 2017
This was my first King novel much hyped by the advent of the impending film. Sadly I was unimpressed. The story is jumpy, McCarthy's The Road is paced much better. Furthermore, if you're going to introduce your own argot, then give it greater context. See A Clockwork Orange or Trainspotting. Frankly 3 stars is generous. I'm also a chapter into the sequel and regretting my purchase... Caveat Emptor...
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