Any of you who have read the first six books in The Dark Tower series will be able to understand the mixtures of feelings which comes with picking up the final book, also called The Dark Tower. There was excitement, after finally being so tantalizingly close to the conclusion. There was dread, for what may or may not happen, and the fear of events which are wholly out of our control. I feel as if every range of emotion that you can describe has been imparted on me throughout this reading experience, and the idea of reaching the end came with both equal feelings of fulfillment and sadness. The journey, long and perilous as it has been, would soon be over . . . whatever the outcome.
I have already stated this regarding the previous books in the series, but I must say it for a final time: these books are ridiculously hard to review without giving away even tiny spoilers! So many things are interconnected, and even small events often take the reader by surprise, later leading to bigger events. Whilst I cannot really tell you an intricate or conhesive plot line for this novel, I will say that it picks up where we left off from the previous book, with the members of the Ka-tet individually fighting against various forces which want to stop them uniting and finally reaching the Tower. Lets be honest – this is the book all fans of this series have been waiting for. This is the one where finally, all of the loose ends and uncertainties can hopefully be resolved and laid to rest. Or so we hope.
This book wastes no time in getting right into the thick of the action, which is exactly what we need and want after the way the last book ended. King manages to seamlessly continue his narrative, never missing a beat or allowing the reader to feel as if there was even a break between books. Whilst I will not give anything away for future readers, I will divulge that within the very first few pages of this novel, a character whom we have grown to understand and admire, dies. We are given no reprise, no gentle push which eases readers back into this world. In fact, things are at such a critical apex in the story that we are not even given the time we need to mourn this character. We have come too far, the stakes are too high, and the story must continue.
Much like the previous book, this one flicks efficiently between each of the main characters perspectives, allowing us to gather and create a wider sense of what is consecutively taking place. This quick, simultaneous effect creates a sense that each of the characters are collectively moving towards one singular, unavoidable point, and they will soon be reunited through a collision.
In many ways, this book seems more fantastical than what we may have seen before. Perhaps, as the ends draws near, it gave King a sense of liberation in his writing. We see many more imaginative, disturbing creatures, including the character of Mordred himself. I would be lying if I said I completely bought into the idea of Mordred (a baby meets spider) one hundred percent. Having said that, it has not stopped my enjoyment or my submersion into the story. Likwise, this book takes the unflinchingly dark tone to a much stronger level. Certain acts committed by Mordred in particular are still mentally burned into my brain, and were rather sickening to read. There is definitely a sense that this book is all or nothing, and because of that we are given no time to acclimatise to each new horror as it approaches.
Traveling between physical and temporal spaces is likewise much more prevalent within this book. Each act of travel collectively works to make the story stronger, allowing for no mundane events. Each act, as you will see, happens for a reason, and has a specific purpose, even if we do not fully comprehend this at the time. I especially enjoyed the thorough intertwining of our world, Roland’s world, and the many versions in between. It felt like we were given a lot more information and answers regarding the existence of these spaces, and we were able to appreciate the sheer hard, imaginative work King has dedicated to his writing.
As you can appreciate with the conclusive novel of any series, this book really works to finally fill out the pieces of the jigsaw we have as of yet been unable to complete ourselves. King allows us moments of clarity and satisfaction. Yet that is not to say that this is a satisfying, neatly tied ending. I will warn you in advance that this ending will infuriate many readers, myself included. That’s not to say that it is an unhappy, or unresolved ending, but it is nevertheless infuriating.
The whole experience of reading this novel was highly oxymoronic – bittersweet personified. We have the joy of getting closer and closer to the long sought after Tower, to the hope of finding answers and a conclusion. Yet this is mirrored against the lamentable fact that the end is nearing, that both our and Roland’s journey is drawing to its final close, and we are unable to rid ourselves of this sense of impending finality. You will definitely feel something after the ending of this book, be that joy, relief, anger or despair. For those of you who are about to embark on this final journey, good luck. And for those of you who have yet to pick up the first book in King’s series, I urge you to do so. Emotions aside, you will not regret it.