Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bookshelf: Stephen King's The Wind Through The Keyhole

If you've been following with the books I've read you know I got to the fourth book of The Dark Tower series, and before reading Wolves of Calla I was recommended to first read the book that King intended to tie in to the novel series way later on in 2012. King does a good job of making the book flow into the series. For Dark Tower fans particularly though it will be exciting to have a new book in the series exploring the mid-world that Roland resides in.

Summary: Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy the billy-bumbler are on their way to the Outer Baronies, but a storm halts them in their path as they travel. As they are stormed in Roland tells a story within a story. He begins with one that accounts his early days as a gunslinger when he was sent by his father to find a shape-shifter than had been terrorizing the village. He meets Bill Streeter, the only boy in the village who has lived the attack of the shape-shifter and may be the only one who can identify him. To calm him he tells him the story of a boy named Tim from a popular childhood story his mom would tell him from a story time book.

Characters: You have an assortment of characters that you are introduced to, and for a story that is squeezed in between other novels they are tied in very well. The most developed part are the characters from the story that Roland is telling Bill though. Tim and his mother's troubles slowly pull you in, but it takes adjustment to keep switching stories throughout the book. I honestly got so into Tim's story that I forgot what it was Roland was hunting as a teen before he started telling the story for a bit. Tim's story has a lot of emotional elements that make him a better fantasy character. When we get back to what Roland is hunting with other gunslingers, and his story with Bill though it's easy to shift gears back there.

Writing: King usually never fails with writing. Even his weakest writing can be better than some author's best work. He perfects his use of giving the character's a strong voice in this novel. Sometimes though the accent he is trying to capture is difficult for me to read though particularly in the part where Roland is in the village with Billy. Some of the men's conversations are so jumbled, but I can see what accent he was trying to get at. It contributes to the setting he is capturing, but did slow my reading pace a lot.

Plot: At first I didn't think I would like the plot especially as I kept jumping around in the novel. One minute I am with the original crew that spans the Dark Tower novels, then the next I'm with a younger Roland, and then I'm in a completely different world that involves a boy Tim, and his abused mother. What King is always good about his plots are giving us ways to care about his characters. I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but these books have captured me enough to continue reading them. The characters don't seem bound to the genre of fantasy, but they are people you could imagine throughout many other novels in other genres. The scenarios they are fighting range from horror, which is more interesting to me, to more fantasy.

If you've been following The Dark Tower books then this is a good add on, and since it doesn't involve much from the past books, and has a great catch up at the beginning you could perhaps even read it stand alone, but I don't recommend that. You're going to have a better attachment to the world and the characters if you follow the book in order.

Rating 8 of 10.

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