posted by Gene on May 9
I just finished the last of the Dark Tower series. I read them cause Pat seems to love them, primarily. And they were available, that’s a big thing. I have some problems with the work. In the following discussion there will be some spoiling, but I don’t think there will be anything too grievous. Still, if you are worried, u can just skip this post.
I understand this series is well liked, but I can’t figure out why exactly. Although, generally, it seems those works that hold wide public acclaim get none from me. I site Harry Potter and Twlight as the most obvious examples, but also nearly every “classic” ever forced upon me and Anne Frank’s Diary. Don’t make me remember.
I didn’t read these books as they were released, and I think that that might be part of my problem. Not a big part, but I can see how the hype would help. Especially waiting for the next book and whatnot. I didn’t do any of that, though. I read the whole series in the last month or two. Also, I’ve never read any other Steven King, so it occurs to me that I might just not like his writing. /shrug Still going to write my critique. Onto the big complaints.
The smuttiness. Mostly this occurs in the first book, but it is still annoying throughout the series. I don’t normally mind smut, but in this case it just seems so wanton and extreme. It also seems purposeful and forced, like King thinks he’ll score a few points every time he strays from strictly “appropriate” subject matter. Each time he did it it took me from the flow of things, and it seemed to paint a world where it was normal to think in such terms, which maybe he was trying for, but I doubt. It seemed to me like he was trying to say to the readers, “See, I’m just like you. I know you all think about farts all the time, and you think the pompous of normal writers not to drop it into their paragraphs at least sometimes.” Which was annoying, cause I don’t think that, and I really don’t think that many other people do either.
I also don’t buy the whole thing about him not being in control of the story. I mean, the meta aspect is kinda cool, but it got old after a while, and seemed more like a crutch, and an excuse for doing such a bad job, rather than an interesting aspect of the story. He kept making the story more and more obviously contrived, using deus ex machina more and more obviously, that it became clear that he had to call himself out, or everyone else would. I mean, at first it’s just a guy who’s really good with guns. Then he has feelings and intuition. Then there are doors to other dimensions. Then there is psychic communication among friends. Then there is just general psychic’s everywhere. And then, finally, at the very end, there’s that new special kind of magic introduced just for Steve to write himself out of his final corner.
I also don’t like the meandering tone of the novels. I just think he didn’t know what he was doing long term, which he professes he didn’t. He started out with a gritty westernish thing, kinda making his own feel. Then he tried to expand it and got lost. Then he tried to make it a deep series commenting on the craft of story telling, and referencing many of the great stories. He fell down there by having to explain every minute reference. Then he hit on calling himself a great story teller, and the meta thing came to him. And he ran with that to the end. Except for not really, cause he hates endings, so he wrote like 3 endings. /shakes head
The characters were all right. I mean, it’s not like it’s the worst book ever written or anything. And the characters we likeable, which is more than most authors can claim. But he used them annoyingly on occasion, too. Like, Eddie, was clearly his cliché crutch. At first he just had Eddie being comic relief and using all the cliché lines, but after a while Eddie’s absence didn’t stop him, he’d just boiler plate in “as Eddie would say” somewhere in the sentence.
I’m not really going anywhere with this. I just was so often struck with this complaints during my reading, now that it’s over I had to voice them.
I guess I’d like to say that the story was pretty ok to read. It was kinda fun. Kinda different as well, if you’ve read tons of sci-fi and fantasy, it had some newness in it. But I think you’d be much better off if you spent your time reading Otherland or Ender or the Frank Herbert Dune books. I just expect more from my books. I’m picky.
Edit: Oh, also, at one point Susanna “leaps to her feet.” I mean real Susanna, not possessed of magic demon feet Susanna or anything. /shakes head