In September, I suggested a reading order for the extended universe of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, a series I loved, but hadn't read any of since Volume 7: The Dark Tower came out in 2004. I realized that I missed the characters from the series, and wondered if the reading order I suggested would really hold someone's interest all the way through. I scoured some local bookstores, and then the internet for the hardcovers of the books, and prepared for my quest to read a Super Long series of books.
A Wind Through The Keyhole is the only official Dark Tower book that I'd never read. It wasn't published until several years after the rest of the books were completed, even though it takes place between Wizard And Glass and Wolves Of The Calla. I was warned that it was not very good. And while it isn't very good, parts of it are excellent, and it's definitely worth including in the journey.
1. The Story
The set piece. The familiar. A missing part of a journey (if you were reading this when it came out.) Inconsequential? Sequential?
It's great seeing the five main characters of the quest: Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susanna, and Oy. They only have one adventure in this book, and it's just a vehicle for King to tell his two other stories, but it feels like part of the main series. And given how much I enjoyed the flashback portions of The Gunslinger, and of Wizard & Glass, I had high hopes for the stories this would envelop.
Four out of five burritos.
2. The Story Within A Story
I couldn't focus on this at all. Roland as a narrator is excruciating. First person fiction is Stephen King's kryptonite. I couldn't even give you a synopsis of this story, as I kept skimming ahead, hoping it would get better, but it never did. It seems more like Dark Tower fanfic than an actual part of the series.
One out of five burritos.
3. The Story Within A Story Within A Story
The heart of the book. The fairy tale. The focus. The beam. A different beam. Seriously, this story takes place on a different beam from all the other books.
I did really enjoy this story, though, even if it doesn't really affect the main quest of the book.
Four out of five burritos
Mathematically ,that makes this collection three out of five burritos.
--Apparently, moving from beam to beam allows King to move from The Wizard Of Oz references to The Chronicles Of Narnia.
--This beam does also have the Arthurian motif, though.
--I've never hated a piece of Stephen King's writing as much as I hated the story-within-a-story in this book. Congrats to The Eyes Of the Dragon for no longer being my least favorite piece of King's mythology.
--I always thought a starkblast was something that happened after Iron Man had too much shwarma