Published on April, 24th, the latest Dark Tower novel is a kind of insert between DT 4 (Wizard and Glass) and DT 5 (Wolves of the Callah). King himselves labels it as „Dark Tower 4.5“ 🙂 For a King novel – and especially for a DT work – it’s suprisingly short, „only“ about 300 pages.
The book consists basically of three levels:
Roland and his ka-tet (Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy) have to find a safe place to hide from a mysterious storm (the starkblast) (Level 1). With nothing to do while waiting for the storm to end, Roland tells his ka-tet another story about his youth – also rather seamlessly inserted after DT 4: Guild-ridden because he accidentally killed his mother, Roland is being sent by his father with Jamie to a outlying region of New Canaan to stop a series of brutal murders (Level 2). During the investigation he gets to know the son of victim and tells him the story „The Wind Through the Keyhole“ (Level 3).
I’m not sure if I like the „story inside a story inside a story“ idea – and at first I wasn’t very impressed by the third level – „The Wind Through the Keyhole“. It started as a „normal“ fantasy story only happening to be in a DT context. This changed during the story – something which looked like a fairy tale set in the DT universe became more and more a true – in the context historical – DT story which led to two problems:
- I didn’t buy the story as a fairy tale/kid’s story (Roland sold it as one)
- There’s an odd kind of anachronism happening: during the story some DT stuff is being mentioned (including some innuendo)- stuff which Roland encounteres much later in the DT timeline.
I also wasn’t impressed by the ending of the story. Therefore I’ve got mixed feeling about the third level: a slow start, then getting more and more interesting but a rather dull ending (which also would be atypical for a fairy tale).
But: I really liked the other two levels‘ ending – that’s why my overall impression is quite positive. I’m giving it 8/10 points 😀