Reading Now: The Dark Tower, Book VII

The Dark Tower, Book VII – Stephen King

(Look away now if you plan to read this at some point and want to avoid spoilers.)

Still here? Good.

I’m nearing the end of this, the last book of King’s epic fantasy saga – essentially one million-word novel, written over the course of seven books and twenty years. I’ll not go into great detail or summarise: there are a wealth of analyses of the series online already. But I did want to talk a little about the sheer audacity of one of the elements of the novel.

The fact that Stephen King’s in it.

I still can’t decide whether I really like what he’s done here, or think he’s disappeared up his own . . . imagination. But I’m certainly impressed that he tried it.

And not only is he in it, he’s deeply woven into the story, acknowledged as the very creator of the protagonists and to some extent even the worlds they inhabit. The bit I read today – that almost made me spill my drink, and prompted this post – was when Eddie, one of those protagonists, ponders the mysterious appearance of a miraculous artefact which saves their bacon, the phenomenon of deus ex machina in literature, and the conclusion that ‘their’ Stephen King deliberately created the artefact so they could win against all odds.

It’s all gone a bit meta.

My head hurts.

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4 thoughts on “Reading Now: The Dark Tower, Book VII

  1. stayquirkymyfriends

    That part of this whole saga left me a bit confused too… so bizarre that he includes himself as a character, but it does make it convenient if he needs to alter the story… It’s hubris at its finest, but I still love the Dark Tower series in general. Good luck with your own writing!

    1. Thanks very much, and for commenting!

      I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the saga as well. I powered through the first six books super-fast, but something about this last one slowed me – as if he’s trying to say something profound with it, and it’s not quite coming across. Not to me, at least. And maybe just not yet.

  2. stayquirkymyfriends

    You are lucky…I started them before he was finished so I had the agony of waiting to see if the series would ever be finished! He pulled through, even after that crash that almost killed him…Hope you enjoy the ending!

    1. That would have been a nightmare for me. It’s why I haven’t started a Song of Ice and Fire yet – I’m not sure if I could handle George R. R. not being able to round it off.

      I did read Steven Erikson’s Malazan books as he was writing them, though. Seeing as he was banging out one a year, despite them each being 250,000 words long, I thought it was pretty safe!

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