Tag: Roland

Stephen King – Insomnia | Review

TitleInsomnia
Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 760

Rating: 3.25/5

 

 

I have pretty mixed feelings about this book, because there were elements and themes to it which I liked but it was also pretty boring in places. There were also some unusual formatting elements being used to convey psychic conversations that made it a little harder/more involved to read it, as well as tiny print and super thin pages that sometimes made the actual book difficult to hold.

This is definitely not one that you should read if you’re new to King, and there’s a very specific reason for that. It has some heavy tie-ins with the Dark Tower series, including a cameo from Roland and references to ka-tets and a whole section named after the Crimson King. The stakes are high, too. If the life of a certain child isn’t saved, the Tower will fall down.

If all of that means something to you, you’re probably ready to read this book. If not, maybe leave it for a while, especially because it was the lore and the tie-ins with the multiverse which made this worth reading, at least in my opinion. Other than that, it was pretty dull, although it wasn’t as tedious of a read as Bag of Bones. It was also confusing at times, but there were at least these little periods here and there where it sort of managed to reabsorb me again.

 

 

I was also kind of disappointed with the fact that insomnia itself didn’t really play a major part in the story line. It was more as though it was the inciting incident and then the rest of the story just went off on a tangent with almost Donnie Darko vibes when it comes to how the protagonists could see auras and influence people and the events that were happening. That was all fine, but as an actual insomniac, I was kind of hoping to see more from that.

It also felt as though the pacing was off, with a little too much worldbuilding for my taste. The only saving grace there was that it was set in Derry, Maine, one of King’s most iconic settings, and so it was good to get a little extra background information. It stopped me caring too much about whether the plot was going anywhere because I was just happy to be there.

Then, when the plot did go places, it quite often took off like a rocket, hooking me in for fifty pages or so before it went back to not much happening. Then it was followed up by what felt like a rushed epilogue with a pretty cliché ending, but then I suppose King isn’t really known for having the best endings anyway. I think if anything, it just ran out of steam, and when you consider that it was written across a three year period, perhaps that’s understandable.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

There’s just something missing here, that magic spark that King’s work sometimes has. I think different people experience his different books in different ways, and there’s a risk that sometimes with his longer work, if the book doesn’t connect with you, it ends up feeling like a chore. This one wasn’t quite a chore, but it also wasn’t far off it, and if it had been another hundred pages or so I think I would have given up and switched it out as a bedtime book.

My experience then was mostly positive, but I don’t think I’d be in any hurry to pick it up again for a re-read unless there was some big reason for it. I think one time was enough, and it pretty much ranks towards the lower middle of the list of King books that I’ve read so far, which is most of them. It’s just okay, nothing more nor less than that, and while I’m definitely glad that I read it, I’m also glad that it’s over and I don’t need to pick it up again. So yeah.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy Insomnia.

 


Stephen King – The Dark Tower | Review

Title: The Dark Tower

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 710

Rating: 8/10

 

Stephen King - The Dark Tower

Stephen King – The Dark Tower

 

And so it ends. This book is the seventh and final book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although you could count The Wind Through the Keyhole as an eighth book if you were so inclined. Either way, this rounds off the series and reveals the end of the story, as well as what happens when Roland finally reaches the Dark Tower.

I’ve got to be honest, the first couple of hundred pages seemed to drag for me, and I found it difficult to get into the story line. But a little later on, it got good again, and we were soon rolling along the path of the Beam and towards the Tower and the Crimson King. It’s certainly true that a lot happens here – we get to learn more about Mordred, the anti-Roland, and we learn the ultimate fate of each of the characters that we’ve met along the way.

And so, of course, we have to deal with death – in a series like this, with so many characters, there’s no way that all of them are going to make it to the end. But don’t worry – I’m not going to tell you who dies, because that’s ka’s will, and you’ll find out all about it in your own time. That’ll be fun!

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

What I will say is that I saw the ending coming around 50 pages before it happened, which was a little annoying because the whole series was around 3,500 pages long. That said, it didn’t ruin it – if anything, it felt just right. It’s hard to explain it – if you’ve read the rest of your series then you’ll know what I mean, because it felt just like it was meant to be.

Another thing that I ought to mention is the size of the book, and the print. See, my copy doesn’t look as thick as some of the other books, and after the relatively slim size of Song of Susannah, the book that comes before this, I was expecting to blitz through this pretty quickly. But then I started reading it, and I realised that the print is so small that it’s actually difficult to focus on. It’s a book that you’ll need to read in the day, and not because it’s scary – it’s because it’s so damn difficult to see, and you’ll need good lighting if you want to be able to make out the print.

But other than that, I was happy with this – it was a great read, especially during the latter half of the book, and it forces you to keep reading until the end. As the reader, you feel like a part of Roland’s ka-tet, and when the ending rolls around, you feel like a part of the team. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll start to see the symbolism all over the place – roses, towers, and ka. After a while, it all starts to feel real, which made me want to call in sick because I figured that this ain’t Mid-World, so it doesn’t matter.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Overall, then, I’d say that The Dark Tower is a satisfying conclusion to the series, but it’s far from the best one on the market. I can’t explain why, but The Drawing of the Three was my favourite of the lot so far. This one does a good job of continuing the series, but it’s far from exceptional – good, but not great.

But I’d still recommend it, especially to lovers of fantasy and science fiction, as well as people who just appreciate good storytelling. See, the thing with The Dark Tower is that it transcends genre, and for anyone who appreciates a good read, this is good stuff. Unfortunately, you do need to stick with it, and to spend a lot of time ploughing through the pages.

Luckily, it’s a pleasure – even despite the difficulties I faced throughout it, I’m glad that I stuck with it. In fact, I’ve already started reading The Wind Through the Keyhole, the final Dark Tower novel, which was written after the series was completed and which fits somewhere in the middle of it. I’d recommend it – this too!

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy The Dark Tower.

 


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