Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Retro Review: The Wind in the Keyhole, by Stephen King

Read in April, 2012

Here's another bonus review. This one stands out as a rare "bad" review of a King book. Note that it sits at 3 stars. For my King ratings, that's pretty low. For my Dark Tower ratings, that's abysmal.

The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5)The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Uummmmm. What do I say? For as long as I've been on GR, I've seen the debate on the Dark Tower. Which story era is more enjoyable? The "present day (sorta)" ka-tet of Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy. Or the "Young Roland" era when he ran with Alain, Cuthbert, and Jamie?

So as I'm about to start this book, I find out that many of the "present day" crews are disappointed because we get a little time with the ka-tet, only to have the story shift back in time with Roland telling another story of his youth, much like Wizard & Glass. That book seems to be either a least favorite or a most favorite with everyone. With me, it was a most favorite. So while they were lamenting the return to the early Roland days, I was excited.

But in the end, Ka got me too. King pulled a double switch on us, giving us a little Roland story within the Ka-tet story, only to have THAT one shift to a storytelling situation about a kid we never heard of from even further back. And I'm like, wtf? It's ok for a little bit, but it takes up half the damn book.

The actual story "The Wind Through the Keyhole" is this thing, a fable about a kid disguised and sold as a Dark Tower novel. Ok, so there are some Midworld references and sayings and society stuff built in, so I can see that. It was Midworldian. It was rather interesting to see some stuff in the long ago, before the world moved on.

But if it's always like that, I can see why it moved on. It was boring. That story didn't even feel like a King story. It wasn't bad. It started out alright. By the end it was even engaging. But the middle slogged on quite a bit to the point that I found my mind drifting.

Then we switch back to Young Roland and get a quick wrap up on that story, which was very intriguing and enjoyable. And finally, we switch back up to modern Roland and Ka-tet, getting a wrap up on it too. Which wasn't a wrap up as much as a "ok, we're done screwing around, let's get on with it" that leads into Book 5.

Crap, it was like reading Inception. Only not as good.

Half this book is 5-star material (Young Roland story, Modern Roland interlude). The other half of the book is 3-star (with some boring 2-star fairy chasing in the middle). We'll average it out and call it 4. I'm being generous, but it IS a Dark Tower related book. I won't call it part of the main series though. It's an extra, like The Little Sisters of Eluria or the graphic novel series.

ETA (1/27/2013): The more this book has settled in, the more I am bothered by my overly generous 4-star review. It simply doesn't deserve it. A 4-star should not leave a bad taste in my mouth 8 months after I've finished it.

It's worth reading, but simply does not measure up to the rest of the series, period.

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