Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen KingTuesday, October 23, 2012
Authors: Stephen King
Series: The Dark Tower #4.5
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Western
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Check it out at: Amazon | Goodreads
In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King returns to the rich landscape of Mid-World, the spectacular territory of the Dark Tower fantasy saga that stands as his most beguiling achievement.
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet—Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, the billy-bumbler—encounter a ferocious storm just after crossing the River Whye on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells his friends not just one strange story but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.
In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Only a teenager himself, Roland calms the boy and prepares him for the following day’s trials by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.
Fair warning: I am a Stephen King and Dark Tower series fan, so this review will hardly be objective, but I will try. :)
If someone would ask me to describe this book in two words, it would be: Storytelling Inception. :D Yes this is a story in a story in a story and as usual the core of the novel (the third story) is the best.
It all begins with the ka-tet we all know and love. We hang out with them for about 10-15% of the book, but we will not learn much new here, it's just a setting for a Roland to tell his friend another story about his start as a gunslinger.
I don't know about you, but I loved these back stories in previous Dark Tower books. As Eddie sums it up, Mid-World is "mysterious yet strangely hilarious" and the same can be said about his history.
Roland tell us about murders he is sent to investigate by his father. (That's another 30% of the book.) The story is solid and although there are not many unexpected twists, it keeps your attention and is interesting. Also, we have a chance to glimpse a little bit more of Roland's personality and feelings after his mother's murder.
And then we get to the real jewel of this novel. While waiting for murder suspects to arrive, Roland tell to a little boy witness a story The tale 'Wind Through the Keyhole' that his mother used to tell his when he was a boy. This story is 50-60% of the book and it has it all: mystery, magic, dragons, fairies, murder. And another cool North Positronic device. I don't know how to start talking about it without spoiler, so I won't.
So, if you are a Dark Tower series fan and you would like another glimpse into the mysteries of Mid-World, read this book. And you would probably want to re-read the whole series again, just like me. :)
If you haven't read first 4 books in Dark Tower series, I would not recommend reading this book. Although they advertise it as a stand alone novel, there are a lot of references to the previous events and some thing that are just skimmed here, are explained in previous books. But if you like fantasy and you are looking for a something different (like bad-ass cowboy main hero), give The Gunslinger a try, I think you will not be disappointed.
I recommend this book to: fans of Dark Tower series.