I realize that the title doesn’t indicate it but I did (and do) love this series. As a whole. Mostly.
I’m going to tell you what I loved about it first so that you’ll know I really mean it. The world is AMAZINGLY well developed. It’s mostly called Mid-World but that’s always just felt like a filler title until someone came up with a better one (like Snakes on a Plane – seriously, how did that get released) so I’m not going to refer to it as such. Anyways, it is extremely well thought out and explained. There is just so much detail and foreshadowing which is especially crazy considering how long King took to write the whole series and how unlikely it seemed at the beginning that it would ever be published. I did feel as I was reading it as thought those places were real and, of course because this is Stephen King after all, terrifying.
The characters were equally well thought out. Roland is amazing and, in all honesty, the only reason I finished reading the series. He is not a good person or a nice person but he is an amazing character. And he is basically the human embodiment of purpose. It’s so interesting to watch him survive without ever really changing. He does occasionally develop feelings but the narrator always makes it clear that these are just old feelings reawakened – the person he loves now is essentially just a replacement for someone he loved long ago (often also with basically the same face). Usually when I read or see representations of the Old West it is romanticized as being a place full of white hats and damsels. But this interpretation feels more honest – being a gunslinger (or a knight on a quest) is impossibly lonely and, as historically demonstrated by Wyatt Earp and basically everyone else in the Old West.
Gilhead is something I would love to know more about – beyond simply that it was Roland’s childhood home and basically Camelot but then fell. I know it’s addressed in some of the prequel graphic novels (which I haven’t read) and maybe in some of the spin-off/tie-in books that I know of but haven’t read.
In Part 2 of this review, the title will make sense.