Believe it or not, there was a time when I hadn't read the Dark Tower series... but we don't talk about that. It's a painful time in my history, and polite company lets me keep my shame to myself. But I mention it because since stepping foot into the Tower multiverse, everything changed. I thought I was a Stephen King fan until I read the Dark Tower series, but I had no idea how much I could love King and his books. I adore this series. No other series or book can claim a higher spot in my heart (not even Harry Potter, though that's a very close second), so when I learned that there would be a new book in the series, I SQUEE'd all over the damn place. Messy clean-up, but so worth it.
Dark Tower is bittersweet. It is. But that's one of my favorite things about King; he makes it real. So I couldn't wait, nay... COULD. NOT. WAIT. to read the shit out of this book and finally see the ka-tet again. To go on another adventure with them, to see what this new interlude holds... despite knowing ka-shume is coming down the path of the beam for them. But then... I admit to feeling a bit cheated after I started. Maybe that's not fair, probably not, because had I read the book description, I'd have known that likely wasn't going to be what I'd get... But those of you who know me well, those who share my khef, do it please ya, will know that I wouldn't want to know, that I'd want to just go where Ka's wind blows. And so I did... but I can't help wanting more of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy.
As a ka-tet book, low marks for this one because there's just so little of them here... but as a Mid-World/multiverse book, high marks, because there's a lot here in that regard, and it's quite interesting to piece together.
What we have here is a story within a story within a story. Not my favorite thing. I love Wizard and Glass, but the Mejis flashback storyline is long. W&G is my least favorite of the series for this reason, and I always get to a point where I'm ready for the Young Roland story to be done so I can get back to Present Roland. But saying it's my least favorite is not saying much, because every book in the series is fantastic in its own way.
So coming on the heels of Wizard and Glass, in internal story setting order, is The Wind Through the Keyhole, where our ka-tet takes shelter from a starkblast and has another episode from Roland's seemingly endless cache of Adventure Stories From My Youth and Other Relevant Tales from Before The World Moved On.
The first story Roland tells is of being sent on another mission by his father to take care of what's rumored to be a Skin-Man (a shapeshifter) terrorizing one of the baronies. Within this story is the story from which this book takes its title, which is the story of Tim Ross and his encounter with the Covenant Man, whose horse is called Blackie. Just sayin'. This story ties into both the Young Roland story, and the Present Roland story... in different ways, which was interesting.
These two stories make up the bulk of the book, which is short (for King) to begin with. But these are interesting, particularly Tim's The Wind Through The Keyhole, because of how other multiverse books might, and probably do, connect with it. I counted quite a few references to other books in the three stories, including Eyes of the Dragon, The Talisman, and Desperation, just to name a few.
I won't go into much more detail, since everyone should read it for themselves. Overall for me, this was worth the read, although my heart still wanted more of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy. Maybe... Maybe Gan will bless King with another Dark Tower book?
A girl can dream...