The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah is undoubtedly the black sheep of the fantasy series. Having exhausted many plot threads in previous volumes, King has stuck readers with one less popular character in their most unappealing form. Susannah is trapped (kind of? maybe?) in the spirit of Mia, and spends the large portion of the novel concocting a plan to get out (and maybe or maybe not give birth to a demon baby. I should have mentioned that earlier).

My biggest gripe in this volume is that I really didn’t understand what was going on- quite literally. As stated, a large portion was dedicated to Susannah. Aside from being probably the least compelling of the major four in the cast, she repeated the same concerns over and over again. Even worse, I failed to understand where and what she was. Was she stuck in a dream world? Was she trapped in an alternative version of herself? I don’t get it and the fact that this aspect took up half the book made the thing a dreadful read. I also found the main narrative with the other characters to be miserably dull. It was also displayed towards the end the whereabouts of Jake and Callahan, and I had to pause and backtrack, thinking, “wait? Where have they been? Is this the first time I am hearing of their story in book 6?”

But, there is an aspect in Song of Susannah that may be the most egregious of all. The book hits the fallacy of failing to resolve basically any of its smaller threads until the next volume. In some cases, the next 20 pages of the next volume. This separation is less “cliffhangerey” and more dragging out needless pieces into the next book.

Song of Susannah is also notorious for its introduction of Stephen King as a character in the novel. It’s not the first time I have seen this concept, and it may not even be the worst. But, I will unequivocally say it has never worked and it doesn’t work here. The ramifications of King being in his own book as himself or a version thereof, opens up a door that can’t be closed. It also closes a messy and slow volume leading right into the grand finale, firm segues be damned.