The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower is the culmination of a multi-decade 8,500-page adventure that draws out the best and worst aspects of fantasy. Is the book good or bad? The answer will almost solely depend on one’s personal expectations and how dedicated they have been to the previous seven volumes.
Some characters get side-shafted. others are inexplicably introduced as major players (yes, even if you have read all the connected universe stories, I don’t care).
The Dark Tower VII is as satisfying as you want it to be, which means it manages to take a few steps forward every time it takes a few steps back. You get the feeling that King sold a part of his soul to finish this thing, and the results speak to an arduous and exhausting creative process he had to remove himself from, almost literally. Does every character get closure? Sure, but it may come at some cost.
So, let’s jump into the ending, which is a big ol’ spoiler block at this point. This is for readers who have finished the series and are looking for some insight into what the hell happened.
The ending had both a sensible amount of narrative closure (by rewriting what closure means) and yet remained utterly infuriating. I found King’s “warning” and “in-book prodding” as almost insulting. He essentially stated that it is not about the ending and people who go through with the ending in mind are misguided. Readers may recall King’s own placement as a character in the text, essentially writing himself writing in the book as the writer. Sigh. Now, who is to presume that someone who has been so intrigued by this world is dense enough to think it is not about the destination. Everyone understands that. So for the author to pause and remind me of this is offensive. His ending was partly beautiful, and I really
Now, who is to presume that someone who has been so intrigued by this world is dense enough to think it is not about the destination? Everyone understands that. So for the author to pause and remind me of this is offensive. His ending was partly beautiful, and there is hardly an issue with the cyclical nature of the story. I think it touched splendidly on the recurring theme of good vs. evil and the eternity of this essential never-ending tumultuous back-and-forth.
The story made light of this never-ending conflict by pushing its main nemesis, Flagg, to the side due to a new evil. The encounter and displacement of Flagg as a villain was meant to build Mordred up as a serious menace. The unfortunate counter to that is that Mordred was under-utilized, essentially spinning his wheels in self-depreciation until he is offed by a gun. Yipee.
My problem with the final novel was that it felt segregated into many smaller stories. The stakes just raised with tremendously with few characters dying through the series, and then the final volume kills off essentially the entire cast. There was no transition into this type of onslaught.
The Dark Tower series remains haunted by its own ups and downs. It is likely to be a test of patience and an example of fantasy chaos for any reader who decides to venture down this particular rabbit hole. every book has its place, resulting in an adventure that has certain pieces no previous adventure, and no future adventure is bound to have. Whether that is all good or bad is as ambiguous as the story itself.