Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole - Review

Title: The Wind Through the Keyhole
Author: Stephen King
Source: my brother

Goodreads Summary:

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.

King began the Dark Tower series in 1974; it gained momentum in the 1980s; and he brought it to a thrilling conclusion when the last three novels were published in 2003 and 2004. The Wind Through the Keyhole is sure to fascinate avid fans of the Dark Tower epic. But this novel also stands on its own for all readers, an enchanting and haunting journey to Roland’s world and testimony to the power of Stephen King’s storytelling magic.

My thoughts:

I love the Gunslinger series, although I am a few books behind.  The Wind Through the Keyhole is number 4.5 in the series, according to King.  Which is precisely where I left off, on number 4.  

I loved this book.  It begins with Roland and his gang making their way along the beam, following Oy, and then they all have to take cover - the Starkblast was coming.  Oy, a billy-bumbler, has the ability to detect starkblasts, which are huge blizzard storms, where the wind blows so hard and so cold that anything living outside would die.  Roland and the others gather 'round the fire they have built inside an abandoned hotel, and Roland tells them a story, about one of his adventures when he was young.  

The cool part is that while Roland is telling the story to Jake, Susannah, and Eddie, the younger version of himself in his story, is telling another story, to another child.  A story within a story within a story, the Droste Effect, but with words.  I enjoyed both of the stories, but the story that the book gets its title from was the best.  A starkblast also happens in all three stories.  

King says in his prologue that even if you haven't read the series, you can read this book.   I can see why he says that, since there is not much actual advancement in the series, just Roland telling tales. King writes in his introduction as well the things he feels a reader should know before reading the book.  I have read books in the series, so I didn't have any problems with this one.  I would be curious to know what people think of the book if this is the only one they have read though. 

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