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The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel (Dark Tower Novels)

The Wind Through the Keyhole - Stephen King I have read a few negative reviews of this book that make excellent points about why this is a disappointing addition to the Dark Tower canon. I can't really disagree with them. And yet I enjoyed this story. The difference, I think, lies more with my expectations than the execution.My favorite part of the Dark Tower is the world King slowly assembled over the course of the series, and the way he eventually tied it in to a dozen or so of his other novels, creating a vast meta-fictional landscape. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I care more about the world than the characters -- I care about the characters quite a lot. But the parts I really like reading are the weird little details of this world that has moved on: rusting heaps of leftover technology, unfamiliar brands of soda, giant bear robots, insane sentient trains. That stuff.I went into The Wind Through the Keyhole knowing it was going to be a filler novel. I read that King believed it could stand alone, so I was pretty sure it wasn't going to offer up much detail on the ka-tet's between-book adventures. And in fact, I read the main series so long ago I... kind of forgot there was any discontinuity there (me and Stephen King both, I guess).So my wishlist for this book included one item, which was any Dark Tower lore, but I wasn't expecting it, because I knew it was some kind of story-within-a-story fairytale thing. And then, I got some! Because within these nested tales are more details on the Guardians of the Beam and North Central Positronics, and there's even one of those sympathetic artificial intelligences that I find so endearing (even when they are crazy and murderous -- PATRICIA + BLAINE 4-EVER!). This time, I'm feeling pathos for an ancient GPS*.* Never mind that it doesn't make much sense that this fairytale, ostensibly from an old book that Roland's mother used to read to him, would include incredibly specific details about the Crimson King-esque shenanigans going on throughout the series. More oblique Charlie the Choo-Choo-style nods would present the information in a far more internally consistent manner. But then again, we wouldn't have any scenes with your friendly neighborhood sentient GPS, so...Yeah, ok, so the rest of the book isn't the best. The framing sections with Roland, Eddie, Jake, et al. are cursory at best, and almost feel like fan-fiction (though to be totally honest, I kind of feel that way about everything in the series after the knock on the gates of Oz, especially the parts of book 5 with the Harry Potter exploding snitches and the Doctors Doom with lightsabers), but it's still fun to peek in on those characters again while they are all still, you know, alive. The second-level framing device (stick with me), featuring Young Roland, pleased me more than I expected, considering I kind of hated the flashback-heavy fourth book in the series. It helped that it was short, action-packed, and not a story of angsty teen love. I still have no idea what is up with the fall of Gilead and the Battle of Jericho Hill and all that jazz though. I guess I have to read the comics for that.So, yeah. Context. If you go into this one expecting an honest-to-Gan Dark Tower novel, you'll be bummed, because it really isn't one. It kind of seems like it took King about a week to write, and he just had fun messing around with it (which doesn't bode well for his sequel to The Shining). If you are a reader who has spent $25 on the hardcover and invested a chunk of time reading it, that may not be enough for you. If you are me, and borrowed your brother's audiobook copy and listened to it at 3x speed on your phone, maybe it will be.