Sunday 24 February 2019

Review of The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King

The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5)The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I began this book thinking I hadn't read it yet. In fact I started an entire re-read of the Dark Tower series to encompass it, only to find that I HAVE read it. I kept thinking things were familiar, and then by the middle of the book began to remember what was coming - but not the end, so I kept going. Funny how the mind does that - forgets what you have read. I put it down to age as well as not spending enough time afterwards thinking about what I have read. I still loved it - and I am still going to continue the re-read of the series, just three more to go.

This is very much a story, within a story, within a story, and that is what makes it so intriguing. Roland is telling the ka-tet a story from his youth, and within that story he is telling a young boy a story his mother told him. All of it feels natural and links in, but coming out of it, I felt a bit like the character's in the film Inception when they came out of each level of a dream, you have to readjust and remember where you are, like you are waking up.

Roland's story to the Ka-tet covers his time as a new gunslinger, when he and one of his companions were sent to a place called Debaria to help a sheriff with a 'skin-man', or shape-changer, who is murdering dozens of people. We discover more about Roland and the story behind his mother's death, and see a more emotional side of him, explaining what drove him to become the hard-faced, emotionally cold gunslinger we (the constant reader) know and love.

The story he tells to the young boy in Debaria, the tale of The Wind Through the Keyhole, enables us to yet again catch a glimpse of the larger Dark Tower story, and the man in black - both Marten Broadcloak and Randall Flagg (who as we know are actually one and the same). In this tale we hear about a boy called Tim Ross, who is sent on a journey by a man called The Covenant Man after a promise that doing so would result in a potion to heal his mother's new blindness.

The thread that is used to draw us in, is also the thread that draws us through both stories - the Starkblast and how billy bumbler's foretell it's arrival.

As with many of Stephen King's stories it is full of magic and fantasy, and character's like Maerlyn the wizard, as well as dark moments of horror and hardship. I found this to be another totally immersive book, the characters and story drawing me in. I could hear Roland's voice the entire way through, as SK uses his dialect in the telling. And no matter how outlandish the story becomes - especially when Tim meets the Tyger - it all seems real in the world he creates.

I love all the Dark Tower books and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys a immersive fantasy. And this particular book can be read as a standalone.

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