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Friday, 18 May 2012

Song of Susannah

This is the penultimate part of my read-through of 'The Dark Tower'.  Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, Part 6 is here and Part 8 is here. . Once again, here be spoilers.  

I remember Song of Susannah as being one of the weaker books in this series, and that certainly seems to be the consensus among other Dark Tower fans who I've spoken to. I think I've revised my opinion, though.

I absolutely flew through this book, and that's due in no small part to the fact that once the action gets going it doesn't let up at all. The earlier books are punctuated with lulls in the action, calm moments before the storm, or they build inevitably (as with Wolves) towards a massive conflict at the end.

That isn't the case with Susannah. From the moment that Jake forces the door in Doorway Cave open to the point where Mia's chap is finally born it's non-stop. And even in and amongst the constant conflict, we're still building towards one final showdown at the Dixie Pig - a showdown that King, the bastard, leaves until the final book. I'd say that this is a cliffhanger on a par with that at the end of The Waste Lands - Blaine the mono rocketing the ka-tet across Mid-World, and the riddle competition beginning.

Susannah's Dogan did turn out to be important, but I still have memories of it playing a larger role in the books. Maybe that's just me remembering wrong, or maybe it's still to come in The Dark Tower. I also wasn't annoyed by King's appearance in the book - he's only in it for a few pages, and he serves a purpose. I can't remember if he's in the final book or not - I'm going to venture a guess that he is. We'll see how I feel about that when I get to it. It would have been easy for King to paint himself in a good light, though, and I'm glad to see that he didn't - he comes across as just as much of an addict as... well, most of the other characters, in one way or another. I wonder how many drafts King went through to get that right?

I would also love to know whether the excerpts from King's diary at the end of the book are taken from his real journals or not. I'm going to venture a guess and say that they aren't, but I'd love to be enlightened on that.

Only one book left now, and that ending...

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