Well, before splitting for a 1 month Venezuela trip, I randomly picked up book #2 of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. I've read Dead Zone and maybe another King book over the years (but can't recall any titles), but this one looked big and daunting and somehow ... good. Plus there's the classic Dark Tower board game.
So I read it, and 700+ pages later I thought, well, this was ... average. Not much in there, but it was sure stretched out far. I also felt like Detta Walker's brogue monologues were questionable or unnecessary. But I guess what bugged me most was that King said (in the preface) that he'd written these books to be his version of the Tolkien-esque epic. Basically, I was disturbed by some of the sexism and racism of the book, so perhaps that's the similarity? I did like the concept of a gunslinger travelling from other worlds, even if it lacks much common sense.
So on to Dark Tower #7. I ONLY read #2 and #7 (total ~ 1500 pages), so I guess I'm not 'hardcore' there? HA HA I think it's hilarious to say I read the equivalent of 5+ novels and not be hardcore.
I enjoyed the books, but when I look back at other long series/epics that I've read (all those Tolkien books, DragonRiders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, the Taran Wanderer books by Lloyd Alexander, the Amber books by Zelazney, Aasimov and Pratchett and Piers Anthony and even the cheesy endless series of Star Wars & ShadowRun books, and the latest John Zakour cyberdetective books, I feel a distinct difference ... the plot factor.
In some ways, this series reminds me a lot of Tarantino's Kill Bill, a pair of movies which I didn't like at all b/c it gave the plot in the first 5 minutes and the rest of the book was an awkward stumble to get to the end (or was it an endless kung fu battle with too many 'cut-on-action' shots). I don't recall any major twists in Kill Bill, but Dark Tower definitely has more than it's share of twists.
But does anyone REALLY wonder if Roland will make it to the Dark Tower? My main issue is that there is very little tension in these books, for me. When I read Tolkien and watched the Hobbits stand up against all kinds of odds, there is always some tension. In this book, I felt like everyone's death was written a few pages (chapters?) before and when it finally came I was happy that we could move on to the next thing. And that includes the 'bad guys', the enemies. All that buildup of Mordred, and then he's really nothing at all to the story...
I quite like the Doors, the Dark Tower, Detta & Susannah, Orizas, Bumblers, the crab creatures, the Robots, and a bit of the 'Ka' language ... but overall I felt the books lacked something very important.
I guess I'll have to ponder what that was and then re-post when I figure it out.