Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King (Review)

Genre:Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Western
Publication.Date  April 24th 2012
Published By:  Hodder & Stoughton (UK) | 
WebsiteStephen King 

The Wind Through The Keyhole - Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

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.

“A person’s never too old for stories. Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.”
“It was not fair, it was not fair, it was not fair. So cried his child's heart, and then his child's heart died a little. For that is also the way of the world.”
“In the end, the wind takes everything, doesn't it? And why not? Why other? If the sweetness of our lives did not depart, there would be no sweetness at all.” 
“Time is a keyhole, he thought as he looked up at the stars. Yes, I think so. We sometimes bend and peer through it. And the wind we feel on our cheeks when we do - the wind that blows through the keyhole- is the breath of all the living universe.” 

     While officially it's considered to be the eighth book in Dark Tower series, in his foreword Stephen King calls The Wind Through The Keyhole book 4.5, and advices his long-time readers to shelve it between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of Calla. And indeed, the events described in this book take place shortly after our tet leaves the Emerald City at the end of volume four of Dark Tower, and before they reach Calla Bryn Sturgis, where the story of Rolland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy continues. But, although this book is clearly a fantastic new addition to the well-known and well-loved epic fantasy masterpiece, it's also a story that is perfectly capable of standing on its own. So if you're wondering if you could pick it up and enjoy it without having to read the other books in Dark Tower series, I'd say: Yes, you can, but just because you can, doesn't mean you should. See, Dark Tower series is in my opinion one of the best and most unique (not to mention totally bad-ass) series out there, and one that absolutely should not be missed, regardless if you're a fan of epic fantasy, science fantasy, horror or western. If you appreciate stories that take your breath away and leave you shattered to pieces, stories that both scare the living soul out of you and inspire you, amaze you, consume you, and become your whole world (even if just for a little while) - this series is a must-read for you. 

     But! We're here today to take a closer look at The Wind Through The Keyhole, so let us focus on that first. 

     Roland and his ka-tet are on their way to Calla Bryn Sturgis when they're caught in the middle of a ferocious ice storm, called Starkblast. They're forced to find a place where they can safely wait it out. As they shelter inside a meeting hall in a deserted village, with the Starkblast wreaking havoc outside, Jake asks Roland to tell a story about the old days, and Roland agrees. He starts by telling them about one of his adventures in his younger days, when he and his tet-mate Jamie were sent to Debaria to capture a shape-changer who was killing people. While the two young gunslingers are investigating the case, another attack occurs, only this time there is one survivor - a young boy named Bill. Bill is also the only person who saw the skin-man in his human form, and to protect him Roland keeps the boy locked up in a jail cell. The young boy lost his father in the attack, he's devastated, lonely and terrified. To keep his mind of the horrific events he witnessed, young Roland tells yet another story. A story within the story, called A Wind Through The Keyhole; a magical and sinister fairytale his mother used to tell him when he was a boy. Woven together in the utmost skilful way, the three stories create one phenomenal and incredibly absorbing tale of remarkable bravery, destiny, and sacrifice. 

     This gorgeous new addition to Dark Tower series is yet another testament to Stephen King's skill as a master of the written word. Every passage of it pulls you deeper into the magnificently imagined post-apocalyptic Mid-World. Its addictive, crisp and humane prose and totally absorbing, complex plot line guarantee a one-of-a-kind reading experience. It's a special treat for all fans of Roland and his awesome tet, but also just a really great book that can be read outside of the series and enjoyed by just about anyone who appreciates a good read. It's a fairly quick, but certainly very memorable read, with characters that you won't be able to forget, as they really grow on you and quickly become your friends. The plot itself is fascinating enough, but combined with King's unique writing style and unforgettable, haunting narrative voice, it creates a monumental tour-de-force that stays with you long after you turn the last page. 

     Now, I'm a huge Stephen King fan, I grew up reading his books, and his Dark Tower series is a work of fiction that made a huge impression on me and influenced me in many ways. I guess you could say that my judgement might be a tiny bit biased here, but I honestly couldn't have loved The Wind Through The Keyhole more. I devoured it in just one afternoon, and was absolutely heartbroken when the story came to an end. Unlike King and many of his fans, I did not think that there was a big gap between book four and five in the series, though I must say I'm thrilled to be able to read more about the events between these two volumes. It's a true gift, as I never thought I'd be able to meet Roland and his friends again, and learn more about them and their adventures. I am very grateful for this short but greatly appreciated glimpse at Mid-World and Roland's teenage years - it was priceless, enriching and mesmerizing. And I'm so happy I could meet my beloved characters again, even if only briefly. This meeting reminded me how much I love Dark Tower cycle, how much I missed hanging out in the Mid-World and following all the heart-stopping adventures of the last living gunslinger of the line of "Arthur Eld". I will definitely be taking the time to re-read the whole series before the highly-anticipated movie and TV-series adaptations come out. 

     I can't recommend this series, and this particular book, enough. If you haven't read it yet, please do so. You won't regret. It's not your typical creepy Stephen King telling stories about monsters hiding in your closet or under your bed, it's a more graceful, sinister, magical Stephen King, and one that everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - should get acquainted with. This Stephen King will take you on a quest of epic proportions, filled with cataclysmic events, philosophical questions, existentialism, moments of absolute heartbreak and uplifting victories. He will introduce you to one of the most gorgeously rendered worlds you could ever imagine, and trust me, once you take a look around and meet all the great characters, you will not want to leave.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I absolutely love this series as well. It is so amazing, I can't wait to read this new addition (I was so sad when the series ended, though it did end perfectly). I really want to re-read the series though before going into this book (or at least the first four books. Beautiful review hun!!

Cayce said...

I'm a Stephen King and Dark Towers fan too. :) I didn't like how the series ended, but I'll definitely read The Wind Through The Keyhole. I need more of Roland and the ka-tet.
Fabulous review!

The Hipster Owl's Bookshelf said...

Would you believe I've never actually read any of King's novels? I've flipped through, skimmed, or browsed, but never actually read any of them.

I keep thinking I need to force myself to sit down and read one, if only for intellectual pursuit! ;)

p.s. Thanks for the great review!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

So, I almost cried reading your review, Evie. I just...THE EMOTIONS this series makes me feel. It's almost overwhelming, is what it is. I've been waiting for your review, and now I know - as if I REALLY had another choice? - that I NEED to own this book. I may wait to buy it in paperback since that's what I own the rest of the DT series in, but oh man, you DEFINITELY convinced me.

I want to reread the series so bad, but I'm so afraid to. I don't know if my heart can take it again. I mean...Eddie? Jake? Oh wow. Maybe I'll be brave enough soon!

Tiffany Holme said...

I am sorry to admit that I haven't read the Dark Tower series :( I do have a girlfriend that LOVES it!! After reading this review Evie I feel like I am missing out by not having read it!! Going to have to add it to my wish list :)

dfvsdvsd said...

What a great review. I gave up on the series when I hit the Wolves of Calla (sp?). It was just too... I don't know how to put it. Self aware? Cutesy? Something about his tone, his language, that just turned me off. But this review has changed my mind - back to the world of Roland I go :)

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