All right. I've had a few glasses of wine, and I finally feel ready to talk about why I so very much HATE THIS FUCKING BOOK.
Please, don't get me wrong. I'm a HUGE Tower Junkie.
By the time I got this book, I'd already read and re-read the first three more times than I could count, and even though it was only 6 years after TWL, I'd really been waiting 9 years total.15 years after this book came out (and I've probably read the whole thing 5 or 6 times, and skimmed it many more than that) I am still just as pissed as I was that November day in 1997 when I closed the cover at the end for the first time.
My reaction is the same today as it was then. "What the actual fuck, Unky Steve?"
The first 100 pages? BRILLIANT! This is why you see TWO stars instead of just one.
That was an excellent payoff after the cliffhanger we'd been left with (again, FOR SIX YEARS) and I remember poor 18 year old sj thinking "Oh, shit, is this going to be BETTER than The Waste Lands?!"
Sadly, 18 year old sj and every other sj that has thought "Hey, maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought? Everyone else seems to love it! Let's try that again!" has been sorely disappointed.
Actually, everything is pretty okay up until Roland starts talking about his past over the gunslinger burritos.
Here's the primary reason I HATE THIS BOOK SO MUCH:
Susan. Fucking. Delgado.
I hated her the moment she stepped on the page, singing at the moon on her way to the house of Rhea of the Cöos. Singing Careless Love, come the fuck on, already I can't stand her. Seriously.
Also, since Roland was telling the story from her point of view, I knew she was going to play a major role and therefore would be EVEN WORSE because I HATE ROMANCE IN MY QUESTS!
(In the spirit of all honesty, I think my vitriol is a little stronger in recent years, because I knew a girl that TOTALLY IDENTIFIED with Susan Delgado [spoiler, I hated her!] and now even though I hated it before, I HATE IT EVEN MORE NOW because I could not STAND that girl.)
"Oh, but sj! Surely, you can't JUST hate the one character! What about the Mejisian Standoff? WHAT ABOUT CUTHBERT AND ALAIN? WHAT OF THEM, I BEG OF YOU?"(heh, I totally love how adamant my non-existent audience is in my head)
Yes, all right? I LOVE Key-youth-bert and Alain.*
I think Sheemie is awesome (especially being a grown-ass adult that has ALL OF THE BOOKS at her fingertips).
I thought Rhea was a pretty damned great villain and I LOVED Jonas.**
They weren't enough to save the book for me though.Because I just couldn't bring myself to care.
What do I care about some shitty coastal town on the Mid-World Mexico/Texas border? No, seriously. Why am I supposed to care about some stupid town where the diction is terrible and the people can't even put together a good plot?***
UGH.I am tearing my hair out just THINKING about it.NOT TO MENTION, we make ZERO PROGRESS towards the Tower.
THE WHOLE REASON I'M READING THE DAMN BOOKS IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Nononononono.No thank you. I will just continue to skim this one (after the awesome Blaine stuff, natch) from now til the end of time, and just concentrate on reading the books in the series that I actually LIKE.
It blows my mind that this is the highest rated book of the whole series. Completely.
*I totally had conflicting early versions of his name, btw. I'm pretty sure he went from Allen to Alan to Alain, which was what Sai King finally settled on. Please tell me someone else remembers this?
**I still think he should be played by Lance Henriksen in the doomed but inevitable film adaptation.
***As in caper, not the overall plot.
[eta] 22/2/13 As I re-read The Stand, I find myself even MORE aggravated with this book because of the way Flagg is portrayed (and even more so in the later DT books). I think the people who haven't read all of SK's work other than DT probably have a different Flagg in mind than I do. I had a discussion with a friend of mine (the same friend that comforted me when I was reading the final book of the series on my break at work) about how disappointed we were with how the ultimate bad guy kind of went out like a little bitch at the end, but then we wondered if it was maybe because Flagg was never the central baddie of the Dark Tower series, afterall? Like, yes - he was always there, but if you weren't familiar with all the other iterations of RF, but only what you read in THIS SERIES, then maybe it wouldn't be so bothersome. I don't know, I'm kind of half drunk and rambling right now.I still hate this stupid book. HAAAAAAAAAAATE.