Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #123: The Dark Tower, Vol. 2: The Long Road Home by Stephen King

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I haven’t revisited the novels quite yet, but The Long Road Home makes one thing clear: regardless, The Dark Tower is a series that’s best left entirely to Stephen King himself. The Gunslinger Born had some wonky lines as a result of its “adaptors” trying, and failing, to mimic King’s High Speech and narrative style, yet it sounded close enough that I applauded them for the effort.

With The Long Road Home, however, any resemblance the graphic novels once bore to King’s novels has been wiped out. No lines stuck out as particularly bad, like with the first volume, except that’s only because it was more uniform in its failure to replicate King himself. I’m embarrassed for Robin Furth and Peter David, to be honest.

The only one pulling his weight is Jae Lee, the illustrator. His illustrations start to run together some, the further in you get, but at least they look professional, which is more than I can say about the weak excuses for dialogue in particular in this volume. I don’t know who’s meant to be talking; whoever it is, they sure don’t sound like Roland and his fellow gunslingers.

Still, I’ll continue on to the next volume, though with immense trepidation. And I probably won’t stop until I’m done with them all, since I’m too much of a completionist to do otherwise. For my sake, I hope the other volumes are more like volume one, which was at least passable, and less like volume two.

 

Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.

Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #50: The Dark Tower, Volume 1: The Gunslinger Born by Stephen King

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The Gunslinger Born acted as a call to action, of sorts, for me. With The Wind Through the Keyhole, King’s quasi-sequel to The Wizard and the Glass, I took my relative disappointment as a sign not that I had changed as a reader, but that King had changed as a writer. Now, I’m not so sure it’s not, in actuality, the former, and only by re-reading the series can I say for sure.

Albeit a marginal improvement over The Wind Through the KeyholeThe Gunslinger Born fails to fully shed its drawbacks. Mainly, the manner of speech rang, to me, as artificial once again. Not throughout, mind you, but often enough that I began to wonder whether or not it was to do with the execution or the style itself.

Could it be that there was always that awkwardness to the way it was written and I’m just now noticing? Perhaps I’d grown accustomed to it as I read through each book of the series in quick succession, helped along by Frank Muller bringing the words to life in a staggeringly real fashion with his audiobook forThe Drawing of the Three, the entry that kick-started my love for the series and sent me headlong through all the others.

Or does it have, merely, to do with the two books in question, one written almost as an afterthought eight years from the book that, for a while, marked the end of the series and the other as more of a collaborative and supplemental release? For answers, I only have the the original seven books to turn to.

Upon re-reading them, I’ll either come to think of them much the same way as the two aforementioned, which is to say a hodgepodge of new and old, fantasy and reality that works only intermittently, or see them as well-deserving of being named my second favorite series, behind only The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

When they’ll get put to the ultimate test, I can’t say, since I currently have, among others, the 1000+ page long Infinite Jest starting at me from my bookshelf, and am not generally the type to re-read, due to having so much else left out there to read first. That and I’d also like to continue through the graphic novels a little while longer.

Though I might have to drop the “little” from that sentence on account of this being the only one my local library has available. For better or worse, coincidences like that seem to follow the series as a whole. First I had to resort to the Frank Muller read audiobook of The Drawing of the Three, as the Pitt Book Center carried books one and three through seven, yet not it, and then I find not a single copy of The Gunslinger Born in the Carnegie library system, yet the same library which lacks copies of Fight Club and The Stand, among others, has it available.

Whichever way I proceed, and however long it takes, I hope it results in “long days and pleasant nights,” as opposed to even more disappointment.

 

Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.