How I rank this book among the others? DT 7, DT5, DT4, DT2, DT6, DT3, DT 4.5, DT1 (This isn't to say any of these books are at all bad. If my house was on fire, it's just that this is the order I'd save the books.)
Stephen King glimpsed through Gan's navel once again and brought back this tale of Roland and his ka-tet weathering a fiercesome storm (called a Starkblast) in an abandonned town hall. While waiting out the Starkblast, Roland tells his ka-tet two stories which wrap around one another. The first tale speaks of his time hunting a "Skin-Man" in the distant coal-mining town of Debaria with his boyhood friend, Jamie Decurry. The second story was of brave Tim Ross who ventures into the Ironwood forest and the swamps beyond after his father is allegedly killed by a dragon.
This novel was officially released April 24, 2012, so I'm going to refrain from too many spoilers in this review.
At 322 pages, "The Wind Through The Keyhole" is the second shortest novel in The Dark Tower series. It's that fact (along with the fact that there's a whole lot in this book) that makes me think this would be perfect for a newcomer to the series. Eddie, Sussannah, Jake and Oy are all present, but none of their fates are exposed for someone hungry for more Dark Tower goodness. For a constant reader, however, you're reminded of the bigger adventures that you've already seen. This novel has the smallest in the series, regarding scope. Roland travels to Debaria with quiet, some would say uninteresting Jamie Decurry on a mission from Roland's father. Roand and Jamie carry out the mission with hardly any snags and then they go home. The reason why the story isn't called "The Skin-Man of Debaria" is because that plotline is the weaker of the two. Buried in the middle, like a chocolate center is "The Wind Through The Keyhole." Here, we have major loss, conflict, sorrow, magic, dragons, friendship, loyal, bravery and glimpses of both Merlin and the sinister, long-lived Man in Black.
"The Wind Through the Keyhole" is closer to "The Eyes of The Dragon" and "Insomnia" in my opinion. By that, I mean that it's a world hovering close to The Dark Tower rather than a full extension of the story. That isn't a bad thing, just like this isn't a bad book. I'm not sure how he could have done it, (most likely, he would have had to just make the two stories into a novellas in an anthology) but I kind of wished that Stephen King had distanced this from the rest of the series. I'm sure that hardcore Dark Tower fans would have loved these two tales much more if they'd been released like "The Eyes Of the Dragon", "Insomnia" or "The Little Sisters of Eluria."
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