Never has a dust jacket made me feel so cool whilst reading in a public place, people were actually taking an interest in my reading material, for once, when I removed this out of the cheap plastic bag, within the better plastic bag, from out of my other bag that kept the rain off its brand new pages.
Essentially this is Dark Tower book 4.5 and any Constant Readers familiar with the series will know the style of the books and the world(s) it is set in.
For any newcomers this is a stand alone book that can apparently be read with no knowledge of the series. The introduction will give you new adventurers a few things you need to know but apart from that you seem good to go. Unless, however, you are one of those people who enjoys having any moments of suspense from the first four books negated by the fact you know which characters are in this book and therefore survive any trials and dangers set before them, it’s not wise to start your odyssey here.
So without any spoilers here is what you get, just like my wrapping techniques, you get a story within a story, within a story. The main arc of The Dark Tower scenario is used to pretty much set up the two other stories, (which come in the form of a reminiscence and a fairytale) and that’s about it.
King does fairytale well, as you would expect none of that nice Disney fare here, but proper fairy tales, with horrible and scary bits in. It’s all very European feeling in that respect. he excels at dark brooding places and the classic characters we are all familiar with from this type of story.
The reminiscence, like book four’s flashback is interesting and fleshes out the back story as well as some of the characters previously met, having said that if I read this book after Wizard and Glass I would probably find it to similar in structure to really get into. Judging it by the other books this does seem a little like filler.
It’s nice to go back to the DT universe but this is little more than an extra bonus for those of us who are hungry for a bit more, yet it doesn’t really add to the main plot but is an enjoyable if short jaunt. If you are a new reader though this isn’t an ideal starting place. You may as well start from book one The Gunslinger.