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on June 9, 2015
Was really good to visit Roland Again!
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on April 15, 2015
Last Summer I binge read the Dark Tower series and it was a great experience for me. The story was new and fresh for me and is one of the best stories I've read in a long time! Having said that I must say going back to the story almost one year later after finding out how it ended was a sort of letdown. Don't get me wrong this is still a good novel and should not be missed by Dark Tower and Stephen King fans but I couldn't work up the enthusiasm I had for the series last year. My advice to those people reading the Dark Tower novels for the first time is to read them all in sequence to get the best experience. To those like me who read everything except this novel by all means go back and read the novel. It's still a great story and you won't regret the time spent...
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on January 5, 2015
This guy is amazing! I don't know how but he manages to pick up the ends and slap them together years after finishing, in this case the story started in 1974.
Another story about and by Roland and it's right where it should be in context & content. For many years Edgar A. Poe was my favorite author,he finally gave way to Clive Barker, and Steven King took the high seat when I discovered him in the 90's. I think I'm going to go out with King sitting in the high seat to the very end.
The wind through the Keyhole is actually 2 stories, one that King wrote, and one that Roland told a young boy. Told to both pass the time and with a "moral" Roland wrapped up King and every other lover of stories I can think of. Roland told Bill, " A person's never too old for stories, man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them."
This one starts at the Dark Tower, goes to a young man who was a hero while all through is a further story of a shapeshifter out of control.
This book is a definite "READ ME". I believe that even without my obvious admiration of King, it is a must read.
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on January 12, 2015
I'll start out by stating the one and only flaw with this book. That is if you haven't read the other dark tower novels, or at least the first four, you may not fully understand this book or it's writing style so I encourage you to read the other books first before reading this.

As for this book, it starts off after the end of Wizard and glass, with Roland giving a story from his past when he was a young gunslinger in a nearby town from Gilead to deal with a "Skin-Man" creature terrorizing and slaughtering the community. But halfway into that story he begins telling another story, more of a fairy tale, about a young boy on a quest to save his mother from his abusive step father.

I don't really want to go further into it, but the gist is basically a story within a story, so it may throw some off a bit but trust me, the wind through the keyhole is very engaging, never boring, and in my opinion one of the best editions of the series. I've read the other dark tower novels and are my favorite of King's works. This was a great read and made it blast to be able to relive Roland and all the other characters in the series.

Highly recommended for Dark Tower fans and newcomers alike.
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on November 5, 2013
Welcome back to Mid-World with new story from the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Journeying on their way to the Outer Baronies, Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are waiting out a storm. As they rest, Roland tells a tale of his hunt for a "skin-man" on a quest after the death of his mother Gabrielle. As he takes the lone survivor of the skin-man's streak of terror, Roland tries to ease the young boy's mind with a story once told to him by his mother, long ago in his own childhood. Welcome to the adventure...

Oh Stephen King, what happened? You are a brilliant writer who can bring chills to my spine with your words. The Dark Tower is one of my absolute favorite series ever (Second only to the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery. Yes, I know... a strange combination - Roland Deschain and Anne Shirley) I had such high hopes for the new Dark Tower book and I was literally jumping up and down in excitement when I first heard there would be another book in Roland's story. But... I was so disappointed.

I absolutely hate to say this about any book in the Dark Tower series, but Wind Through the Keyhole just didn't satisfy me. I think maybe I'd have liked better if I read it myself, rather than listening to the audio book. It was just too hard to follow in audio with the story within a story within a story.

There was almost ZERO mention of Roland and his ka-tet, with them pretty much just book-ending the rest of the novel. This is a flash back story, where we find Roland telling his ka-tet about one of his adventures in his early days as a gunslinger. If you ask me, it would have been better suited to not be called part of the series, even though young Roland is in it a bit, as is a gunslinger that predates him.

Wind Through the Keyhole strikes me more as a combination of the Talisman books written with Peter Straub and Eye of the Dragon. As a Dark Tower book, it fails miserably. Were it NOT a Dark Tower book I think I'd have liked it a lot more. I wanted to hear more about Roland and company, especially since this book was supposed to explain what happened to the ka-tet in the time between the Wizard and the Glass and Wolves of the Calla adventures.

It pains me greatly to rate this book at only a 3, but I just can't in good conscience rate this one up there with the rest of the series. I still love your writing Stephen King, and I will never stop buying your books as long as you keep writing, but Wind Through the Keyhole just left me cold.

(c) Kelley A. Hartsell, June 2012. All rights reserved.
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on May 24, 2012
I've been a Stephen King nerd for a number of years now, and the Dark Tower 'series is easily my favorite of all his works. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear when he announced the release of this mid-series sequel. Which is also a prequel. Let me explain.

It's been unofficially dubbed The Dark Tower 4.5 '''because it falls chronologically between Wizard and Glass 'and The Wolves of the Calla 'while the ka-tet is on the road leading away from the curiously Oz-like castle and ever closer towards the Tower.

Hindered on their journey by a horrible, freezing flash-storm called a Starkblast, the team of gunslingers are forced to seek shelter in a stone ruin for several days with little else to do than wait and keep warm. It is during this three-day wait that Roland divulges a bit more of his history with a story from his past, as well as a Mid-World fairy tale of sorts from his own childhood.

The first story, regarding a younger Roland, is split in two and called The Skin-Man. 'I won't spoil what that means, but Tower readers will find the term familiar. This piece of Roland's history takes place very soon after his mission to the Barony of Mejis with Cuthbert and Alain, though those two boys don't make an appearance. Roland instead travels with Jamie DeCurry, a reserved yet talented young gunslinger.

Putting a story within a story, Roland comforts a scared young victim of the Skin-Man named Bill by telling him the story of a very brave boy, called The Wind Through the Keyhole. This is a 'fairy tale' Roland's mother often told him, though King intertwines some heavy hints and fun connections that suggest this ancient story is perhaps not all fictional.

I can't go much further without starting to give spoilers, but I must say this book was a delight. Though I love the series overall, I was initially not super thrilled that this volume was going to deal primarily with Roland's past (which I find a bit dry compared to the adventures of the weathered gunslinger on the road to the Tower). However, I ended up enjoying it very much for several reasons.

First, it was wonderful, even if brief, to hear again the voices of Eddie, Susannah, Jake, Oy and Roland come to life and enjoy their interactions. Secondly, the story of Young Roland moves quickly and is exciting and compelling. It well displays his talents, even at a young age, and has a similar sense of adventure and uncertainty as the other Tower books. Third, the fairy tale itself is very well crafted and richly full of King-Universe connections. And lastly, I feel that King has done the series justice in adding to it 5 years after he called it finished. Adding to a well-loved series after the fact is a tricky and risky move. Yet the book doesn't feel like an unnecessary addition, but rather it enriches what was already written and makes the journey as a whole that much more full and enjoyable.

King says in the introduction that you can read the book as a stand-alone, even if you've never read a single other of his books, let alone the Tower series. That's true, but it'd be silly to do so because so much of it builds upon these characters and this unique universe. For that reason, I'd only recommend this to someone familiar with the Tower books, or if you're intrigued to try them, start at the beginning and read this one in order where it falls. I wot you'll be glad you did.

Long days and pleasant nights!
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on July 4, 2014
Let's get three things out of the way right now: a) Yes, this book is an afterthought, but so was WIZARD AND GLASS. At least this one doesn't bog down the series. b) No, you do not have to read the entire Dark Tower series to enjoy a great portion of this book, but it does strengthen the experience. c) The majority of this book does not include Roland and his ka-tet, but that's fine, because unlike WIZARD AND GLASS, I LOVE the story that's told in between Roland's quest. Namely, the title story, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE.

The first part of this book tightens up the span of time between the Emerald Castle and Calla Bryn Strugis. Roland's crew gets caught in a storm, and the gunslinger decides, once again, that it's Reading Rainbow time. He starts one story about a skin-man (shapeshifter) he and his buddy Jaime DeCurry were tasked with hunting down in a town called Debardia months after Susan's death in WIZARD AND GLASS. They're called out to a farm where everybody's been slaughtered (which is some of the most gruesome description King had written in some years), aside from a boy named Billy Streeter. Here comes the fun part. Roland tells young Billy a story about another boy named Tim Stoutheart. The tale is called THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE. Yes, in this book even the flashbacks have flashbacks.

Why do I love this book so much? That's easy. I'm a storyteller, and a lover of stories, all shapes and kinds, but I especially love tales of youth and adventure. Tim's tale is once such story. We get a murder mystery, a dragon, a tyger (tiger) that might not be everything it seems at first, the dark man, and butt loads of magic. The story is simply damn good fun, and more than a little endearing. There's really no other way to put it. The book is a slice of entertainment that made me feel like a kid again. That's that magic, folks, and only a handful of authors can capture that magic this well.

In summation: I know this book gets dismissed by fans of the series, and that's a damn shame. I think it's a magical adventure in a world full of rich and intriguing lore. It does everything right that WIZARD AND GLASS did wrong. King made me care about the characters here, and he didn't weigh down the story trying to explain the POVs of a hundred different characters. Read it or don't, but I'd feel you'd be missing out if you brushed THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE off as nothing more than an afterthought.
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on July 1, 2016
When a true master storyteller embarks on a journey from his own heart, he does the reader a favor by taking them with him. This is regardless of the consequences. Stephen King has done this with The Dark Tower series, and the brilliantly crafted afterthought The Wind Through The Keyhole. While Hollywood has taken the reins of The Gunslinger, one would hope a separate movie is made of The Wind Through the Keyhole for not only is it a story within a story, it's a damn good portrait of the boundless imagination of one of our masters. Say what you will about Stephen King, and the question of form and content. Leave those arguments for James Joyce, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway (who broke a lot of rules himself). Stephen King writes for the story. He wants to reach inside your body and pull out all of the guts inside, and then watch you wither and shake on some desert plateau in New Mexico or Arizona. Much like the Skinman. Without spoiling too much here, let us remember that Stephen King bases his methodology on much of the same premises as one of his biggest influences H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft wrote about horror of the unknown, perhaps the greatest fear of the human condition. We are more afraid of what we don't know, then what we do know. Re: Dan Simmons "The Terror". Where Wind departs from the Lovecraft theme, King takes us on a totally different (but not any less interesting) of the young Tim and his journey to the guardian of the beam Maerlyn, the Wizard. Avoiding the Covenant Man, our old friend Randall Flagg, Tim becomes a hero at a very young age much like Roland in Hambry with Alain and Cuthbert. Perhaps it is the legacy of the Gunslinger to become heroes at an early age, and legends later in life.
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on May 25, 2015
This is overall an excellent book. The book is 8th in the Dark Tower series, but more appropriately can be considered book 4.5. The novel features a story, in a story, an interesting & unusual way to do a novel. The novel starts off with the band of 5 from book 4, on their trip to find the Dark Tower. A deadly storm (a "starkblast") comes up, and they are trapped in a shelter for 3 days. During this time, Roland tells them a story from his youth, to entertain them. The story concerns one of his first assignments as a gunslinger, sent by train to a distant land to find the source of reports of a murderous shapeshifter (reports which his father doesn't believe are true.) The reports are true, and his first night there, another multiple homicide occurs. A young boy is the only surviving witness, but even through Roland's hypnotism, he recalls little. Roland locks the boy and himself in the town jail as protection, fearing that the shapeshifter may target the boy, since he's a witness. To entertain and comfort the boy, Roland tells him a story that his mother often told him, about a brave boy who survives a "starkblast". So the first 3rd of the book concerns Roland's history, the second 3rd, the story he tells the boy, then the third 3rd, wraps up the story from history. Both stories are very well-written and entertaining. The story is suspenseful, but perhaps not quite as suspenseful as some of King's others stories (after all, we all know that Roland will survive the shapeshifter.) As a bonus, we learn a bit more about Roland's mother, and a last letter she wrote to Roland. The story Roland tells the boy involves a character who is an evil tax-collector from the land of Gilead, I highly doubt that Roland's mother, raising Roland in Gilead the supposed bastion of good on the earth, would have ever told a tale featuring such a character. That was the one part that seemed out of place in the novel, since the story could have been told without reference to an evil representative from Gilead. The rest of the story Roland the boy told was quite developed, especially in its discussion of marvels from the "old people." Concerning Roland's story of his youth, I have a feeling that its not quite 100% consistent with the rest of the books (like the Manni people in book 5, weren't they new to Susannah/Jake/Eddie, yet they should have known them from this story. Still, any inconsistencies are small, and quite forgivable considering this excellent novel.
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on February 25, 2015
This lovely tale concludes my second journey with Roland of Gilead and his ka-tet. I would really like to petition the author to either re-number the entire series and make this book V, or in the alternative, clearly mark this book as 4.5. With great sadness I say, and feel, that it's misplacement detracts from the power of the conclusion of The Dark Tower series. This is not an arc, it is a strong thread leading a Constant Reader directly along the Path of the Beam. This tale within a tale is so moving that it haunted me as I progressed from I-VII, almost to the point of distraction. Knowing this book, having read it before, I felt its absence keenly. Not very trig on my part but (sorry Amazon), it was hard enough making sure I was getting Kindle novels and not graphic novels (my hard copies are safely tucked away for future generations). If ka wills it and I am alive in 10 years, I will take the journey again but will not read this last. It will be read where it belongs, say thankya...
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