Maybe not the continuing ‘race’ to the Dark Tower the fans were hoping for in 1996, but WOW: great background story! We finally get to learn more about Roland and his past; puts a lot of things in perspective. I can’t wait for ‘part 2’ and finding out what happened to Cuthbert and Alain on their journey towards the Tower. Together with Sheemie; that kid is awesome!
Furthermore, who knew King would be so capable of writing a good love story?! It never went into any disgusting details yet revealed everything we needed to know about Roland and Susan’s passion for each other.
Then the location where most of the story takes place: I’m not much of a Western fan, but mix it up with magic and other worlds and I’m hooked. I loved the desolate settings/vibe in this book!
Only point of criticism I have is about the Wizard of Oz ending. It’s not as if I think it ruined the entire book like some reviews here seem to do, but I get a little bit of a ‘meh’-feeling about it. I absolutely LOVE the Wizard of Oz (from the books and movie adaptations to the latest Wicked hype) and King already put in another story/fairytale (when do you start calling a story a fairytale?) of Charlie the Choo Choo, so it isn’t entirely inappropriate. Yet: meh.
Nevertheless: great book and on to the next one in the series!