Thank you for the kind words. That was my first attempt at a post.
If I had to list the books in the order I enjoyed them (and I have to take my own age in at the time of their reading: 16 for Gunslinger, 18 for Drawing of Three, 20 for The Wastelands, 25 for Wizard and Glass, and 32-33 for Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susanah, and The Dark Tower) it would go like this.
1. Wizard and Glass -- tragic love story, great heros and villians (Roland is a haunted man...til the end). Western motiff on the shore is emblazoned in my head. I could smell the hay and manure and dust. I could hear the music and feel the nip of cold in the air.
Rhea was a great villian, subtle in the fact she is not the main villian. She tasted of molded bread and sour milk, she smelled like garbage that should have been taken out a day ago, her looks makes you want to look away and shiver. Yet, we never see her as the biggest threat. Great writing by King.
Cuthbert and the scout are great foils to Roland. Cuthbert's humor is great and dangerous at the same time. Cuthbert is the reason I started liking Eddie. You know the scout was going to betray them, you just didn't know when. His jealousy at Susan was classic. He saw what Roland was becoming, forgetting the mission, and it was because of her. The confrontation between Roland and Cuthbert was a highlight of the book. Doesn't it seem that our best friends always see problems with the people we end up falling for?
Jonas was a powerfully strong villian. In many ways, I saw him as Jimmy Stewert as a bad guy in the Western. It is powerful and in his own mind he sees himself as a hero. He is what Roland could become, is in danger of becoming, the big coffin hunters are great mirror images of Roland's group, and Eddie's group later on. They reminded me of the Wild Bunch.
The death of Susan was horrendous. The town in a blood rage was disconcerting. I enjoyed every word of it.
2. The Wolves of the Calla--"We deal in lead". I liked all the aspects of this story. Probably because it had been so long since I read the stories it was like a family reunion with loved ones. Every scene is embracable and the reappearance of Father Calahan, a character I really liked in Salem's Lot, just got me going. The end was what sold it for me though, King actually exists? Who did he think he was...Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation? It sold me, I couldn't wait to pick up the next book. By the way, to get ready to read Wolves of the Calla, I listened to the books on CD. The voice actor who did the readings of Drawing of Three, The Wastelands, and Wizard and Glass, and who the Wolves of the Calla is dedicated to. Was an incredible reader who, to me, made Eddie come alive. If you have the chance, listen to those books.
3. The Gunslinger--I'm from Texas. I was intriqued by this book from an author from Maine because it was a Western. I immediately fell for it: "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed." Cue up "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" music...start the wind generator and give me a Clint Eastwood close up with a whistle! From start to finish I was talking to this book. I am convinced this could be a great American Anime if done right. I especially like the part where Roland kills the whole town! When he let's Jake drop, I was screamming,"You son of a dog! How could you! What kind of person are you? Nothing good will come of you, you don't deserve to exist!" Of course, I was loving any minute of it. After all, he let the kid die. When was the last time you read that in a novel?
4. The Dark Tower--A good story is based on it's ending. You can have the best story in the world but if you have no ending, you have nothing. Some great stories with fantastic endings are Casablanca, The Usual Suspects, and The Dark Knight Returns. An example of a story with a lousy ending is the Avaiator or The Wastelands (let's face, we were all angry at that one). The Dark Tower was one of the greatest endings of them all. I really was concerned about how he was going to end it, anything at the top of that tower would never match up with what the fans are expecting. But this ending, it just seems to be the only right ending (people who disagree should rewatch Matrix ReLoaded...I mean really, the Architect is waiting in the room for Neo...geesh). It also has great ending for each major character.
5. The Drawing of Three--It's number 5, but seriously, the top 4 books to me are 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d. I never really liked him getting his fingers bitten off and I never took to Susanah throughout the entire series, so I don't have the same loyalty as everyone else has. I understand the meaning behind them and the necessity. But aside from Eddie's story, I never got into the other characters, and to be honest, I wasn't an Eddie fan for awhile. Plus, this was a departure from the Western motif I was enjoying. It's a quality book and when seen with the whole storyline, it becomes a better book in my mind. But when I read it the first time, I was disappointed.
6. The Wastelands--just because how it ended. That's the only reason.
7. Song of Susanah--well, I never liked Susanah and this story, for the most part, is about her and Mia. And it seemed they kept saying the same thing over and over. Father Callahan and Jake aren't really in it. Roland and Eddie have a GREAT battle. I mean, when I read that part I perked up and got interested in what they were doing and saying. Seeing King reflect on his younger self was like watching the end of Fight Club when Tyler Durden figures out he is Tyler Durden...really good self abuse. But then, we're back to Susanah...sigh...
However, the ending with the "death" of King really interested me. Made me excited about the last book.
My favorite King book of all time is The Stand. The walking dude, Randall Flagg, was a great villian. But I always saw him as underestimating a key figure: he underestimated the Trashcan Man, he underestimated the power of God. I see his death as the same flaw, he underestimated something that was way out of his control. He had gotten away with this flaw for many a stories but I think it just ran out. He always seemed in control in every book, with every turn planned. But, his downfall was always something I always thought he should have planned for. "The center does not hold" When it turned out that he was raped at a young age, I found that I pitied him, because he spent all his life trying to get even for that crime (much like it seemed that Lawerence of Arabia does after his implied defloweration). He becomes tragic, oh he deserves what he gets and more, but his sould ends up being tragic because of one lustful, evil, uncontrollable person.