Song of Susannah by Stephen King

This entry is part [part not set] of 7 in the series The Dark Tower

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
Publisher:  Donald M. Grant/Scribner; 1st Trade Ed edition (June 8, 2004), Hardcover: 432 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 1880418592

As the name implies this book deals primarily with Susannah and it is her path as she journeys through pregnancy with a demon child. At the same time she is possessed by a creature of the Crimson King who has been given the care of the child. 

This is the sixth book in the Dark Tower series, there are currently a total of seven books, and Stephen King announced in 2009 that he has plans for an eighth book, The Wind Through the Keyhole which he plans to write at some point in the future.  Stephen King is primarily known as a horror author, but this book does not fall into that genre.  Instead it is in the fantasy genre and sometimes considered a western.  The story is told with a third person narrative and focuses primarily on Susannah Dean of New York.  Although at times it is also told from the other characters who are on the quest to find and heal the Dark Tower.

They are all Gunslingers and they are Roland Deschain of Gilead (from time unremembered,) Eddie Dean of New York (from 1987) and his wife Susanna Dean of New York (from 1964) as well as their adopted son, Jake Chambers of New York (from 1977.) The story has also added Pere Callahan from one of Stephen King’s previous books, Salam’s Lot and Stephen King himself (from 1977,) is a character in this book.  The Dark Tower is at the centre of the universe and connects all the varying worlds and time-lines together. Most of the books in the series take place in a post-apocalyptic world where things are running down and time has become weird. But most of this book takes place in our world in 1977 and 1999.

Book V, The Wolves Of The Calla, ended with Susannah and Mia (the being who is possessing Susannah’s body,) escaping into our world in 1999 with the evil, magic Black Thirteen. Now Eddie is frantic with worry over Susannah and wants to find her as soon as possible. With the help of the Manni, the door between realities is re-opened, not once but twice. This is good since the gang has several pressing items to deal with.  First they must find Susannah and save her from the demon child and second they must also save the spiritual rose which is growing in the middle of Manhattan. Eddie wants to save Susannah but Ka has a different plan and sends him and Roland to Maine, USA in 1977 to try and save the rose and through the rose the tower.  It is Jake, Callahan and Oy (Jake’s faithful, highly-intelligent, talking  “pet”) who are sent to New York, 1999 to save Susannah. 

 The ka-tet is separated, which weakens them as a whole but it makes the story interesting since there were two plot-lines going on at the same time with an interlocking thread between them.  There was a heavy duty action scene in the beginning when Roland and Eddie first arrived in Maine. This was the only real action in the book. I enjoyed this book although I did not think the overall story really made much progress. It did not seem that much happened, although the cliff-hanger hints of things to come.

I thought it was really interesting the way that Stephen King himself became a character in the book and is tied into what happens to the Dark Tower. Once again the story has ended with a cliff-hanger.  I personally prefer a book that ties up all the story-lines by the end of the book, so in this area the book fell short for me. For this reason and for the lack of excitement within the book I gave the book a 2 Treasure Box rating. This was my lest favourite book in the series todate.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow Roland on his journey, but please read the prior books first as this book is not really a stand-alone book.  If you enjoy reading fantasy/science fiction books then you should enjoy this book since it has a bit of both within it.

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