Saturday, April 12, 2008

SONG OF SUSANNAH by Stephen King

Song of Susannah is the sixth and penultimate novel in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. This is the shortest book we’ve had in this series for quite a while. And, as the characters are split up into three groups, we get less than 200 pages for each. Since King likes to move things along at a rather glacial pace, not a whole lot happens here.

Picking up where Wolves of the Calla left off, the characters disperse back to different times and places in twentieth-century America. Here they all mostly wander around for a while until they get to convenient stopping points that will (one hopes) give the last book an exciting beginning. The “cliffhanger” here is anything but. Like the entire Susannah-is-pregnant story arc, it’s hardly compelling (and it’s grown rather tiresome).

In Wolves of the Calla, King inserted himself into the Dark Tower world. Now he shows up as a character. While the reader’s initial impression of this is likely something along the lines of “Wow, how stupid,” like most things in this novel, it doesn’t matter one way or the other to the story, really, although King tries to tie together his writing career, life, the universe and everything with it. The book ends with a crypto-biographical diary from King the character which is, again, not particularly compelling.

This makes two poor entries in a row into the Dark Tower series. Song of Susannah is practically nothing but setup for the last book. On its own, it wouldn’t be worth bothering with.