The final installment in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series generally lives down to the standards set in the penultimate book, Song of Susannah.

After reading Wizard and Glass it was clear to me that King was going to have a very difficult time maintaining the standards he had set. While Wolves of the Calla was a worthy attempt, all subsequent books are nothing but dim shadows of those preceding them. In the final installment of the series, the Dark Tower is finally within the reach of our gallant, yet flawed, heroes. Now all that remains is moving over the final few miles, opening the door, and climbing the stairs to reveals what lies at the top of the Tower.

Without revealing too much about the book’s twists and turns, it is difficult to fully analyze the book here. However, much of the book feels contrived with characters taking actions and stances simply because it was convenient for King. Rather than acting as we might expect the fully developed characters would, the characters often abruptly about-face and do things that don’t fit their personalities.

The method King uses to overcome the character’s final obstacle is lame and contrived. It is as though King was looking for a clever way out of the problems he had created, rather than letting his characters work their way out using their own methods and means.

All in all, I almost wish I had stopped reading the series after Wolves of the Calla. Much like the third Matrix movie somewhat tarnished the reputation of the first two, the last books of the Dark Tower series have tarnished the reputation of those that have gone before them.