The Dark Tower: a spoiler-free review by a former adaptation naysayer

dark_tower_ver6_xlgThe long, long-awaited movie adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ opened this weekend. I was there. Twice. Here are my thoughts….

I first read The Gunslinger, book 1 of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series when I was 19, which is a notable number in the later Dark Tower books. Coincidence? I think not because as we know, and know very well, all things serve the Beam.

As anyone who knows me is aware, I used to be vehemently opposed to the adaptation of this series because come on, Hollywood, you jack up most of King’s stuff, admit it. And as much as I’ve always loved this series, I didn’t want it to suck on the big screen. 

Note that I once had quite the fangirlish chat with Michael Whelan on this very topic. We were of the same mind and I’m intensely curious about whether he’ll go see the film and if so, what he thinks of it.

Fast forward to the announcement of Idris Elba being cast to play Roland Deschain of Gilead, last of the Gunslingers and the line of Eld. To my disgust, many fellow fans on the internet had little temper tantrums regarding the actor’s skin color–I think these are the same kind of people who boycotted the new Star Wars movies and Wonder Woman because eww, icky wimmens and brown people. Well… all I have to say about that is fuck those jerks.

Anyway, back to me. *ahem* I saw that Elba had been cast and I became excited. Finally, I was looking forward to this adaptation—to see my beloved Gunslinger on the big screen. And my anticipation began to build.

Learning details about the project, such as the fact that it wouldn’t be mimicking the first book of the series, or really any book of the series, but would rather be a separate story which would incorporate many aspects of the series, made my anticipation even more intense. We all know how the book series ended, right? (Note that if you do not know, be warned that while this review doesn’t feature spoilers for the movie, it will definitely feature them for the books.) 

other worlds

Groundhog Day for Roland Deschain, yes? Destined to begin his journey anew, again and again until he gets it right. So… perhaps this movie is another of Roland’s journeys. Perhaps it’s one of those “other worlds than these” which exists on some other level of the tower. 

We know of some major differences between the series and the movie from the trailers, so let’s start  with some of those before I go on to fan-girl out about my feels.

  • Jake is obviously not the child of wealthy, indifferent parents as we see him in a normal bedroom and at one point, hugging his mother. Also, he seems to have a talent for drawing and he’s seeing a shrink.
  • Jake enters Mid-World intentionally, through a portal, rather than as a result of his death at the hands of Jack Mort. Further, though he visits the house (which he even finds differently) from The Wastelands, he isn’t pulled into Mid-World through a doorway opened with Eddie’s carved key, as when he arrives for the second time in the books.
  • Eddie and Odetta/Detta/Susannah are not featured in this adaptation… and, of course, there’s also no Oy.

But knowing the nature of this film ahead of time helped me to avoid disappointment at any possible changes. I was able to open my mind and enjoy it for what it was—a glimpse. A snapshot into the story of Roland’s quest for the Tower.

And I was not disappointed. Sure, there were some issues with the film, did you SEE their budget? I feel that they did a good job of not only capturing enough of Roland and Jake’s stories to satisfy fans of the books, but that they did a good job putting together a film that could also be enjoyed by non-readers, as well.

My boyfriend doesn’t read (yeah, I know) and he enjoyed the film. He had some nitpicks but we talked earnestly about what worked for him, and what didn’t, as someone utterly unfamiliar with Mid-World and gunslingers and ALL OF THE THINGS. Though he said it reminded him of films like Mazerunner and The Hunger Games franchise, he said that overall, “it wasn’t bad.” That’s relatively high praise from him, I assure you.

Anything else I want to discuss would spoil things for any who have yet to see the film so I will wrap up after a couple of general thoughts and hopes for the future of this franchise, namely the possibilities included here.

Despite the much-changed face of the story and the dramatic differences in Roland’s ka-tet, this film felt like the books. It felt right. Roland’s reactions to Jake’s world were very reminiscent of The Drawing of the Three and Jake was… well he was Jake. And I adored each moment with him on the screen. And the Easter eggs… guys, so many wonderful Easter eggs! Keep an eye out, many of them are easy to miss.

I have a great deal of concern that this adaptation won’t generate enough interest (or money) to continue with the plans for a sequel and/or a series for television as outlined here, but I hope that it does. I hope the series happens, I would adore seeing Wizard and Glass on the small screen. And Walter’s mention in one of the trailers that everyone Roland has ever loved has died by his hand gives me hope that we’ll see what happened when Roland took his test using David as his weapon; when he went to Mejis with Cuthbert and Alain; when the war was lost. I want to see it all.

Long days and pleasant nights, sai.


Dark and Broken


My soul is dark. I have been broken, but my mask convinces everyone.
I socialize and interact. I share silly anecdotes and listen to theirs, laughing when appropriate.
It constantly surprises me that nobody realizes. That nobody sees… me.

Or my dark and broken soul.



‘Cold Days’ Release: A Dresden Files Recap

The next highly anticipated installment in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is book #14, Cold Days. November 27th is the magical release date and I’m really hoping to have finished NaNoWriMo by that day so that I can once more immerse myself in Harry’s version of Chicago and watch as he attempts to get out of the latest fine mess in which he’s gotten himself. Which mess might that be, you ask? Watch out! Blurb ahead!


After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which Mab wants first?

Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

His soul.

In preparation for new Dresden books, I generally do a series re-read… or a re-listen rather, since I absolutely love the job that James Marsters does on the audio books. Of course, James was unavailable to read for Ghost Story, much to the chagrin of many, many fans, myself included, but he is back to read Cold Days and I for one can’t wait to hear him voicing Harry & Company again!

But I digress… so odd for me to do that, sorry! Series re-read. There, back on track! For this book release, I won’t be doing a series re-read/re-listen. Why, do you ask? Well, the point of this post is to tell you why, so sit tight!

In preparation for the release of Ghost Story last summer, I re-listened to each of the first 12 books in the series (+ Side Jobs!) and then wrote reviews for each of them once I had finished. I did this, in part, in order to share my love of the series with the handful of people who actually read this blog, but also so that I would have a handy-dandy recap for each book in case an entire re-read/re-listen before future book releases was impossible for me. Much like it is now, what with my busy season at work, NaNoWriMo approaching, and my daughter’s Senior Year of high school in full swing and tons of college stuff to be done.

To be honest, my ‘reviews’ go well beyond what a lot of book reviews are meant to do, which is give you an overview of what the book is about and a general idea of the reviewer’s thoughts and impressions of the book, which is all fine and good. Of course sometimes a reviewer will go a bit further and vaguely mention something about the events that transpired in the book, usually sans spoilers, in order to entice people to read the book.

Ha! I scoff! MY reviews are somewhat… different.

First, they’re pretty much all way too long and second, they’re almost all so chock full of info and spoilers that one might never need to re-read the books!

I say re-read because darlin’, if you haven’t read them, you’re missing out on some kind of superawesometasticspecialness. Seriously. Jim Butcher has created characters that you will love and characters that you will love to hate who all occupy such a rich and fascinating world full of magic. A world that I not only want to revisit periodically by reading or listening to his stories, but one that I would actually want to GO to… to EXPERIENCE. Hell, to LIVE in!

Okay, caps lock off, I’m just trying to get the point across that this is a wonderful series that I’m sure you’ll enjoy, because I know everything about you. EVAREETHANG! So stop doing that thing that you’re doing that you think that nobody knows about. Seriously, shame on you. *tsk*

If you haven’t read the series and want to, don’t rely on reviews here or elsewhere to show you Harry’s world. You’d be missing out on 99% of it, easily. Start with Storm Front and have at it because the books, especially the early ones, are super-quick reads… or listens, if you’re a fan of audio books, and ohmyGod either format is so worth the time.

If you have read the series and you are just looking for a recap before picking up (or downloading) Cold Days and reading about (or listening to) Harry as Mab’s Winter Knight (dun-dun-dun-DUNNN), then dive right into the links below and I hope that I recapped the books sufficiently for you, and that you enjoy!

My Dresden Files reviews:

#1 – Storm Front

#2 – Fool Moon

#3 – Grave Peril

#4 – Summer Knight

#5 – Death Masks

#6 – Blood Rites

#7 – Dead Beat

#8 – Proven Guilty

#9 – White Night

#10 – Small Favor

#11 – Turn Coat

#12 – Changes

#12.5 – Side Jobs

#13 – Ghost Story

For more Dresden Files lurves, follow Jim Butcher on Twitter and Facebook, and if you do happen to listen to the audio books and think that James Marsters is teh awesome, then you can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Shop Indie for Dresden Files ebooks and print copies!