And so I finished reading this one with time to spare, amazingly. It was...different. A story, within a story, within a book. I don't know that I really liked the format. I guess it was a little too much storytellin' for me.
This book is listed as installment 4.5 in The Dark Tower Series. In it we find the ka-tet of Roland, Jake, Oy, Eddie and Susannah still traveling along the path of the beam, heading toward the Dark Tower. They come to a river and meet a friendly man to get them across. He reminds Roland of a horrible storm that appears out of nowhere and is easily predicted by the billy-bumblers. Oy has been acting strangely and Roland has a "duh" moment as he realizes it's for this reason.
That's my first problem with this book. It's one of those things (if there's a term I'm not certain) that's too contrived by the author to mesh well for the reader. Perhaps deus ex machina? Except there was no real reason for this book to happen in the first place. I don't think I learned anything new about the characters that I needed to know so long after Roland's journey ended. He does have a few tidbits about his mother, some introspection that makes him more human. However, I don't think this book did that justice. In the book Roland tells everyone a story. That story is mostly about a situation where Roland tells someone else a different story. That story takes up most of the book. It's not a bad story. I was actually quite enthralled. I just don't know that it was worth taking up the thread of The Dark Tower series again, and getting my hopes up that it would be another piece of the puzzle.
So, taken at face value as a stand-alone book, this is a good read. Depending on my mood I might even say a great read. But as a part of this series, being placed where it was, I just don't know. Keep in mind that I began reading this series again solely because of this book. I received it for my birthday and wanted to remember every detail that came before this story took place. I'm in the thick of it now so will continue on with the series. But of course, I remember how it ended and know that's not going to change.