March 24, 2010

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, Book 7)Title : The Dark Tower
Author : Stephen King
Reading Dates : 24 Mar - 5 Apr 2010

Dark Tower Series. The Dark Tower is the 7th and final book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The books in the series includes :
  • The Gunslinger
  • The Drawing of the Three
  • The Waste Lands

  • Wizard and Glass
  • Wolves of the Calla
  • Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower

Book Summary of The Dark Tower.
Concerned that just owning the piece of land which houses the rose is not sufficient protection, Eddie proposes to setup a corporation whose main purpose would be the protection of the rose, Stephen King and to thwart the actions of Sombra and North Central Positronics. Roland and Eddie agree that the only ones they can entrust the task to is John Cullum who had helped them earlier, the retired lawyer Aaron Deepneau who had shown a modicum of good judgement in their earlier dealings and Susannah's godfather Moses Carver who manages the Holmes family business. John Cullum easily believes the tale of their quest and agrees to help them after Roland and Eddie contacts him. Leaving Cullum with the means to convince Deepneau and Carver to help, Eddie and Roland travel once again through a door to where the other members of their ka-tet are.

Meanwhile, Susannah-Mia had been dragged through another door to Fedic where Mia's personality returns to her own body. There, Mia gives birth to the child which should have been Susannah's. Immediately after Mia starts to nurse the child she names Mordred, the baby transforms into a monster with the form of a spider and devours Mia. In the confusion, Susannah manages to kill all her captors except for Mordred. Susannah then flees to a doorway to New York and is soon reunited with Jake and Oy after they come through the doorway to Fedic. The pair had escaped the vampires and low men through Father Donald Callahan's sacrifice. The ka-tet is made whole again once Roland and Eddie arrives.

After a short rest in Fedic, Roland's group travels once again through another doorway to Thunderclap. There, they are greeted by a group of 3 breakers. One of whom, Sheemie, is an old friend of Roland's who once acted as a squire to his first ka-tet. Ted Brautigan, Dinky Earnshaw and Sheemie have been awaiting the gunslingers arrival for a long time and secretly preparing a cashe of weapons for their eventual assault on Algul Siento where the Breakers are working on bringing down Shardik's Beam.

The gunslingers learn very quickly that time is running out for them to protect the remaining 2 beams which holds the Tower up. Shardik's Beam warns the gunslingers through dreams that it will break any day soon if the Breakers are not stopped and the gunslingers also learns of an impending plot to remove Stephen King who is possibly the mortal guardian of Gan's Beam. While the attack on Algul Siento is a success, Eddie is killed and their ka-tet broken. Eddie's last words to Jake is to charge him and Oy to protect Roland from Mordred.

With time against them, Roland, Jake and Oy travel back to Maine of 1999 via a doorway created by Sheemie leaving Susannah to bury Eddie. Roland's group arrives barely in time and forcibly drafts a local Irene Tassenbaum as their driver. They manage to save Stephen King but at the cost of Jake's life.

After a grieving Roland buries the boy he thought of as his son, Mrs. Tassenbaum drives Roland to New York where he gets in touch with the current heads of the Tet Corporation. Roland is both surprised and pleased to finally meet Moses Carver, 1 of the original 3 founders of the corporation who is still alive. As promised their corporation has taken on the role of defenders of the rose. And the original 3 have passed on Roland's will to Carver's daughter Marian and Aaron Deepneau's grand-niece Nancy. From them, Roland also learns of Patrick Danville who may be able to help them in their quest.

Roland and Oy then return to Fedic via the same doorway they had gone through before. There, they are reunited with Susannah. As the group travel through the White Lands, Roland is almost killed by the vampire Dandelo. They manage to dispose of the vampire and rescue Patrick Danville who was being held in captivity by the vampire. Later, Susannah realizes Patrick's ability to bring that which he draws on paper to life. Susannah then chooses to abandon the quest and travel to another world, through a doorway Patrick creates for her, and meets with another version of Eddie and Jake.

Soon after Susannah leaves, Mordred attacks Roland. Once again, another of Roland's companion dies for their quest. Roland kills Mordred and buries the dead Oy before arriving at the Tower with Patrick. There, Patrick uses his powers to erase the Crimson King from the known worlds and thus enabling Roland to enter the Tower. Roland enters the Tower alone after advising Patrick on how he might return to his own world or find Susannah.

In the Tower, Roland finds to his dismay that his quest for the Tower is one he has repeated countless times without remembering just moments before he is sent back to the beginning of his quest. The only difference this time is his past seems to have changed a bit, with the Horn of Eld with him this time where before it was lost.

Book Review of The Dark Tower.
From the moment that Eddie Dean is killed, there's a sense of impending doom. One that keeps telling me to stop before the author kills off more of the characters I have come to love after following them on their quest for more than a decade. I wish I could have stopped but that would mean not knowing the end. Well, I've never cared for Susannah Dean and while I might not have liked it, I could accept Eddie's death. But killing of Jake Chambers and Oy is simply too much. After all that they have been through, the boy and his dog belong together. To separate them, seems absolutely heartless. And for Roland to lose the boy he loves as a son without even a change to say goodbye.

Then, there's having a near total stranger, Patrick Danville, appearing near the end of a quest for which he cares nothing about and being the only one to make it to the Dark Tower with Roland of Gilead. It is Patrick Danville's gift which allows Roland to defeat the Crimson King. And all of it feels as if it's a cop-out. Patrick Danville is not the only powerful character to conveniently appear and then disappear once their usefulness came to an end. There's Roland's long ago companion, Sheemie who is a powerful teleporter. He appears to provide them a means for travelling back to Maine but then dies of an accidental mishap without even a goodbye. Ted Brautigan and Dinky Earnshaw conveniently provides them with the means to take down the jailers of the Breakers and just as conveniently disappears again.

Finally, there's the ending. What does it mean ? Is this repetition of the quest some sort of punishment for Roland ? Or some metaphor for which I do not understand ? What was the point of the quest if it was a punishment ? If Roland is the only one who does not remember, does this mean that apart from his original ka-tet formed in Gilead, there have been many others whom he does not remember ? Or will another version of Eddie, Jake, Susannah and Oy once again join Roland on his quest ? The ending leaves more questions than answers and if I thought the ending would change if re-read it, maybe I would.

March 19, 2010

Song of Susannah

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, Book 6)Title : Song of Susannah
Author : Stephen King
Reading Dates : 18 Mar - 24 Mar 2010

Dark Tower Series. Song of Susannah is the 6th book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The books in the series includes :
  • The Gunslinger
  • The Drawing of the Three
  • The Waste Lands

  • Wizard and Glass
  • Wolves of the Calla
  • Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower

Book Summary of Song of Susannah.
The remaining members of Roland Deschain's ka-tet decide to split into 2 groups and travel through the Unfound Door; the first group to go after and find the missing Susannah Dean while the second group completes the transfer of guardianship of the rose from Calvin Tower. On the eve of the day they leave, one of the Beams which holds up the Tower snaps and reminds them again of how precious little time they have left.

Susannah's alter-ego, Mia, arrives in New York of June 1999 and makes contact with Richard P.Sayre. Sayre is the leader of the vampires who once hunted Father Callahan, the newest member of their ka-tet. While listening in on Mia and Sayre's conversation, Susannah realizes that Mia has betrayed her ka-tet to Sayre. Later on, Susannah learns from Mia that the demon child she carries was birthed using Roland's seed through a combination of magic and science. And all of it was part of Roland's long-time nemesis, Walter's plan to end the line of Eld. Mia herself is not just a personality in Susannah's mind but a demon who made a bargain with Walter in order to have a child.

Roland and Eddie arrive in Maine of July 1977 to an ambush by the men after Calvin Tower. Surprised at how the place and time of their arrival could have been known, they manage barely to escape due to Roland's quick reflexes and the aid of a local named John Cullum. From Cullum, they learn of walk-ins, people and other strange creatures who sometimes appear out of nowhere for a short while in the last 3 years or so. After questioning Cullum on Stephen King, the author of Salem's Lot, Eddie theorizes that this might coincide with King's moving to live in the area. After getting Cullum's help to find Tower, they part ways.

Once they have completed the transfer of ownership for the plot of land where the rose lies, Eddie warns Tower to run and hide. Then, Eddie and Roland seek out Stephen King. As they come to realize that the writer too has an important role to play in their quest, they convince him to continue writing the story of the Dark Tower which he had abandoned a few years ago. Once this is done, they decide to go to Turtleback Lane where the walk-ins seem to be centered.

Meanwhile, Jake, Oy and Pere Callahan's arrival in New York through the Unfound Door coincides with Susannah-Mia's departure to meet join Sayre's vampires and low men. Jake and his group first recover the stolen Black Thirteen in what was Susannah-Mia's hotel room and hide it at the World Trade Center before going after Susannah.

Upon meeting Sayre, Mia realizes her mistake in trusting him but it is too late. Sayre brings Susannah-Mia through another door into which Mia's body lies and where they begin their labour to bring Mordred Deschain into the world.

Book Review of Song of Susannah.
The book starts rather slowly but becomes rather engrossing from the point Roland and Eddie walk into Jack Andolini's ambush. The best parts of Song of Susannah seem to belong to Roland and Eddie rather than Susannah despite the title. Like watching a shoot-out in one of those Old West movies, how the gunslingers defeat their pursuers immediately captures your interest. That is probably this story's saving grace. Susannah's tale on the contrary seems rather boring though she's been kidnapped by a demon possessing her and is heavily pregnant with a demon child. The only part of consequence when it comes to Susannah is learning of how the child she carries came to be and of what purpose. Aside from that, Susannah does not seem to do much though we spend much of our time with her. On the other hand, Jake's part in this tale seems woefully short making an appearance only at the start and end of the story. But what an end with Jake and his companions about to storm the vampires lair in order to save Susannah. Now, on to The Dark Tower.

March 15, 2010

Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5)Title : Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian
Author : Rick Riordan
Reading Dates : 14 Mar - 18 Mar 2010

Book Summary of Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.

The Last Olympian starts off with the Olympians in the middle of a losing war against Kronos's Titans, with Poseidon under siege by Oceanus while most of the other Olympians attempts to hold off Typhon the father of monsters from invading New York. 1 week before his 16th birthday, when he is prophesied to make a decision which could either save or destroy the world, Percy goes off on a mission with Charles Beckendorf to slow down Kronos's army. The mission ends in disaster due to the still unidentified spy in the midst of Camp Half-Blood. Percy escapes with his life but Beckendorf is killed.

A desperate Percy then agrees to follow Niko's plan to gain invulnerability by taking a dip in the River Styx, following in the footsteps of legendary hero Achilles. As a start, they retrace Luke's steps and confirm that he too had gone through a similar ordeal. They also meet Hestia Goddess of the Hearth who gives Percy some cryptic advice and Grover who has been missing for 2 months. In the Underworld, Percy learns from Hades that Kronos intends to attack Olympus that very night. Hades who has always felt slighted by the other Olympian siblings had decided to sit out this war together with his wife Persephone and mother-in-law Demeter. Thus, severely depleting the Olympians strength.

Once Percy accomplishes his objective in the Underworld, he convinces Niko to stay behind to try and change Hades mind. Percy then calls in most of the other Camp Half-Blood campers in order to defend Manhattan. Unfortunately the demi-gods find themselves severely outnumbered with Zeus and the other gods off fighting Typhon. With their forces severely depleted with every fight, Percy and his remaining allies are slowly pushed back towards the Empire State Building. Each time when they are almost decimated, unexpected reinforcements arrive. First the centaurs, then the remaining demi-gods from Camp Half-Blood and finally Hades's army of the dead. Even Poseidon shows up to help the Olympians fight and win against Typhon after Percy contacts him and convinces him that Kronos's true objective is to split the Olympians' strength.

As their respective allies and enemies fight, Percy takes on the Lord of Time himself. When he is almost defeated, it is Annabeth who manages to reach out to Luke. As foretold by the prophecy, Percy chooses to trust Luke by handing over his sole weapon. Luke defeats Kronos who is housed within his own body by sacrificing himself. The defeated Titan army then scatters.

As a reward for saving Olympus, Percy asks that the gods promise to honor the minor gods and acknowledge and accept all their children. While the Olympian gods are at first reluctant, Percy convinces them that the reason the war started was because many of the half-blood children felt abandoned and uncared. The resentment the half-bloods and minor gods felt for being ignored was the reason they helped Kronos.

Their troubles however do not seem to be at an end. Percy's mortal friend, Rachel Elizabeth Dare is revealed as the new Oracle and upon her acceptance of her new role makes a new Great Prophecy. One which promises more trouble for half-bloods.

Book Review of Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.
I loved the Last Olympian. While the story doesn't really take off until Percy arrives back in New York to prepare for Kronos's attack, its an exciting and hilarious ride when it does. The best parts of the story isn't so much the fighting as Percy's observations and interactions with both friends and allies. Whether Percy's commenting on whether his pet hell-hound Mrs. O'Leary understands his instructions or his version of praying to the gods, its hard not to laugh at Percy's irreverent remarks.

But most important of all, the Last Olympian is a story about family, forgiveness and redemption. Silena Beauregard, the spy in their midst, gives her life to rally the remaining Camp Half-Blood inhabitants to the rescue. Silena had wrongly trusted Luke in the past but regretted her actions after Beckendorf, her boyfriend, was killed. Hades who held a grudge against Zeus for killing Niko's mother is taught the importance of forgiveness by his son . Niko, who once blamed Percy for his elder sister Bianca's death and almost destroyed himself to carry out his vengeance, reminds Hades that he himself will cease to exist if Olympus is lost. Ethan Nakamura, the son of Nemesis who felt his mother had never been given her due as she is a minor god, is killed by Kronos when he turns against Kronos once he realizes that everything and not just the Olympian gods would disappear if Kronos won. Luke, who had always felt abandoned by his father Hermes, too remembers his promise to Annabeth to make a family of their own and is the one who defeats Kronos in the end. I totally enjoyed it.

Links of Interest.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...