Review: Song of Susannah

Song of Susannah
Song of Susannah by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This, the 2nd last in the series, was the 1st to be full of annoying recaps on who’s who and what happened, but the story did get under way quickly enough and keep moving forward.

Inconsistencies in Susannah’s knowledge bogged me down: after standing in the Castle Allure/Discordia looking at ‘squat pillars’ and supposing archers stood behind them to fire their ‘arrows or red-hot catapults or whatever you called them’; she suddenly progressed to encyclopaedic knowledge, deciding the pillars might be called ‘merlons or something like that’, then recounting entire medieval history lessons and discussing trebuchets. And that knowledge did not come from Mia.

There was also a lot of repetition that Stephen King in his On Writing taught me not to do: Susannah 1st thinks the bowling bag has changed from pink to red, and then spends the rest of her day re-stating that change to the reader. It makes me think the color of the bag is a Big Fat Clue that King wants us to remember.

And the massive gunfight at the country store, lasting 90 seconds and 19 (!) pages, alternated between describing things in the distance to describing the layout of the shop, all in the middle of an apparently fast and furious scary gunfight involving characters I’m supposed to care about. The closest I got to the action was: “He felt the droning passage of a bullet and saw a round black hole appear in the picture of a lighthouse mounted on the wall.” My focus stayed with the prose, therefore I drifted all over the place. Was the lighthouse the topic there?! Maybe I’m just too literal.

It’s still a great story, and it did move forward. I really want to see poor old Roland find the Tower before it kills him.

And, just when the links back to King’s own reality, his own existence in the story, were getting too self-indulgent (around the time when Roland wondered if Stephen King were God), things finally made a new kind of sense.

No longer is the story egotistical and crazy, but warmer, and more like ka. And more realistically threatening to us all. One to go,and I can hardly wait!
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