Commonly known as “Those seven Stephen King books that didn’t suck”. The critical “not-sucking” element comes from a unique setting that puts the western, fantasy, and sci-fi genres in a blender and presses “liquefy”.
Wherein "Roland" is established as a synonym of "badass".
The first book is our introduction to core protagonist Roland Deschain. Note the use of the term "protagonist" instead of "hero". While Roland has his good side, and is certainly as skilled at killing increasingly illogical numbers of human beings as any other fantasy lead, his willingness to discard anyone and anything to reach the series' eponymous Dark Tower adds enough moral ambiguity to the story to nullify the validity of that label. In fact, he is arguably batshit insane, and is all the more awesome for it.
Readers attached to sissy concepts like plot and characterization claim that the most powerful segments of the novel are the interactions and choices Roland makes with his newfound ward, Jake Chambers. They are full of lies. The greatest moment is when Roland wipes out a hostile town's entire population in a display of gunmanship that makes Equilibrium look like patty cake.
A wacky combination of black magic, time travel, drug addiction, serial murder, and schizophrenia. Recommended for the whole family.
"The Waste Lands" ends on a cliffhanger. This is exactly as infuriating as it sounds. The cliffhanger is not a narrative tool that transfers well to the novels as a form..Especially when the author has a nasty habit of taking half-decade breaks between entries in a series.
A recovering heroin addict kills an evil robotic train by telling bad jokes. This only represents a small portion of the book, but if you need to hear more, you need to get off of this website immediately.
Still reading? Fine.
"Wizard and Glass" is essentially an extended flashback telling the tale of Roland's youth. While you were learning algebra, Roland was learning one hundred ways to kill you and seducing rural blondes.
On the other hand, he accidentally kills his mother. Life gives and takes.
Okay, it mostly takes. In addition to accidentally killing his mother, Roland gets hooked on a magic plot device and the aforementioned blonde dies. His compensation is winning a battle in a war that's ultimately lost.
Did you think that Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" needed more gunslingers fighting cyborgs? Then you and Stephen King have something in common.
A tip for young authors:
Writing is hard. Everyone with a brain stem acknowledges this fact. Few people have the talent neccessary to seperate the good ideas from the bad. But some things should be obvious.
If you ever have the impulse to have your characters meet you, the author, within the confines of your own work, please punch yourself with a pair of spiked brass knuckles until the thought bleeds out of your skull.
Bit of a lazy title, isn't it?
Talking about the last book without getting into spoilers is like trying to cartwheel through a minefield. Suffice to say, the story manages to end without jumping the shark "Sword of Truth" style.