Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King

Name:  The Wind Through the Keyhole
Stephen King
Number of Pages: 
321 (Kindle)
April 24th 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy


For readers new to The Dark Tower, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE is a stand-alone novel, and a wonderful introduction to the series. It is a story within a story, which features both the younger and older gunslinger Roland on his quest to find the Dark Tower. Fans of the existing seven books in the series will also delight in discovering what happened to Roland and his ka tet between the time they leave the Emerald City and arrive at the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis.
This Russian Doll of a novel, a story within a story, within a story, visits Mid-World’s last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. (The novel can be placed between Dark Tower IV and Dark Tower V.) Roland tells a tale from his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape shifter, a ‘skin man,’ Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime, ‘The Wind through the Keyhole’. ‘A person’s never too old for stories,’ he says to Bill. ‘Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.’ And stories like these, they live for us

My Rating:


My Thoughts:

The Wind Through the Keyhole is a late edition to the Dark Tower series as it was written after the series had been completed, and in reading order is placed between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. As I’m rereading the whole series I thought I’d read it in place this time around.

Although the book doesn’t really further the quest of Roland and his ka-tet, it’s a wonderful addition to the series and I’m glad I reread it before moving on to Wolves of the Calla. It is a story within a story within a story, which begins shortly after the group leave behind the strange city that concluded Wizard and Glass. A deadly storm is about to blow in, and the ka-tet seek shelter in which to wait it out, passing the time with Roland’s tales of times gone by.

Roland begins relating one of his youthful adventures with another of his friends. Alas, it is not Cuthbert who gets sent on this mission with Roland, for I would have loved another appearance from that particular character with his wit and wisdom and cheerful outlook. This time we meet Jamie, another of Roland’s contemporaries in his younger years, as the duo go off in search of a rumoured skin-man, a shape-shifter who is terrorising the local populace and leaving a trail of destruction with each visitation. At the scene of such an attack Roland encounters Young Bill, the lone survivor, and as the pair lay a trap to catch the villain, the story within this story begins.

And this is the true heart of this novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole, the title of the overall book. It’s a tale Roland’s mother told to him, and one that stayed with him. A fantasy quest of a tale involving a young boy from the village of Tree who, under perilous circumstances encounters a (familiar) figure dressed all in black, who shows him some awful truths and winds him up to the point that he leaves the village in search of Maerlyn, a wizard who may only exist in myth, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and Tim’s journey takes him through danger and wonder.
I enjoyed every moment of this tale, and could read just this section again as a standalone story. It had a bit of everything – adventure, peril, heroes, villains (and not just that certain person dressed in black), and a whole load of magic.

The Wind Through the Keyhole is a nice addition to the Dark Tower series. I hadn’t read the whole series by the time this came out, but I imagine fans would have been pleased to have more of Roland, the ka-tet, and another chance for further adventures in the weird world of the Dark Tower.


18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King

  1. Elyse LeMieux says:

    Having never read the series before, I’m not sure *when* I want to read it. I’m on (have been for years) Wizard & Glass.


  2. @lynnsbooks says:

    I remember seeing this one being released and thought fans would be ecstatic to have more from the series. It’s always good to return to a place and characters that you love.
    Lynn 😀


    • pagesandtea says:

      I think that’s why I’m enjoying my reread (which I need to get back to soon 🙂 ). Even though I can remember some of what’s coming, returning to that setting and those characters is really good.


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