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Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI

Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI

Written by Stephen King

Narrated by George Guidall


Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI

Written by Stephen King

Narrated by George Guidall

ratings:
4.5/5 (394 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Released:
Jun 8, 2004
ISBN:
9780743561709
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The next-to-last novel in Stephen King's seven-volume magnum opus, Song of Susannah is a fascinating key to the unfolding mystery of the Dark Tower.

To give birth to her "chap," demon-mother Mia has usurped the body of Susannah Dean and used the power of Black Thirteen to transport to New York City in the summer of 1999. The city is strange to Susannah...and terrifying to the "daughter of none" who shares her body and mind.

Saving the Tower depends not only on rescuing Susannah but also on securing the vacant lot Calvin Tower owns before he loses it to the Sombra Corporation. Enlisting the aid of Manni senders, the remaining ka-tet climbs to the Doorway Cave...and discovers that magic has its own mind. It falls to the boy, the billy bumbler, and the fallen priest to find Susannah-Mia, who in a struggle to cope -- with each other and with an alien environment -- "go todash" to Castle Discordia on the border of End-World. In that forsaken place, Mia reveals her origins, her purpose, and her fierce desire to mother whatever creature the two of them have carried to term.

Eddie and Roland, meanwhile, tumble into western Maine in the summer of 1977, a world that should be idyllic but isn't. For one thing, it is real, and the bullets are flying. For another, it is inhabited by the author of a novel called Salem's Lot, a writer who turns out to be as shocked by them as they are by him.

Released:
Jun 8, 2004
ISBN:
9780743561709
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Although a crime novel,LATER is squarely in the supernatural tradition for which King is best known


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Reviews

What people think about Song of Susannah

4.5
394 ratings / 67 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Well then.
    Susannah takes point in The Song of Susannah (as one would expect). Sweet Library Above. This one is also....interesting in ways I thought would be too corny but was absolutely not in it's execution. The writing in this one is absolutely excellent, and boy do I hope the conclusion is not just a dry description of Ka but action packed and FINAL in that way that truly excellent series-enders are. I won't mind if Ka is used to wrap up a few loose ends but I want the main end described in terms of characters.
    Things I don't like about this particular installment:
    OF COURSE IT IS A CLIFFHANGER AGAIN. AUGH WHY KING WHY.
    So, yeah. If you passed over the series because the first volume was dry, know that it gets better, more visceral, and meaty, and that you will not be disappointed (as of the 6th volume).
  • (5/5)
    The sixth book in the Dark Tower series is a return to form, after the letdown of Wolves of the Calla. When the ka-tet split up, a triad of adventure begins and danger escalates.
  • (3/5)
    While this is certainly not a terrible book when compared to other works, it is nonetheless one if the weakest of the Dark Tower novels for me personally. The narrative seems disjointed and the strongest aspect of the series, Mid World and its many strange coincidences, are missing for the vast majority if the story. Despite that it does at least rush us headlong into the conclusive book of the series and serves to give Roland and his companions some impetus on the final stretch to the field of roses and the Dark Tower.
  • (4/5)
    One of the more mediocre novels in the series. It's a little bland like the worst of the series. But it's still fun and reads well. All in all it ends up feeling like a suspense-building stepping-stone to the series' finale.
  • (3/5)
    A definite step up from the previous Dark Tower book. Things are coming to a head. The pot is nearing the boiling point and we are left with another cliff-hanger ending. I will be picking up the last book right away to see how this all unfolds.
  • (5/5)
    really good
  • (2/5)
    I am probably a minority here when I say that I don't care for this series. I tried it once before and thought I would give it another go; still nothing. Stephen Kings's stand alone books are outstanding but I just can't get into these. The scariest part of the book? King's journal entry reference to his dream regarding the date 6/19/1999. That gave me more chills than anything in the entire book.
  • (2/5)
    The recording is screwed up and the Coda played before the last chapter! I didn't notice right away because the book changes perspective often, but when I finally realized it was an error, it completely ruined the flow of the novel because I had to go back to the previous chapter then skip forward.
  • (4/5)
    Of the six so far this is not the best one
  • (5/5)
    Something beyond amazing to get to read King written into the story. Writerly fun and license. Loved that! Also, enjoying how novel themes pop in from other stories that were not part of the Dark Tower series, but now are.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent way to end the book - definitely a huge wth!!
  • (4/5)
    One thing that is good and bad about this series is that each book is completely different. Much of the time I'm thinking, "what does this have to do with the quest for the Dark Tower", but most of the time it is interesting. I enjoyed this book, but like the past few books, it's purpose is unclear. Certain events move the story along, but most of it goes in their own direction. A lot of information is given out that is most likely relevant to the main story and hopefully it will be more clear in the last book. There seems to also be a lot more connections with Stephen King's other books in this one, possibly due to the addition of an unusual character (trying to avoid any spoilers). I like this series for what it is. It's not a typical fantasy/SF book. In its wacky way, it is more realistic. You are following around these characters in multiple different scenarios (many not related to a dark tower), and the detail is so great I feel like really know them. It seems realistic because there are many things that take us off our quest in life, whether big or small diversions. Though in a book setting it is starting to drag on and I'm looking forward to the ending of this series.
  • (4/5)
    This is the sixth book in the Dark Tower series. It is a continuation of the epic tale and as the title alludes its main focus is the story of Susannah's pregnancy and the ka-tet's efforts to save her from the Crimson King's clutches. You need to have read the other books to appreciate and understand this book. I did not enjoy it as much as Wolves of the Calla but it was still a good read. The inclusion of the author in the book was interesting and quite amusing.
  • (5/5)
    I've been a King fan for such a long time. And yet for most of that time I've avoided this series. There's no good reason for this, just that I didn't think I was into sci-fi...if that's what this is, I'm into it. I will put the next book on my library queue...and wait impatiently until I can read i
  • (4/5)
    Not as powerful as the Tower books surrounding it. Usually a penultimate series entry is boosted by being so close to the end, but not so much here. The strongest sections are when Eddie and Roland meet The Writer, when Susannah finds strength in her song, and the Coda.
  • (5/5)
    And the Tower is closer...
  • (3/5)
    Someone -- I forget who, and it may be several someones, the way ideas like this get spread -- has observed that the current proliferation of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is more or less exactly contemporaneous with the entry of millions of Baby Boomers into their retirement years, their golden years, the years in which previous generations been put out to pasture to enjoy their remaining years in contemplative peace (if they're lucky) before going gently -- or not -- into that good night. The Boomers are fighting it like never before, of course. And so, taking the observation about the spate of fictional apocalypses a little further, it represents the Boomers' collective freak-out that they, too, might die someday, and this an expression of their inability to imagine the world moving on without them. Apres nous, le deluge.

    Increasingly, this is how the Dark Tower series is looking to me. For all that the first novel. The Gunslinger, was written when King was a very young man (just 19 years old), the series as a whole, and especially Song of Susannah (I haven't read the final book yet, obviously), feels like King having a vast and rather elegant freak out of his very own: not just "the" world but all the worlds are disintegrating, as they have been practically forever* but the horrible and final end is going to happen now. Unless the ka-tet -- Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy -- can reach the Dark Tower in time and do something as yet unknown there to stop it all from falling apart.

    That's all pretty standard fantasy/quest novel stuff. What makes this feel like a giant Baby Boomer freak-out to me is what King, the king of all Baby Boomer pop fictioneers**, has done in this novel in particular -- namely, writing himself and his obsessions right into the narrative. Yes, this includes the blue Dodge Caravan that famously struck and could have killed him in June of 1999, and which famously prompted him to finally finish this series lest he George R.R. Martin us and leave it unfinished forever due to his finally finding a bucket to kick as most of us suspect Martin is probably going to do with A Song of Ice and Fire. Whereas in previous Dark Tower novels King ingeniously tied a lot of his most beloved stories together and made them into satellite/spin-offs of his grand DT mythos, here he has made himself all but an early stand-in for the Tower, the Fisher King whom Eddie and Roland must seek out, query and assist in order to further their own quest. The closer they get, the better they feel. Everything seems wonderful, even the clouds are more beautiful, and they start wondering if King is really just a man at all.

    I mean, check out how they speak of him as they approach:

    "Is he immortal, do you think? Because I've seen much in my years, and heard rumors of much more, but never of a man or woman who lived forever." "I don't think he needs to be immortal. I think all he needs to do is write the right story. Because some stories do live forever."

    Excuse me while I discreetly retch just a little.***

    Anyway, Song of Susannah and all of its tying in is all kind of impressive, as technical achievements go, but it's also all a bit twee. My ribs are already bruised and sore from all of the digs they've taken in the hundreds of pages of DT I've already read. This time King's elbow drew blood. Dude, pop culture and literary references are fun to tease out and play detective over, but not when the fun of figuring them out for myself is taken away. And an overwhelmingly self-indulgent, explicit self-portrait of the author, however tongue-in-cheek, taking such prominence in a story just makes it all that much worse.

    I would really like to visit the universe next door, where King's magnum opus went through the hands of a really serious editor who was committed into making these books the real towering achievements they could have and should have been. In that universe, these stonkingly amazing characters are allowed to be themselves, to tease out or create meaning from the world(s) around them, to discover what they needed to do and the tools they need to do it organically and never once descend into that most annoying of all hack fictional tropes of wondering if they are characters in a novel. In that universe, these books vibrate in glory on their own merits entirely and become cultural touchstones on the order of, well, on the order of all of the works King so desperately wants them compared to that he all but shouts every time he ganks something from one of them "See how I referenced the Wizard of Oz here you guys, isn't that cool?" "Hey look, Magnificent Seven!" "Dudes! JFK was totally a Gunslinger. You guys, you guys, JFK."****

    As it is, I appear to be stuck in this one, where true greatness is buried in cruft. The greatness is so very great that it shines through the cruft in a lot of places, but buried it remains. I know a lot of people who love these books so much that they read them over and over and over again and find new wonders to behold every time, on the order of how I keep finding new ways to enjoy Lord of the Rings and The Anubis Gates and Middlemarch and all of the oeuvres of Philip K. Dick and Joseph Conrad and Gene Wolfe. And bully for them, I say.

    But I'm pretty sure that once I've finally finished these books, and I have but one left to go, now, I'm never going to want to revisit these universes again.

    My ribs may never fully heal.

    *But, as Susannah's latest alternate personality informs her, men had managed to shore everything up when magic left the world by building machines to do the work of magic and spells, assuming that there would always be men like themselves around to keep the machines, and thus the universe, going. Foolishly, of course; in King's as in so many universes, man is only a pale and crappy imitation of God, whose creations never last and are tainted by original sin and a lot of other craptrap. I mean claptrap. Or do I? For all that King has Roland asserting that he doesn't believe in any gods, we're still very much in King's famous medieval morality play in genre fiction's clothes, here.

    **I, at least, can think of no other novelist of his generation who has so thoroughly woven that generation's pop and high cultural tropes into his work. He is famous for larding up his work with references to Boomer-era music (in which his taste is impeccable, if he can be forgiven by Beatles haters like myself for his overwhelming adoration of their stuff), in particular (check out EssJay's fantastic Stephen King playlist over at Insatiable Booksluts and remember this is just a taste of what he's done).

    ***I must say, though, as "writer meets his characters in 'real life'" scenes go, this one isn't bad. It contains a nice excursis on how characters come to be, bubbling up from the writer's psyche as if they were real beings with pasts and identities and goals and longings and regrets, for whom the writer feels like a mere amanuensis. But this emphasized for me, of course, what a shame it is that King never felt he could trust his characters to enact his plots, even though both elements are coming from the same place. That said, though, it was more than a little amusing to see King treating himself-as-character the same way he treats all of his other characters. Tee hee.

    ****Which, I get it. JFK's assassination was a shocking and transformative event that traumatized everybody who was alive then. It was a turning point in history. It may have changed our world forever. But I'm sick to my eyeballs of being reminded of that all of the time. Sooner or later, every Boomer artist has his or her say about it to borrow its importance to make his or her art that much more important. The effect of this, though, is not to enshrine this event and its effects on American life, but to cheapen it. And, for me at least, JFK's assassination is about as cheapened as a historical event could possibly get (don't even get me started about all the conspiracy theories and whatnot about it. Enough already, people). I could very gladly live out the rest of my life without ever encountering it in novel, film or art exhibit ever again. Which is to say that I have absolutely zero plans to read King's 11/22/63. I'm pretty sure that if there is a Hell and I wind up going there, Bob Dylan will be reading aloud from its pages to me for all eternity, and hey, why allow for spoilerage?
  • (5/5)
    I couldn't get enough of this series by Stephen King. Song of Susannah is put us in New York. Our faithful Ka-tet is trying to save Susannah and protect her from the "Men in Black." Susannah has becomed trapped in Mia's body and now the fight of saving Susannah is the most important thing.

    This was one of my favorite series of Stephen King. I couldn't wait for the next book to be released. I have re-read this series at least 4 times. Each time I keep picking up on something new that I missed. Excellent series for a anyone!
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely Riveting! I am so glad I decided to reread the Dark Tower series from the beginning and I LOVE these books. Stephen King is a genius and has been through Hell and back to get these stories out to us... and for that, I am truly grateful. I'm hoping to finish the seventh book this weekend or early next week!!
  • (4/5)
    A good, quick read! The ka-tet is split in three, so three plot lines on this one! And the author himself makes an appearance! Again, I must state that I am sooooo glad I'm reading this with all volumes published! As it is, I'm jonesing to find out what happens when Jake, Callahan, and Oy bust into the Dixie Pig! Bring on #7!
  • (3/5)
    This book wasn't my favorite of the series. Nothing really happened, and it was kind of slow, and there were way too many Susannah parts and not nearly enough Roland parts.

    I think I said in my review of Wolves of the Calla that I don't like the "mysical pregnancy trope" and this is basically what this entire book is about. Also, the way "Detta" is handled makes me cringe. I'm not accusing King of racism, because I don't think he is. And I get what he's trying to do with that part, making 'Detta' something Odetta created, a completely fictional trope that everyone understands is fake, and doesn't exist. And there's a lot about Susannah that I really like. She's a strong character, smart, arguably the best gunslinger other than Roland of the little ka-tet. But...the 30's minstrel-show talk? Just don't. Please. It made me cringe every time I read it.

    I know a lot of people don't like King writing himself into the book, but I'm pretty neutral on it. I like the idea of meta in general, and that's all this was, really. I could take it or leave it, but it was at least a little amusing.

    I did really like the scene with the shoot-out at the general store, and the scene with Calvin and Aaron afterwards. I wish there was more with that group and less with Susannah and Mia, because they really don't do much for me.

    I look forward to reading the next one, though! :)
  • (4/5)
    Let's just say that this book has filled its own purpose: it explained a lot of parts of the saga that weren't quite clear, it showed how much the ka-tet has grown mature during the entire journey and gave the previous book a nice "let's go on with the story" feeling. Still, Song of Susannah's ending was so... stupid that I don't even feel like writing about the book.

    Overall, the story is pretty nice and quick to read. Mia's saga is told objectively, but in such a way that you end up sharing the same feelings with Susannah about this women desperate for a little bit of filial love. Too bad that the rest of the ka-tet was somewhat "left behind".
  • (5/5)
    Brilliant and atmospheric.
    Read it twice.
  • (3/5)
    Sweet baby Tom Cruise this book is a chore. If it wasn't for the fact that it's been ten years since I first read it, I probably would have skipped this one. This is probably the most incomplete book in the series. We're all over the damn place, and there is no discernible plot other than "Fill in as many holes as possible, and be meta as fuck!"

    With this volume, I felt as if WOLVES OF THE CALLA, SONG OF SUSANNAH, and THE DARK TOWER were conceived as one final 2,500 page book. Sure, WOLVES standsalone... kind of. In the way THE WASTE LANDS stands alone, I suppose. We have a cliffhanger in both books, is what I'm getting at. The problem with SONG is nothing truly happens. 544 pages of nothing but reasons and puzzles that will pay off in the final volume.

    It's an easy read, don't get me wrong, but it's boring. Like having your teeth pulled while you're asleep. Sure, there's a gun battle, but it's the most lackluster one of the entire series. Yeah, the ending's visuals are pretty disturbing and confusing in a JACOB'S LADDER kinda way, but that's all this book has going for it, and probably is the only reason I give this volume three stars and not something lower. I almost wish King would have released SONG and TOWER as one volume. It would have been his longest published book to date, but at least SONG wouldn't have felt so bloody disjointed.

    In summation: This is the only volume that hasn't changed in my mind from one read to the other. It's still plodding, still sleep-inducing, and lacks any real story. Still, WIZARD AND GLASS is garbage by comparison, and that one had a plot.
  • (4/5)
    To me, this is the weakest of the series. Susannah's role is certainly strange as she's now occupied by Mia, who's pregnant. Her abstract adventures really stretch the mind as there's lots of name and theme dropping that was really out there.But the other plot lines with Jake and Pere, and Roland and Eddie, are much better, especially the latter as they go searching for this Stephen King writer. His inclusion in his own story is really cool. Especially if you understand King's history....specifically the events of 1999....
  • (3/5)
    I'm going to reserve an more thorough review for the final book in the series. However, a few points specific to this volume;

    First and foremost, I did enjoy reading this book, albeit even less than book 5. As stated in my review of Wolves of the Calla, however, there is a clear break between books 1-4 and 5, 6 and (presumably) 7; the story takes a major shift from being a narrative of Roland's ka-tet's story to becoming a Metafiction. The character's self-awareness of being characters becomes a central part of this work (climaxing with King becoming a character and devoting the last chapter to his "diary"); while this shift felt artificial on first read, the end of the final book will make it clear if the shift benefited the series or if this kind of ruminations should have been left to a short story.
  • (3/5)
    It was ok. I liked it. Entirely without literary merit, it is the most ridiculous book I have ever read and I've read The Da Vinci Code. But the narrative is properly structured and the exposition is competent. That's what we look for in novels, right? Because that's what novels have and that's enough for us to say ?It was ok. I liked it.? A sad day when a series leaves you with such low expectations. I really need to go and read something that was written with a bit of passion. Something where the author isn't basically an Englishman in a wig. I'm really looking forwards to the final volume, and you can interpret that as you like.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    To be truthful, Im just hooked on the whole storyline. King could probably write a Dark Tower volume only about Oy and I would love it. So this review is more about King’s work on the series than just the Song of Susannah.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    It just keeps carrying me along....
  • (4/5)
    I liked this book best out of the last 3 books of the series.