Reviewed by: Kimberly (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Sun, 13 Aug 2006 01:59:56)
A Treasure for This Constant Reader
There were some negative comments about Black House, but I just wanted to say that it was and is one my favorite Stephen King books that Ive read. The characters had a real way of delving further and further into my imaginative mind. I sincerely cried when Jack found his best friend dead, and the end was very satisfying. I loved the style of writing King used in this one and man am I going to stear clear of nursing homes from now on. That was genuinely creepy. This book is definitely one of the best in this girls honest opinion.
Reviewed by: Peter T (email@example.com) (Thu, 15 Sep 2005 00:38:48)
Great addition to the DT series. Took the story in another direction. Showed promise for the final instalment in the saga.
Reviewed by: Kyle (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Sun, 25 Apr 2004 10:48:03)
Showing the scope of The Dark Tower
Black House is a great read (like most of King's work), but becomes fantastic when it turns to the Tower. When people rate this book negatively they seem to forget the open-ended structure of the Tower. Many stories can and do happen that are as important as Roland's own quest. Plus it's about the Crimson King, pick it up. Long Live Beezer!
Reviewed by: Matt (email@example.com) (Thu, 11 Mar 2004 00:09:42)
Much to slow for a new reader
Having read almost all of SK's prior books, I would say have to say that this is a rather bland novel, not to mention sequel. I think that for a first time SK reader, this may be cause to turn some away. That said, long time readers or followers of the DT series shouldn't have much trouble wading through the thick first three quarters of the book to get to the intresting and relevent parts. Although there is small tidbits throughout the entirety, I find it to be a let down that most of the action is in the last one hundred and fifty pages. That aside, the book is a must read for any loyal SK/DT fan.
Reviewed by: Letter Stuffer (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Wed, 26 Nov 2003 18:40:51)
Hope that other author doesn't "help" again
I got suckered into this book because I was told on the stephen king website that this was the closest thing to a dark tower book at the time. There were irrelevant referrences to Roland and other gunslingers in the book but not enough to merit putting up with peter straub's horrible writing. I'm a dark tower junkie. Just because the author of the dark tower books co-author's another book does not mean that it will be good. I am really looking forward to Wolves of Calla. Trust me you don't need to waste your time with this one.
Reviewed by: Toni Reynolds (email@example.com) (Thu, 23 Oct 2003 18:48:59)
Unfortunately, Its a Segway
The "current" storyline in this 'Book' is important to the story. The History (which is 99%) of this 'Book' is irrelevant and boring, at best.
Reviewed by: Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Wed, 01 Oct 2003 12:47:31)
Let's give SK some credit!
Well first off, I'd like to point something out in regard to The Talisman and Black House: TT was written before Roland's world developed into a full world. In other words, King wrote The Talisman as a story about another world - not a story that was about Roland's world. What I think happened, and this is something I love about SK, is that as the story/stories developed, he realized that he was really writing about the same thing after all, and decided to make that explicit in BH. The upshot to this? Yes, there are inconsistencies and weak areas in The Talisman. It's not because he overlooked things or forgot what he was writing about! I've noticed in many of the DT-related book reciews, people are picking that out and lowering their ratings because they think King just hasn't bothered to write coherently.
Phew - ok, now that I said that, on to the specifics. Black House, to me, seemed to be two separate entities stuck together. There's the first (roughly) 1/2 of the book, which is about the atmosphere of Tamarack and surrounding towns. Kinda slow IMO, I had to push myself through it. But....
Reading the slow first half is SO worth it, though, so you can get to the amazing second half, where things start happening. I won't reveal the actual events, but suffice it to say that if you're reading this as a DT fix, you could theoretically start reading at around page 220 (in my First Trade Ed.) and not miss much of anything.
That said, though, I don't reccommend that strategy. When everything happens at once, you find yourself going, "Oh, so that's why he had to mention the existence of a bush back on page 12" (I made that example up, but you get the idea). I've re-read the book numerous times, and I still think it's one of King's most chilling, expecially some of the deaths and near-deaths in the story.
I highly reccommend this book. Take my word for it, as they'd say on Reading Rainbow - wade through pages 100-220, no matter how boring you think it is, because you'll be blown out of your seat when you find out what's going on in French Landing!
Reviewed by: PARADoxymoronOX (PARADoxymoronOX@aol.com) (Fri, 29 Aug 2003 16:28:48)
For all of those who would give this book a negative review, shame on you. You didn't deserve to read it. Obviously you don't understand either The Talisman, or The Dark Tower. If you failed to see the various and hidden connections between The Talisman and The Dark Tower, then the more blatant ones shown in Black House,(which is an excellent read by the way!) would turn you off or make absolutely no sense to you. You see how I've rated this book, so all I have left to say is that if you didn't like it, don't bother to read any of King's other masterpieces. Because they're all headed this way. Also, the Tower is closer!
Reviewed by: Raymond (email@example.com) (Tue, 08 Jul 2003 00:35:50)
The Talisman is one of my favorite books of all time. It had wonderful characters, a great adventure plot, and unforgettable scenes. So I was very anxious to read Black House. And after reading it I was very dissappointed.
Black House had none of the magic that The Talisman had. I felt that Jack was not the same Jack at all. In fact, none of the characters, except Henry Leyden, had any real depth at all. I didn't dig the narrating style either. I mean, kudos for trying something new, but it just didnt work out well. What made The Talisman so memorable was the setting of the Territories. In Black House, the "other worlds" are hardly ventured into, but I will say the book does get interesting when those other worlds are visited.
One more thing that bugged was how Jack's world got mixed in with the Roland's world. Don't get me wrong, Black House really explained a whole butt load of what's going on with the Dark Tower, but its almost as if King just decided to splice the two stories together. Poor Peter Straub, its pretty clear that Stephen took the reigns and just went for it in this book. Anyways, back to the splicing. So what is Parkus then? Is he a gunslinger since he carries the "old irons?" Or is he a gunslinger "lite"? And how does the territories fit in Rolands world? Is it part of Roland's world, like down the road from Gilead, hang a left at Lud? Personally, I think putting together the two stories, while cool for DT fans, was just plain sloppy.
I love Stephen King and I love almost all DT related stories, but I just can't get behind Black House. I suggest you treat Black House as if it weren't a real sequel to The Talisman because both stories are light years apart. Oh, and read The Talisman, as it is an excellent story.
Reviewed by: Matt (Saintgoose@hotmail.com) (Wed, 06 Nov 2002 07:43:38)
Nearly everything else about this wonderful book has already been said, so I will keep this brief, but could not stand a list of reviews that does not mention (what I belive to be) one of the greatest characters in modern Literature. Henry Leyden is just marvelous! And the only real complaint I have with this book is that he dies, and a rather gruesome death it was.
I do have hope though. This is Stephen King's world(s) we're talking about, and anything is possible. Jake was right there are "other worlds than these" and I can continue to hope that Henry will apear in one of these.
Reviewed by: Amanda (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Tue, 9 Jul 2002 10:10:07)
I picked up this book with high expectations. It wasn't too long after I'd finished The Talisman, which I thought was one of the best books I'd ever read. I had also heard that this book was closely tied in with the Dark Tower, and anything to do with the Dark Tower gets me excited. But even reading the sleeve of the book I could tell this would be disappointing. Jack didn't remember anything from The Talisman? What? Well, I started to read it. Most of the book is set in our world. There isn't a whole lot of magic or adventure involved for most of the book, and Jack isn't near as likable as he use to be. In fact, he's almost a jerk. There is one great character that almost makes up for Jack but he gets killed off. Marvelous.
There is one part where all this information about the Dark Tower is revealed - it's great. (If you're a Dark Tower fan I recommend reading this book just for the stuff you'll find out). But then the whole plot just melts into this confusing mess. Some parts just gave me a headache.
All in all it's an alright read. It's worth reading for the Dark Tower stuff, and to get some closure on what happened to the characters in The Talisman.
Reviewed by: Dr Sayos (email@example.com) (Fri, 29 Mar 2002 02:04:12)
It was definately a great read. I recommend it to anyone is looking for a book to read. After I read it I couldn't read anything else for weeks because I had just read The Talisman and it felt like Jack Sawyer was a real person who I missed. The last month had been filled with nothing but him. I looked forward to coming home everyday and reading it. Stephen king and Peter Straub work great together and I hope they do more books together. It's not as good as the original The Talisman but it is a great read and it's the reason while I got into the Dark Tower. I have taken up enough of your time so I hope you take up my advice and read it.
Reviewed by: - G - (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Wed, 27 Mar 2002 22:05:14)
Conspiracy Theory or Pertinent Application?
Black House, I found to be thoroughly entertaining, but totally predictable. Kinda like you knew what was going to happen before it actually did, just not exactly how. Kinda of a drag, but oh, well. For this I down rate the novel a little. I love the characters, as I always had thought that Stephen is phenomonal at making you see and feel the heart of each character he creates. This book was a fantastic pacifier for someone needing a DT fix, bad. It even did it's job in convincing me to by a copy of The Talisman. (Is there some kind of commercial conspiracy here, with all his old works being tied into his new work, in order for a surge in King profits?) I hope that this shallow selfishness is not the case, but rather that he really feels it to be pertinent. This book all in all, is alot of fun to read with alot of action, high energy, and darkly wicked. It is also really informative on the world of Roland and the Dark Tower. A definite must read.
Reviewed by: Lindsay (email@example.com) (Fri, 22 Mar 2002 16:00:08)
I've never been so excited about a book
Black House is one of my favourite books I've ever read. I got it for my birthday when I turned twelve, and I read it within the month. It was so awesome that it was a mix between my two favourite books (actually, book and series). I was about to cry when I though Jack was going to die from the gunshot wound. (Actually, I did cry). I didn't like when Henry died, because it made Jack sad.
I liked how there was a lot of Dark Tower mixed with The Talisman. It gave me a little of both things I missed. Black House really perplexed me, too (pardon me if I used that word incorrectly). When I tried to take a test for Black House before I read it, it really confused me. "Robins eggs and red feathers" really got on my nerves, becuase I had not idea what it meant.
I got the same feeling when Jack could live as when Jake came back in the DT series; I was REALLY happy, and I couldn't wait to finish reading the book. I can't even explain what was going on inside my head then. (I really don't think I can!)
I still have Black House in my room, in "tight security", because my parents might take it and I'd never see it again (major bummer!)
Somehow I think I missed some things in the DT series, tho. There're a bunch of gaps in the story for me. Do paperbacks cut out some things from the hardcovers? It seems like it, or I just couldn't see what was right in front of me.
I was really creeped out that the Crimson King was in both books. I don't know who he is as it is, and it just gets more confusing by the day. Am I missing some crucial information from the books??
Well, since I'm getting a bit off track here, I think I'm done. I'll come back when I learn how to stay on a single topic at a time.
Reviewed by: Bill Culver (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:59:58)
I found this book very interesting and I found it even harder to put down, not your run of the mill continuation of a story. I thought that I could have almost not read the Talisman and still very much enjoyed the story itself.
To say I was overjoyed to see so much reference to The Dark Tower would be an understatement. From the way Jack see's things to the way he uses his gun, makes it easy to think of him as a gunslinger. (Perhaps to become one we'll see?)
As for King using so much reference in his books to the series, I would tend to beleive it like this. If you create a reality of universes upon universes would they not come in contact with one another? These are his freinds and enemys and its hard to let go. How many of us have closed that book to find a little sadness that we will never meet these people again?
Im Rolling Thunder
Reviewed by: Mike Dines (email@example.com) (Mon, 4 Feb 2002 14:18:15)
Genius at Work
Black House found me at a time where I had read every other Stephen King novel and needed something, anything, to put me at ease. I have been an avid Stephen King fan for most of my life. I started reading his books in the fifth grade and had re-read most of them by the time I was 18. I am now a freshmen in college and I can honestly say that Black House is one of the best novels I have read by King. I know that Peter Straub co-wrote it, but like the review above said... this is just Dark Tower 4.5. It is great. Seeing all of these subplots being tied together, seeing old charaters come into a new light, being so close to Roland's world... it makes the book very entertaining, but behind it all, Black House is a great novel in itself. King is a genius to tie all of his stories together. It makes the reader buy all of his books and drags new readers kicking and screaming into his world. It just does not get any better. Black House is like a nice solid hit of cocaine... the black tar heroine is about to be injected next. Bring on Dark Tower V!
Reviewed by: Dale Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Wed, 17 Oct 2001 09:57:20)
Game Of Two Halves
A sequel to The Talisman was rather unexpected to me - the book was not well received by critics and many famous authors spoke of how they simply couldn't involve themselves with the book. So now a sequel appears -- and it's totally different. For a start it's in present tense and it's basically Dark Tower 4.5.
I love the series, but am getting dubious about King linking it to all works - The Stand, for example would have been better off left alone while Hearts In Atlantis became even better because of DT involvement. But Black House is sort of in between worlds...it works, but just. It gets frustating when Roland is so close but doesn't appear (HIA, Insomnia). Unless Jack Sawyer has a huge role in the remainnig books there was no pointin making Black House a DT novel -- and there was hardly any of The Talisman in it either. That said, Mr. Munshun was great and it does fix the DT junkie in me. For a bit. But nothing compares to Wizard And Glass.