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Thread: King's worst novel?

  1. #1326
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    Sleeping Beauties is one of the few times I had to actively force myself to push through with no reward. Even Lisey's Story had moments that made it worthwhile.

    The Bill Hodges trilogy didn't do much for me overall but End of Watch specifically was where King dropped the ball by inserting sci-fi elements into what was straightforward crime fiction for the first two books.

    Dark Tower VII worked for the most part but the areas that didn't were awful and really diminished my overall enjoyment of the series. It's still the benchmark for worst ways to wrap up a series for me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Sleeping Beauties is one of the few times I had to actively force myself to push through with no reward. Even Lisey's Story had moments that made it worthwhile.

    The Bill Hodges trilogy didn't do much for me overall but End of Watch specifically was where King dropped the ball by inserting sci-fi elements into what was straightforward crime fiction for the first two books.

    Dark Tower VII worked for the most part but the areas that didn't were awful and really diminished my overall enjoyment of the series. It's still the benchmark for worst ways to wrap up a series for me.
    For some reason I was able to look past Sleeping Beauties obvious flaws and enjoy it for the parable it was--even though at times it was ludicrous in its self-flagellating man-hating.

    Agree completely on End of Watch. Also I wasn't really wild about Finders Keepers either. I loved Mr. Mercedes though.

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    I’m also delighted at the variety of views here. Good to see.

    I didn’t so much think End of Watch was a bad book, I was just disappointed that supernatural elements had been introduced in the third volume when they were absent in the first two.

    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    King always said he planned to clean them all up... I wonder if that will ever happen?
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  6. #1331
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    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    King always said he planned to clean them all up... I wonder if that will ever happen?
    Yes--with the release of the Suntup Dark Tower set including an edition of Little Sisters of Eluria and Wind Through The Keyhole!

  7. #1332
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    King always said he planned to clean them all up... I wonder if that will ever happen?
    Yes--with the release of the Suntup Dark Tower set including an edition of Little Sisters of Eluria and Wind Through The Keyhole!
    ? huh. I am being serious dude. This is something he has stated in the past...
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  8. #1333
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    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    King always said he planned to clean them all up... I wonder if that will ever happen?
    Yes--with the release of the Suntup Dark Tower set including an edition of Little Sisters of Eluria and Wind Through The Keyhole!
    ? huh. I am being serious dude. This is something he has stated in the past...
    Oh I’m not doubting King said that. I’m just trying to make a wish here for how I’d love it to happen!


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  9. #1334
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by webstar1000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    King always said he planned to clean them all up... I wonder if that will ever happen?
    Yes--with the release of the Suntup Dark Tower set including an edition of Little Sisters of Eluria and Wind Through The Keyhole!
    ? huh. I am being serious dude. This is something he has stated in the past...
    Oh I’m not doubting King said that. I’m just trying to make a wish here for how I’d love it to happen!


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    I wouldn't. There is a beauty to the Grant ones and I would not want them re-done. There are countless other ones I would choose for Suntup but these books? nope.
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  10. #1335
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    I have mixed feelings about the idea of them being cleaned up at this stage. I’m happy to accept them for what they are, flawed as they might be. I wasn’t particularly happy by the revised gunslinger – I think it actually created more problems than it solved in terms of consistency of the lore. Prose-wise I prefer the original as well. So, I wouldn’t want the same treatment done to the whole series.

    To address the main problems I have with the final three Books, They would have to almost become different books. I’d discard a lot of the new elements, and strip the story down to a simpler one of low men scouring universes for Breakers, with the Crimson Kong’s only purpose being to watch the tower fall and the worlds burn. I’d remove a lot of the new creatures – including the vampires - from the mix. I’d remove most of the new words and Calla speak, just keeping a few exotic terms for flavour. And I’d try to have the new elements – Susannahs child, for example – contribute more to the final confrontation of the story.

    If king revised the series though, I don’t think he’d be interested in making these sorts of changes. And nor should he, if that’s not the story he wants to tell. But personally, I don’t think the revisions he would want to make would necessarily be an improvement, in my view.
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    Yup, those new words and Calla speak irritated the heck out of me. I never liked most of King's made up words, they never seem right to me.
    And every time Susannah said "chap" I ground my teeth together.
    Too much repetition and saying the same thing over and over and redundancy and repeating and etc. and so on.
    I'm sure if there is intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe, they are wise enough to stay away from us.

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  12. #1337
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback Jack View Post
    I must say, that I was also quite disappointed with the last three Dark tower books. I wouldn’t say they were his worst books, by any means, but up until that point, King had kept his world building pretty much under control, and didn’t have too many elements in the mix. By the final three novels, he seem to be throwing in characters and elements from his other novels, without much concern about whether they fit into the overall universe he had built so far. There were lots of cool ideas, But no overall consistent framework to hang them on that made sense. So it was very unclear what the rules of his world were, so that the ka-tet could fight and win within those rules.
    Yeah that nails it. It was clear by the last book that he was just making stuff up by the seat of his pants and never had any sort of large plan.

    Even with Robin Furth helping him he was having a hard time keeping track of his own mythology. In DT IV Roland had no idea who the Crimson King was. By DT VII he's reciting myths about the CK told to him during his childhood. And so on.
    Don't forget King actually writing himself into the story. That was stepping waaaaay too far out on an already flimsy limb and jumping up and down like a jackass, in my opinion.
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  13. #1338
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Sleeping Beauties is one of the few times I had to actively force myself to push through with no reward.

    The Bill Hodges trilogy didn't do much for me overall but End of Watch specifically was where King dropped the ball by inserting sci-fi elements into what was straightforward crime fiction for the first two books.
    I agree with both of these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Also I wasn't really wild about Finders Keepers either. I loved Mr. Mercedes though.
    Same! Mr. Mercedes is one of my favorite King books, recent or otherwise. It was a real surprise.

    Quote Originally Posted by firemonkey66 View Post
    Don't forget King actually writing himself into the story. That was stepping waaaaay too far out on an already flimsy limb and jumping up and down like a jackass, in my opinion.
    Yeah, that was a little too meta for me.
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  14. #1339
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    For years (I mean yearrrrrrrs), I always thought Tommyknockers was one of the worst. But I was on a flight to Cape Town and I started reading it. REALLY enjoyed it more than I anticipated. It has that 80's King voice. The story was a bit clunky, but overall I enjoyed it.

    I hated Revival the most. I've never thrown a King book in the trash but for that one.

  15. #1340
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolan View Post
    I hated Revival the most. I've never thrown a King book in the trash but for that one.
    Revival is one of my least favorites as well, although I can't really put my finger on why. Part of it, I know, is the storytelling method—

    Spoiler:
    jumping from one point in a character's life to another years later is a technique I've never enjoyed


    —and part of it very well could have been my attitude when reading it. I've promised myself several times that I'll go back and try it again one of these days to see if I respond any differently.

    Roadwork is one of the others I don't particularly like. I recently re-read that one, and it was even less interesting than I remembered. Too much boring build-up and not enough climax for me.

  16. #1341
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolan View Post
    For years (I mean yearrrrrrrs), I always thought Tommyknockers was one of the worst. But I was on a flight to Cape Town and I started reading it. REALLY enjoyed it more than I anticipated. It has that 80's King voice. The story was a bit clunky, but overall I enjoyed it.

    I hated Revival the most. I've never thrown a King book in the trash but for that one.
    You and I are kindred spirits. I feel exactly the same way about both books. But unlike you I didn’t throw my copy of Revival in the trash. I kept it. And then I bought a fancy edition of it from LetterPress.


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  17. #1342
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    I tried reading Revival and the first time I stopped after about a hundred pages, hated it. I read and finished it last year. Loved it.
    So now I am retrying Lisey’s Story for the third time hoping I enjoy it if I go the whole way thru.
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  18. #1343
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberGhostface View Post
    Dark Tower VII worked for the most part but the areas that didn't were awful and really diminished my overall enjoyment of the series. It's still the benchmark for worst ways to wrap up a series for me.
    “Benchmark for worst ways to wrap up a series“ - I’ll have to remember that phrase (well said). I’ve described the DT series as a cross between the best thing and the worst thing I’ve ever read.
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  19. #1344
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    King (and probably most artists, in every medium) apparently attracts people with varying tastes; “one man’s trash” etc.

    It makes it impossible for me to guess whether I should read something like Sleeping Beauties; many dislike it, but if I had heeded the crowd’s advice, I might’ve skipped Lisey’s Story, which I really like. (The truth is, if I live long enough, I’ll eventually read everything of King’s, it’s just a question of when).

    I don’t want to try to change anyone’s mind or taste on anything, but I would say that I read Roadwork less as an action thing and more as an account of an individual’s gradual deterioration (especially his marriage), and I found it fascinating.
    In the dreams he will have in later years, he is always leaving Derry alone, at sunset. The town is deserted; everyone has left...

  20. #1345
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    Quote Originally Posted by St. Troy View Post
    King (and probably most artists, in every medium) apparently attracts people with varying tastes; “one man’s trash” etc.

    It makes it impossible for me to guess whether I should read something like Sleeping Beauties; many dislike it, but if I had heeded the crowd’s advice, I might’ve skipped Lisey’s Story, which I really like. (The truth is, if I live long enough, I’ll eventually read everything of King’s, it’s just a question of when).

    I don’t want to try to change anyone’s mind or taste on anything, but I would say that I read Roadwork less as an action thing and more as an account of an individual’s gradual deterioration (especially his marriage), and I found it fascinating.
    Very true. Reading is a personal endeavor. And like all chemistry between two people, it can vary wildly between author and any given reader. Factor in the headspace the reader is in at the time of reading any particular book and the long catalog of King reads and there are infinite combinations of possibilities for what's his worst read. Translation: we're all wrong. We're all right. And we can be both at the same time.

    The love that Brian James Freeman gave to Revival makes me want to try it again.

    And I read Sleeping Beauties (with my expectations set very low) and I totally enjoyed it. Yes, the self-flagellation and male bashing was ridiculous. Really, really over the top. But the story was good. And you can't argue that men have pretty much cornered the market on violence. I wouldn't blame women for wanting to be done with us. But to say ALL men are vile? Nope.

    Anway, Rose Madder sucked.

  21. #1346
    Gunslinger Apprentice daniel_pyle will become famous soon enough daniel_pyle will become famous soon enough daniel_pyle's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Rose Madder sucked.
    That's another one I want to retry at some point. I haven't read it since it first came out, and I was only 13 at the time. I don't remember disliking it, but it is one of the books I remember the least about, and I'm sure I'd have a very different take on it as an adult. Same with Gerald's Game, actually. I would have been a little older when I read that one, but not much. Maybe 15?

    Although I doubt anything will compare to how differently I felt about Pet Sematary as an adult. I loved it both times, but reading that one as a father vs. reading it as a kid…whole different ballgame.

    But yeah, I agree that a lot of it is a compatibility thing. I know a lot of people didn't care for Dreamcatcher, but I thoroughly enjoyed that one.

  22. #1347
    Demon of the Prim jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of jeffingoff has much to be proud of

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_pyle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Rose Madder sucked.
    That's another one I want to retry at some point. I haven't read it since it first came out, and I was only 13 at the time. I don't remember disliking it, but it is one of the books I remember the least about, and I'm sure I'd have a very different take on it as an adult. Same with Gerald's Game, actually. I would have been a little older when I read that one, but not much. Maybe 15?

    Although I doubt anything will compare to how differently I felt about Pet Sematary as an adult. I loved it both times, but reading that one as a father vs. reading it as a kid…whole different ballgame.

    But yeah, I agree that a lot of it is a compatibility thing. I know a lot of people didn't care for Dreamcatcher, but I thoroughly enjoyed that one.
    Ha, I can go on forever with this. I remember very little about Dreamcatcher other than the hunting trip, the shit-weasels, the character with down's syndrome, and that I liked the book. OK I guess I remember a bit.

    I loved Gerald's Game both times I read it. And the movie was good too!

    I read The Stand as a punk ass teen and then as an adult and holy shit passages in the book killed me in new and terrible ways as a father.

  23. #1348
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    Gerald’s Game movie was better than the book. Rare
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  24. #1349
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    Just discovered this thread, very interesting, hope I can find the time to read it all. Here is my list:

    1) Lisey's Story -- worst book I have ever read (so bad, that if I had the choice of reading just this book, or every other book on this list, I would read all the others).
    2) Dolores Claiborne -- was just a stream of consciousness
    3) Rose Madder
    4) Gerald's Game (actually after watching the movie, may have to reconsider this one)
    5) Rage
    6) Black House -- Sad considering The Talisman is one of my favorites.

    Dishonorable Mentions:

    Sleeping Beauties, Dreamcatcher, From a Buick 8
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  25. #1350
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    I've tried to read The Talisman twice and just can't get into it. My next King read will be Black House. I've heard it's very different from The Talisman so maybe I'll enjoy it, or hopefully at least be able to get thru it.
    Only the gentle are ever really strong.

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