Song of Susannah

Song of Susannah by Stephen King

Susannah travels to New York City to have her baby, in the year 1999, with mental passengers Detta and Mia. Hoping to give chase, Roland and Eddie end up in Maine in the late 1970s where they confront notorious book collector Calvin Tower as well as a burgeoning author who knows a great deal about the Ka-Tet’s journey. But what of Father Callahan and Jake? Luckily they land in The Big Apple in 1999, but they must track down Susannah before she gives birth.

This was a weird one. Song of Susannah feels more like a bridge to the conclusion, which being the sixth book in the series and the last pit stop before the end, makes sense. It does more to set up the finale than stand on its own. You’re thrown in the deep end immediately and leave without a real conclusion. That isn’t to say it’s uneventful because you really do learn a lot, it’s just that the biggest action set pieces seem to be in the distance.

In Song of Susannah, we’re essentially following three stories simultaneously. All are interesting enough, but I missed the interactions among all the characters. That being said, this was a hard one to put down – although, that may have had more to do with how highly regarded the seventh novel is and how much I am looking forward to picking it up.

Roland and Eddie continue to gel and strengthen their bond as they face tremendous adversity. Not only do they have to secure the vacant lot owned by one Calvin Tower, but they have to come to grips with a major development when meeting a man privy to both their lives and destiny. Jake and Father Callahan, while used sparingly this time around, race against the clock to reach Susannah. Jake has a few moments – one in particular – where I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I could have used more of the pair.

But it’s Susannah that is front and center this time around. I didn’t care much for her story, which surprised me as she has been one of my favorite parts of the earlier novels. This had a lot to do with finding a few of her integral scenes hard to follow. Not only does King have three separate voices for one character, but shifted settings quite a bit, sometimes in the middle of conversations. It doesn’t lend itself well to skimming.

Having started the series in December 2010, I’m finally nearing the end. I can’t wait to pick up book seven and dig in. However, if the reviews I’ve read are any indication to what lies ahead, I’m bracing myself for all the emotions.

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