If you have ever been interested in reading any kind of horror stories, books or even watching a scary movie, you most likely have heard of The King Of Horror, Mr. Stephen King. And if you haven’t, well then you’re in the right place, because your love and almost weird fascination with the spooky Mr. King can start right here…
The Beginnings of Stephen King
As you might be aware, Stephen King has been around for ages. One of his first books, and notably one of his most famous works published in 1974 is Carrie (a novel that was almost never published if you can believe it!). Since then, King has churned out some of the spookiest and best modern horror novels of all time; which most of the time put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This relatability in his characters makes reading that much more thrilling.
Many of his best and most memorable books have followed since Carrie; ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand and countless other classics followed.
For avid readers who are just diving into the wide world of Stephen King, the question most frequently asked is where to begin? Many want to jump into his “best” story. But this begs the question: which one is the Stephen King’s best book out of his 63 novels (and counting) published?
What is considered Stephen King’s best book?
You could probably debate opinions here for hours on end, but for me personally, the best book by Stephen King has to be The Dark Tower. Granted, I have to say that it is a series of books. It is actually 7 books total! Added to this is a shorter novel woven into the same universe, The Wind Through the Keyhole, which takes place between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla.
The Dark Tower – Why is it so important & Which other Stephen King novels are connected to it?
The Dark Tower series is widely considered by his fans and by the man himself as his magnum opus. It is one of his most important works which references and encompasses several locations, stories, characters, etc. from his other, more popular novels and short stories. The reason that he was able to incorporate so many of his most known novels into the Dark Tower universe is because it took him 22 years to finish the whole series! A major part of his life was spent on The Dark Tower series, so you can imagine why he considers it his most important body of work.
As a quick reference for those unfamiliar with the series, here is a complete list of Stephen King books connected to but not a part of The Dark Tower series:
- Rose Red
- Storm of the Century
- Pet Sematary
- Hearts in Atlantis
- Kingdom Hospital
- The Shining
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
- The Dead Zone
If you are interested in learning more about the deep web of connections in The Dark Tower universe, you can go down the rabbit hole and explore the connections of The Dark Tower.
What order should I read the Dark Tower series?
If your interest is piqued, take a look at my quick guide below to each of the Dark Tower novels.
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Thus begins the first book of the series, and introduces us to Roland Deschain, the main protagonist of the story. He is following the Man In Black – also known as Walter, Randall Flagg or The Dark Man and many others. Anyone who’s read The Stand will know this villain quite well. Throughout the course of the story he encounters Jake Chambers, a small boy who died in another parallel universe and who will become his most trusted ally. Roland learns of his destiny, and the duo embarks on some incredible adventures throughout the desolate world of The Dark Tower.
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
The second volume begins by the sea on a beach. Our hero is attacked by carnivorous “lobstrities” which maim his hand. On his walk through the deserted beach, he encounters three doors. These doors open to the city of New York in different timelines. From each of the doors, Roland has to draw his future companions from the various timelines of New York.
He draws Eddie Dean, a junkie from 1987, trapped in a bad spot between life and death. From 1964, he draws Odetta Susannah Holmes, a woman who lost her lower legs in a subway accident, which we soon learn was not an accident at all. Finally he enters the sadistic mind of Jack Mort and saves the other timelines’ Jake Chambers from being hit by a car.
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
This entry in the story begins some time after the end of The Drawing of the Three. Roland, Susannah, and Eddie have moved from the beach of the Western Sea and into the wood of the Out-World. After an encounter with a giant cyborg bear, they discover one of the six mystical beams that hold Roland’s world together. Roland struggles with his dividing mind, which believes that some things have already happened and some have not happened at all. Yet all of this ka-tet (a group of people bound by destiny) is here and are ready to follow him into action.
The trio then follows the path of mystical beam into the city of Lud where one of the ka-tet member’s is kidnapped by – possibly – the Dark Man who is masquerading as the Tick-Tock man.
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
Wizard and Glass contains a solid amount of background information on our characters, particularly Roland. We delve into his youth, in the rural barony of Mejis where his original ka-tet faces their real first mission and have to defeat Cort in order to become real gunslingers.
We also explore the crazy mind of a killer monorail train (of all things) who can only be defeated with riddles. During this time the ka-tet also captures the pink orb called the Wizard’s Glass from a witch named Rhea of the Cöos , something that will be integral to Susannah’s story arc. The mysterious pink glass shows Roland the future and the possible demise of one of his ka-tet.
The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla
The ka-tet continues to head southeast through the Mid-World to find the Dark Tower. On their way, they pass through a strange town called Calla Bryn Sturgis. Fallen behind the world and forgotten, this town hides its own secrets. The lands are plagued by the Thunderclap, a darkness which commands half-men, but mostly wolves who will rip and destroy everything in their path.
The ka-tet might be ready for the creatures of the Man in Black, but relying only on their guns might not be enough.
The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
The Song of Susannah dives into the mind and the character of Susannah. She is possessed by a demon-mother who uses the power of the Black Thirteen to get away from the desolate Mid-World and to get to New York city. This demon also seeks to birth a demon child who will take over the world with her but who is the father and who is the Crimson King in all of this? Could he be the Dark Man himself?!
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower
The final book of the series, where everything comes to an end. Or does it? Rolan and his ka-tet must reach the Dark Tower which draws closer and closer. However, in order to enter it he discovers that be must abandon his friends and destroy the sacred ka-tet. Will he be able to do it for his life’s quest, and what to do about the half-human, half-monster beast which is following them very closely behind? Choices must be made!
This is simply the tip of the iceberg of this incredible series. There is so much more to discover in these these stories, and this world.
It is now your turn to jump into the world of Roland and the gunslingers and find your own path!