This book was a nominee for the Stoker Award, which qualifies it for the Second Best Challenge.
I have re-read this book several times. Every time I do, I catch something I didn’t catch previously. This is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat adventure that defies its volume (and it’s a big one, don’t doubt that!) The surreal weirdness of this story contrasts brilliantly with its gritty realism. I think this is the one where people finally figured out that Stephen King wasn’t screwing around with this series, and started actually taking it, and him as a writer, seriously.
The story is about equal parts hope and horror, and the characters are amazing. Susannah Dean is often forgotten when people think of Strong Female Characters, but she is one. It’s probably because King doesn’t have a reputation for writing the greatest women, and if you’d gotten to know Detta and Odetta from the previous novel, you would think what awful cliches they both were. But that’s because they were damaged. Susannah is tough as nails and sharp as a tack.
In a re-read at age 42, it seems to me an homage to a lot of classic sci-fi and fantasy tropes, repackaged in an original way, which is cool.
I think it’s impossible to explain why I love this book without totally ruining the plot of this and the rest of the series for you, so I’m not going to. I will say that if you like post-apocalyptic fiction, or classic horror, or epic fantasy, or Kurt Vonnegut Jr. but you’d really like his protagonists to punch the a$$hole torturing him in the face once in a while, I’m sure you’ll love it too.