Well, I guess it’s technically not finishing it, since there’s now an 8th book on the way, scheduled for next year. And I may well read that when it comes out–checked out of the library, of course–but the seven books I read were obviously the main story.
I appreciate the first four books a fair amount. In part, I suppose, because they were the four that still felt…_lean_. The first two because I don’t think he’d yet gotten into the habit of writing long books. The third book starts to get a little piggy, but as I was still getting immersed in what’s going on, I didn’t find it as noticeable. By the time I hit Wizard and Glass, the text is perhaps a little more Stephen King-y (which is not necessarily a negative, in my view, but it’s a marked contrast to the first two books)–though I think even Wizard and Glass may have been reined in by the fact that he was, in many ways, working in a genre that was not his own.
Wolves of the Calla was a bit of a slog. The only part I truly found compelling was the story of Father Callahan. The rest of the books…I liked them fine. I know some people were annoyed with the (non-)ending of the story, and others were annoyed with King injecting himself into the narrative (literally, rather than figuratively), but neither thing bothered me particularly.
In fact, as I write this, I’m realizing that I’m really very rarely annoyed with books or music or movies or what not any more. They are what they are, and I may like them or not, but it seems silly for me to wish such a thing to be other than it is–annoyance, I think, being a manifestation of that wish .
Anyway, as is always the case with King, it’s the characters that make the difference. If you don’t develop some affection for them, you’re not going to make it through the text, but if you can find a way to love them even a little bit, they’ll carry you through to the end. It wasn’t like Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, where, as I finished the last book, I pined to be able to read another and another and another. But I didn’t feel like my two weeks worth of reading had been ill-spent.