Let me first say that if you haven't read any of the Dark Tower series... well, I can only hope you decide to dive in soon. That said, you could probably read The Wind Through the Keyhole you've yet to read the seven core titles but note there will be a few spoilers (the biggest one sadly had slipped my mind entirely! My husband had read them more recently and I had to ask him to refresh my memory.).
If you're a fan, though, then you're sure to enjoy this brief and welcome return visit with Roland and his ka-tet. It should be understood, though, that this book doesn't move the Dark Tower story forward at all. It's simply a return trip in which Roland shares two stories of his youth.
After the events of Wizard and Glass and while traveling to what will come in Wolves of the Calla, Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy find themselves waylaid by a starkblast -- a massive and dangerous storm front. They take refuge in an abandoned city hall to wait out the storm. Here, Roland entertains the group with two stories - one true and one that his mother shared with him as a child. The first is the story of Roland's first assignment as a gunslinger. A skin changer has been terrorizing the town of Debaria and Roland is sent to handle the matter. The other story is a tale called "The Wind Through the Keyhole." In this story, a young boy goes on a quest to find a cure for his mother and experiences wonderful and terrible things (much like The Talisman).
I adored this book. While it is just a taste of the Dark Tower and it definitely did leave me longing for me, it was, as I said above, a very welcome return to the world and the characters of the series.
The created world here is one that I could return to again and again and again. I do hope that we'll get more in the future, though the series is very clearly wrapped up in the seven DT installments. I just love it, though. All of the parallels and the unique differences between our world and Roland's and the possibilities of the different worlds along the beam.
Roland's story again combines the unique western, fantasy, and horror aspects that I love about this series, while "The Wind Through the Keyhole" is very much a fairy tale. And wouldn't that be fabulous? A book of unique fairy tales from Stephen King?! That would be amazing. Ah well. We get what we get.
I'm a bit of a Stephen King addict and The Wind Through the Keyhole definitely made my favorites list of 2012. In fact, it was one of the last books I read of the year. I can see it's going to be time for a Dark Tower reread on my part very, very soon thanks to Wind. I've already tortured myself with the excerpt of Dr. Sleep that was included as part of the estory In the Tall Grass and that one's not due out until September (although Joe Hill's NOS4A2 will be coming out much sooner and I've downloaded his short Thumbprint just recently as well).
Do yourself a favor, readers. Give the Dark Tower series a chance if you've not as of yet. In fact, start with The Talisman and let yourself get roped into the series that way! It's a fabulous dark fantasy tale that links to the Dark Tower and hooked me when I was in college. From there you dive into The Gunslinger, very weird western and the shortest of the series. Then move ahead into The Drawing of the Three and The Wastelands (my FAVORITE of the series). If you're not hooked by then, there may not be any hope for you.