Taking place immediately after the events of Book V: Wolves of the Calla, Roland’s ka-tet is separated after passing through the Doorway Cave to try and rescue Susannah Dean, who’s demon possessor Mia has taken hold of her body in order to find a way to give birth to her baby.
Susannah-Mia is thrust into the year 1999 in New York, where Mia makes a promise to Richard Sayre to surrender her demonic offspring to the Crimson King. Susannah also learns that her offspring is the biological descendant of Roland Deschain, the gunslinger.
Elsewhere, Jake, Oy and Father Callahan are also sent to the same time, and give chase to save Susannah.
Meanwhile, we catch up with Roland and Eddie who are sent to Maine in 1977 to find Calvin Tower to firm up a deal on a vacant lot they agreed to purchase from Tower in Book V. The lot contains the rose which they believe may be the gateway to The Dark Tower itself. They also run into the fictional version of Stephen King, and learn of his connection to Roland’s tale.
Song of Susannah is fast-paced, story-driven, and does one thing well above all the other entries in the series: it makes good use of its secondary protagonists.
For a while, we’ve seen The Dark Tower as Roland’s story, with Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy acting as his companions. While we see the books unfold from different perspectives, Roland is always there, and he’s considered the driving force behind the ka-tet’s journey to the Tower. However as the title of the book suggests, this story belongs to Susannah above everyone else.
We see a conflicted Susannah wrestling for control of her mind and body from the demon Mia.
This is one of the shortest books in The Dark Tower series, and while less attention is given to Jake, Oy and Callahan, we see tremendous strides given to advancing the plot from the perspectives of Susannah-Mia, as well as Eddie and Roland.
The last few pages that dealt with introducing Roland to Stephen King were excellent as a way of bringing the real-world author into his own fictional tale. Stephen King is built out as one of the Beams and the subsequent creator of Roland’s reality, not to mention Callahan’s reality through his book, Salem’s Lot.
Song of Susannah brings us one step closer to the epic conclusion that will come to a head in the final Dark Tower novel, appropriated-titled The Dark Tower.
Song of Susannah also brings to light just how much King’s story has evolved since he began writing the epic tale in the 70s.
What started as a simple Robert Browning poem from the mid-1800s has evolved into an epic western that is bridging all genres in creative ways.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 5