Gwendy’s Final Task (2022) – Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Stephen King pairs up for a second time with Richard Chizmar to deliver the final book in the Gwendy trilogy. The book solidly ties itself into The Dark Tower universe as Gwendy now a junior senator, and about to be an astronaut because once again, the enigmatic Mr. Farris has shown up with the increasingly malignant button box.

Gwendy is much older now but finds herself forced to take on one final job for Farris, one that requires her to find a way into space (believably set up through the course of the book) to get the button box off the planet and away from those who would use it to not only destroy the world but perhaps the Tower as well.

I’d grown to really care for Gwendy through the first two tales so was more than ready to join her for one final adventure and wondered how it would all tie in with Farris’ story of how Gwendy would pass away.

And honestly, I loved the fact that the book tied itself so securely to the Dark Tower stories, not to mention checking back in with Castle Rock, and hearing some horrifying things about a familiar clown in the nearby town of Derry.

The tale slides back and forth through time from her mission in space to the events leading up to it, the revelations she’d made to friends about the box to prove that she’s not crazy.

But there’s something else going on, the box has taken its toll on Gwendy over the years and she’s suffering the onset of early Alzheimers. King and Chizmar do a great job of conveying this disorientation throughout the book. Gwendy will recall a person’s name or some event, and then a few short paragraphs later she won’t be able to remember something. It’s done so well that it just gives a bit of heartbreak every time it happens. We’ve grown to love this character and to know she’s suffering like this is heartrending.

As she travels into space as part of the mission, one that includes some science aspects, but also as a bit of a test flight for future tourism, there is still threat and meance to be found, and those who would control the box and destroy the Tower aren’t going to let her get away quite so easily.

The trilogy as a whole is so enjoyable. Over the course of the books, we’ve watched this character grow up, literally. We met her as a child and leave her at the end of her time, we’ve shared her joy, her pain, her wonders, discoveries, and the magic of life and the Tower.

For King fans who love to see his worlds tied together, this feels like an essential read, and it’s wonderful to catch all the little tie-ins and while you don’t have to have read all of the other King novels to enjoy this story, it certainly adds a wonderful sense of depth to it.

Loved this series!

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