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Title: The Drawing of the Three
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 400 (my copy has anyway)
Storyline and Summary
The start of the second installment of the dark tower series is shortly after the end of the Gunslinger. Roland of Gilead (our "Hero") finds himself on a beach and is very quickly put into action with fighting a strange creature which is basically a giant flesh eating lobster. The lobster gives Roland an injury or two which quickly puts him at a disadvantage for the rest of the series (not much of one tbh). Roland has to continue his relentless march to the dark tower but falls very ill (due to the injury from the "lobstrosity"). He eventually comes upon a door with the words "The Prisoner" (you will remember from the end of the Gunslinger). He opens the door and finds some magic going on in that he is behind the eyes of one Eddie Dean from New York 1987, one of the main characters of the series. Roland and Eddie collabarate and Roland brings Eddie into his world.
The two move on up the beach and discover a second door which reads "The Lady of Shadows" above it (again mentioned in the Gunslinger). The lady of shadows is Odetta Holmes, or is it Detta or is it Susanna....(lady of shadows maybe a metaphor!) I'll let you figure it out. Anyway the Lady of shadows is drawn through; Odetta Holmes is a civil rights movement member from 1964 with no legs. Odetta is the nice side of the whole personality equation. The not so nice side, Detta, is what Roland and Eddie have to deal with as they continue the journey. (I should probably mention Susannah again, Susannah is basically Odetta and Detta joined together and is a main character for the series).
The three come upon a third door labelled with "The Pusher" which reveals our main bad guy, Jack Mort, (Detta could be up there however the trouble she causes!). Roland deals with the issue of the Pusher and we find out a few important tidbits of information about Odetta Holmes and the loss of her legs during The Pusher story.
The story concludes with Odetta and Detta making peace and fusing into a new person (Susannah) hence although Jack Mort wasn't brought into Roland's world he brought Eddie and Odetta Holmes who then became the third person, Susannah. That bit of the book sort of didn't really make sense to me but I let it slide.
Important Aspects for me
The main aspect I would like to draw attention to (again and this will be a theme throughout) is Roland's determination and unrelenting desire to reach the dark tower, no matter the cost (as we read in the Gunslinger and his decision re Jake). That moral dilemma and decision will be tested later in the series I am sure.
The bringing together of the three main characters (thus far) into their ka-tet and their quest for the tower was a really important part of keeping me hooked to reading the next book. I wonder what will happen to them was the question I needed to answer!
Opinion and Conclusion
I was slightly disappointed with this follow up as I was looking forward to more of the Gunslinger and was presented with more of a New York/our world based book (rather than Roland's world). The beach was a bit boring although I did find all the characters very different and I liked how SK dealt with the personalities of Detta and Odetta (brushing over his writing in Southern Mississippi style language!).
I think the book did enough to warrant me reading the next and I am sure you will come to the same conclusion.
Stephen King - The Dark Tower Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Gunslinger and I
I have been a Stephen king fan since nineteen seventy-eight; so basically, thirty-four years. Just sitting back and thinking about that makes me think 'My God, where has all that time gone?'
I will be reviewing all of the Dark Tower series and will be using my own story as a base for each one so nothing has been plagiarised here as the only thing being copied from one review to the next are my own words.
The story of my reading of the Dark Tower books, of which there are seven in the original series, is an adventure in itself and one which I will share with you now before I move on to review the second volume.
I have read over fifty King novels and have signed books in my collection. There are many books that I love and many epic tales, such as 'The Stand' and 'It' that will forever be a testament to King's imagination and prowess as a story teller. However, for me, The Dark tower series must go down as one of the best fantasy, horror crossover tales ever told. Tolkien may have created one of the best, if not the best, imaginary world in 'Middle Earth' but believe me Stephen King's 'Mid-World' runs it a close second.
I think even Tolkien would've doffed his cap to King for the sheer scope and diversity that us readers are privileged to witness when reading these books.
I remember picking up a copy of 'The Gunslinger' (book One of The Dark Tower series) in nineteen eighty-two when I was fifteen years old. I won't go into detail about the book here but will save that for the review proper. I found it captivating and different; something new that to me at the time had not been done before.
Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and could not wait to get my hands on the second volume. I waited and I waited and I waited; several tumbleweeds did there windswept boogie past my much looked upon feet. Five years would pass and then at last in nineteen eighty-seven I heard the announcement that volume two Entitled 'The Drawing of the Three' was about to hit the shops. I pre-ordered a copy from Andromeda bookstore in Birmingham.
But wait, I thought, I must read the first volume again as a refresher. So I sat and reread volume one and finished it the night before I went to pick up my new copy of volume two (oh the joyous wonder of the world of fiction). I would not be disappointed as volume two was three times the weight in wordage as the first offering. I found it captivating and enthralling and once again I was away on another plane in the land of Mid-world. The only drawback was the damn four year wait for volume three 'The Wastelands'. Once again when the time came, I felt I needed a refresher, so I reread volume one again and then volume two.
Volume three was an even thicker tome than the other two so I would forgive King eventually; that was until the six year gap to volume four. Six years Stephen! What are you trying to do to me man, was the cry from my bedroom with a scowl at the first three volumes sat on my bookcase. So, nineteen ninety-seven and volume four 'Wizard and Glass' came out and yes, you guessed it, I reread the other three first.
Fifteen years between book one and two is a long time and to be honest it only makes the story epic, in the true sense of the word. Now, volume five would be another six years but in no way can I hold this against King as he almost lost his life and in the process would make a decision that would appease every Dark Tower fan to their hearts content. Stephen King was out walking one day when he was hit by a truck. He was hospitalised for months and he was so ill he almost lost his life. He made a decision that he would not or could not write again and his millions of fans would mourn the death of the great writer but be grateful and happy that the great man had survived.
While lying in his bed he got to thinking about Roland of Gilead (The Gunslinger) and of the torture he had put himself and the fans through by not finishing the story. It was King's own curiosity about how he would end this story and of whether Roland would find the Dark Tower or whether one of his ka-tet (group) would find it instead, raised his writing muscle from the jaws of literary death and into a new found child-like enthusiasm to finish the tale.
That was fantastic for King fans but what would be even more stupendous would be the fact that not only would he write volume five in Two Thousand and Three but he would write volumes six and the final volume seven in Two Thousand and Four. So having had four books in twenty-one years, King fans, myself included, and were now treated to three books in just over a year! Volume Five 'Wolves of the Calla' would be the first, followed by volume six 'A Song of Susannah' and finally, volume seven 'The Dark Tower'. Of course before I read volume five I reread the first four volumes, so now I had read volume one, The Gunslinger, five times.
Now my story doesn't end there. In two thousand and four I didn't read the last two volumes because of work commitments and then in two thousand and six I moved from the UK to Holland. It would be two thousand and eleven before I picked up volume six and yes I reread the whole series again; so book one for a sixth time. So volume six was great but I was forty-four last October and my eyes are deteriorating, so I started wearing reading glasses. I was given The Dark Tower volume seven, which is called The Dark Tower as a present in paperback form having left the hardback in the UK. The print was so small that I had to give up after one hundred and sixty seven pages. I know this as it irks me something rotten.
So here we are in two thousand and twelve and my new glasses are ordered and I'll receive them in two weeks. I will restart the Dark Tower volume seven and finally finish a story that has almost spanned my life time thus far. I am a lover of books but am toying with the idea of a Kindle Touch for the practicality. I will always think books are better but a standard English paper back over here is fourteen euros and a hardback anywhere between twenty-two and twenty -six euros, which is horrendous, so having a Kindle makes sense as I can get e-books for nothing and won't have to carry loads on books on holiday with me. Anyway, that's another story; let's talk about volume two 'The Drawing of the Three'.
The Drawing of the Three
The Back-story and Plot
'The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed'
The opening line to the first book in The Dark Tower series is one that has stayed with me for a long time as I constantly came back to reread the first volume over the years.
Roland of Gilead is the last of an order of gunslingers that derived from a great line of men that started with Arthur Eld. Arthur Eld is revered by gunslingers just like King Arthur in the real world. We learn a little of Roland's childhood and his coming of age as a gunslinger. The western world that Roland and is gunslinger friends live in is a lot like the western world that we know of where cowboys and Indians coexist. The difference being that Mid-world is also a magical world and a lot more advanced in technology than the great western plains that cowboy fans are familiar with. It was in fact a lot more advanced than the world that we live in today but now the world has moved on and things have been forgotten and unlearned. As mid-world is torn asunder and cities fall, Roland finds out that he has to find the Dark Tower. It is fabled to be the centre of Mid-world and control all universes. If Roland is to save Mid-world he must reach the tower at all costs. He knows not what he must do when he arrives there but feels sure in his gut that it will be revealed to him in some way when he does.
In this opening novel of the series we don't really know that much about Roland's present circumstances, such as how old he is or how long he has been pursuing the mysterious man in black. We do find out more as the novel moves forward and have more answers at the end; although there are more questions.
Roland meets a young boy by the name of 'Jake' who he is sure he knows already. They build up a good relationship and then Roland has an excruciating choice to make when he has to decide whether to keep on after the tower and sacrifice the boy or stay and save him from certain death.
Will Roland finally catch up with the man in black and just who is he and what answers does he have?
Volume two starts with Roland on a beach, almost dying of thirst and starvation. He finds sustenance by the way of giant lobster like creatures that he thinks of as 'lobstrosities'. In an encounter with one of these creatures he loses the shooting fingers of his right hand and has to resort to using his left hand to fire his guns. He is still more adept with this hand than a normal individual would be with their good hand; but he is a gunslinger after all and the last one, no less. As he makes his way along the beach he comes across a door; just a free-standing door on the beach. There is a name on the door. It says 'The Prisoner'. Roland walks behind the door and he can no longer see it; the same from the side. The door is only visible when he looks at it full on. Roland will eventually come across three doors on the beach and each one will open and allow him to see a scene from New York City and different instances of time. Each scene is seen from the point of view of another person. Roland discovers that he can step into that person and communicate with them. He soon realises that he must draw one person from each door; hence the title: The Drawing of the Three. The three people that Roland draws from the doors will form his ka-tet or group and will be pivotal in his search for the dark tower.
The second book, for me, is the one that sets this series alight and reveals a story of such scope and diversity that it has the reader craving for more. I am a big fan of time-travel books and there is an element of time-travel in this and the other dark tower books. The very fact that Roland has to draw three people from different points in time from New York City makes it so interesting and the way King manages the writing makes the people believable and seemingly from the time he states.
King has always had a way with characters and dialogue and I would go as far as saying that the Drawing of the Three introduces some of the most memorable characters in King's work up to that date and since.
I love this book and the series even more. It doesn't end with the seven books either as eight years later in two thousand and twelve, King has penned another Dark Tower book called 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', which is a story that slots in between volume four and five. King has also been rumoured as saying that the seven or now eight books are only a small part of and uber novel.
There are also comic versions available and each set of comics is available in a hardback version in graphic novel form.
A woman named Robin Furth has also penned a couple of books called 'Stephen King's The Dark Tower a concordance, volumes one and two. Each one has been endorsed by King himself and they are a must for all Dark Tower fans. They act as a reference for everything that Mid-world contains and tell stories of all the characters involved in the series, of which there are many.
A lot of the characters in the Dark Tower books are from other King novels and a lot of them tie up loose ends from other books rather nicely.
It is the ultimate fantasy series; with bits of Science fiction, fantasy and horror delightfully mixed in by one of the best imaginations there has ever been.
What I would say to anyone thinking of reading them is give the first book a chance. It is a little slow at times and has to build a back story of huge content. When you get into the second book you will be glad you continued and then it is a case of not being able to read the rest because they are just so good.
Once the first three books were in print a special run of them was produced with art work by Bernie Wrightson. They are superb and a great part of my collection.
Wrightson was a horror comic illustrator from the sixties and seventies. He worked on such titles as 'House of Secrets', 'House of Mystery' and 'The Swamp Thing' series, some of which I had in my early collection of comics myself.
I would highly recommend this book and the series, even if you're not a King fan. If you are a King fan and haven't read them, then you simply must; not doing so would be sacrilegious. It is also wise to read the first book before this second volume.
King has really outdone himself with this series and the different places he has created in his books all come together full circle. It is not just his life's work but his life. King has been on his own journey, in search of his own tower and I think he can rest a little easier now knowing that his story has been told and so has Roland's; but knowing King there will be a lot more to come from Mid-world in the next decade or so.
The Drawing of the Three is the second volume of Stephen King's 7-volume western-fantasy epic, the Dark Tower. Following on from events in The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain finds himself on a beach where he is attacked by something from the sea he dubs a "lobstrosity". He escapes, but not before it badly wounds him, and he flees north along the beach, unsure where he's going or why, but only that he's getting weaker and weaker as an infection takes hold of his body. Then he comes to a door which opens into another world - contemporary New York. So begins the events of this book.
Unlike The Gunslinger, which was a short western with some fantastical elements thrown in, The Drawing of the Three is more in the vein that SK fans will be familiar with. It's dark and violent, and the vast majority of it takes place in New York, where we meet Eddie, a junkie with some nasty "friends", and Detta/Odetta, a handicapped black rights activist with a split personality. Roland finds himself inside the minds of these two people as he tries to "draw" them into his own world.
The Gunslinger, at times, was hard to follow, and this book, while a lot different, has some of the same frustrating issues. There are some sections, particularly near the back, which are a little difficult to follow. I found my second reading of the Gunslinger helped a lot, and no doubt the same would be true here. There is definitely a lot of deeper meaning in these stories.
The Drawing of the Three is also very old school King, a lot tighter and faster paced than some of his door stop novels. It's nearly double the length of The Gunslinger, but it doesn't feel it as the plot races along in a series of chases and shootouts.
A look on Amazon shows that ratings for the Dark Tower series seem to decline as the series goes on, both as King gets older and the books get longer. But this second volume is still King on top of his game, and well worth a read. If you've not read The Gunslinger, though, I'd strongly suggest reading that first.
The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three is the second in the series of seven fantastic books. This book is one of my favourites in the series as we follow Roland of Gilead in his mission to 'draw' (bring into the mid-world) three people to help his on his quest to reach The Dark Tower. The book starts off amazingly, with Roland combating the 'lobstrosities' on a beach at the edge of Mid World. Then he has to fight to pull through Eddie Dean of New York (from the 1980's) and Odetta Holmes of New York (from the 1960's). The setting of this book is mostly in 'our world' New York and it is very gritty, with drug gang shoot outs in the 1980's and racism in the 1960's. While we have by now already fallen for Roland, this book so evokes our feelings for Eddie and Susannah that soon they are also characters we want to follow right to the end. It's a much faster paced book than The Gunslinger and you'll enjoy every minute.
The second volume in Stephen King's epic series is a very different kettle of fish from the novel that started things. Whilst that book was part Western, part Fantasy and set in a world seperate from our own that had moved on, this book is set largely in our own world but seen through different times.
Roland awakens on The Edge Of The World, lying on the shores of The Endless Sea and is promptly attacked by Lobtrosities who badly injure him and infect him with blood poisoning. Wounded and delirious, Roland makes his escape and stumbles across the first of three doors; placed into Roland's world specifically so that he can draw together the members of his new Ka-Tet who will accompany him to The Dark Tower.
Three doors await Roland in his future and each opens onto a different When in our world. First he will meet The Prisoner, next The Lady Of Shadows and finally The Pusher and only when all three are well met will the quest for The Dark Tower truly begin.......
This is a bit of a mixed bag of a book for me. I don't dis-like it but neither do I love it. Not a lot of any real consequence happens, the plot is more about the gathering of allies, much as Tolkien's Fellowship Of The Ring was, than in furthering the story. The best parts for me are always when you see more of Roland's world and though here we are dropped plenty of hints about what has gone before and, for those who are reading this series again, some clues as to what lies in Roland's future if you know what to look for, this is not, for me, one of the stronger entries in the series!
Still, it is good and very clever in what it sets out to do and, if you intend to read The Dark Tower from cover to cover, is essential reading! It is just that it is not until Book 3: The Waste-Lands that things really get moving again!
Stephen King is well known as the master on modern horror, but he also branches out and some of his books cover science fiction, suspense thrillers, and fantasy. The Dark Tower series is an epic piece of work, compiled over several decades. This book, The Drawing of the Three, is the second in the series. There are a further 5 books that follow and continue the saga. I got my copy of this book from a charity shop and it's an older edition. There are many print versions of this book and you can find copies on Amazon marketplace starting from just 1p plus postage + packing. Mine happens to have some gorgeous full page illustrations that give a nice edge to the story telling.
Description: "He walked out of nowhere towards nowhere, a man from another time who had reached a point of pointless ending...
The Gunslinger came alone to the endless shore of the Western sea, his path foretold by the Man in Black. Here to find, amid the mindless menace of the flesh-eating lobstrosities, the doorways between void and void through which he must draw the three.
Three form our world, drawn into the world moved on: the Prisoner, trapped between dread and desire; the Lady of Shadows, who herself is three; the Pusher, instrument of death and salvation. Together they are sanctuary in physical extremity, weakness in the time for strength, love in damnation - until Roland is no longer the last gunslinger, but one of the last three, who will sing their named from the Dark Tower..."
The first book in the series, The Gunslinger, introduced us to the Gunslinger Roland and told us of his quest towards the Dark Tower. We followed him on part of the journey and learned a little of his desires and motivation. We also saw how his relationships have suffered as the all consuming passion to reach the Tower overwhelms all other feelings. The Man in Black's final message about the Drawing of the Three is very cryptic and in this book we discover the mysteries that lurk behind each door.
Once again, we still don't learn a lot about the character Roland. He is somewhat of a mystery and set in his ways of honour and tradition. The book begins in a startling way with Roland encountering some monstrous sea creatures that King cleverly names 'lobstrosities'. I love this play on words it really tickled me and captured my imagination. The description of them is very believable. It's ironic that with all the time Roland was travelling through the desert longing for water, he then reaches the shores of the Western sea and immediately encounters some severe problems.
I found this book quite modern as most of it is set in our world as we know it, although it is at different points that we view along with the characters that are 'Drawn'. Some of the action scenes have a feeling that reminds me of movies at the time, and it puts across the intense feelings of danger very well. Although the Three are hugely important to Roland's quest, each brings with them their own problem. This adds to the mystery and we have to see if Roland can outsmart these issues to bring his group together.
I feel like a large part of the book was taken up with the first two of the three that are drawn. By the time we get to the third door the book is almost over and this part seems rushed somehow. Within this door Roland manages to create a huge problem for himself and the entire story as his actions have altered the course of the original destiny. This is skimmed over and thrown to one side without further examination. When I finished reading this book I was quite annoyed by it, however after continuing to read my way through the rest of the series I can see that the next book follows on and picks up this point in a very detailed way that forms the course of the third book.
This is a good book but you must take the reading of the series quite seriously, and give it the attention that it deserves. There is so much going on and with the introduction of new characters with their own troubles and back stories it can be hard to keep a handle on what's going on at times. I am reading the series in sequence one after another without breaks to read any other books in between. I had thought it would be very heavy going to approach the series in this way but I'm actually getting a great deal of enjoyment from it and it allows me to start each book with a fresh memory of connecting events. The books themselves have proven to be quite easy reading so far as the language used is fairly simplistic and the pace is fast enough to keep you turning the pages with interest. I would definitely recommend reading the series but it is a labour of love that you will need to dedicate a lot of reading time to!
The drawing of the three is the second book in an epic series of novels called the Dark Tower by Stephen King. There are seven books in total all of which lead on from one another. As this is the second it is pretty much essential (in my opinion) to read the gunslinger first (the first book in the series). I cannot go into massive amounts of detail about the story as I would not do it justice and would be here all day. I will not to give any spoilers.
The book picks up exactly where the first ends, with Roland (the main character and last 'gunslinger' in a post apocalypse world or worlds-its weird) being washed up on a beach. He is alone and very ill. He stumbles down the beach and encounters a mysterious door. This is the first of many magical door which appear throughout the series. The doors allow travel between different worlds and different times. The first door opens into Eddie of New York's mind. Roland is forced to kidnap Eddie from his own world and bring him on the quest for the mysterious Dark Tower. Eddie is a junkie who has to battle his own demons whilst on his journey.
The duo later come across another door and the reader is introduced to Odetta Walker, a schizophrenic. Odette is a nice and understanding woman but Detta, her other personality, is a darker and much more unpleasant character.
Finally the group encounters a final door through which is a serial killer, Jack Mort, who has had a less than pleasant history with Odetta.
Whilst this all sounds very confusing and weird the book does an excellent job of describing every little detail of the story. King manages to capture the characters perfectly and writes in a way that allows the reader to fully connect with and like the characters. The book is an excellent addition to the series and whilst it is not my favourite it is an essential part of the epic novel.
After years of hunting down the man in black, things didn't necessarily go as planned for Roland at the end of 'The Gunslinger' [book 1 in 'The Dark Tower' series].
His obsession with the Dark Tower is as strong as ever, however, there are other forces at play - forces far more powerful and dangerous than the man in black ever was - it's no longer a question of what Roland wants, more is it a question of what he is prepared to do in order to get what he wants... but first he has to survive 'The Drawing of the Three'.
Having been told a bit of his future by the man in black during their ultimate standoff in the first book [The Gunslinger], Roland awakens at the start of 'The Drawing of the Three' on a desolate beach, not seven hours after this confrontation. His awakening is far from a gentle one... Roland is being attacked by a giant sea creature with deadly pincers. Obviously a mutated form of lobster, Roland quickly discovers that it may not be the cleverest of creatures, but it is definitely one of the deadliest. Managing to survive the confrontation, minus a few fingers on his right hand and one of his toes, life isn't looking too great for poor Roland whose health quickly begins to deteriorate as the infection sets in.
Stranded in a strange land, one that appears uninhabited by humans, and is comprised of the ocean with its deadly mutant lobsters, and rocky hills and forests where the roar of an extremely large creature can be heard at regular intervals, Roland's future is looking dismal indeed... but he refuses to give up.
Managing to drag himself along the beach, careful not to get himself eaten by the sea creatures, Roland is on the brink of closing his eyes for eternity when all of a sudden, much like a desert mirage, he sees... a door. No building, no walls... just a single door with a gold knob. The door isn't attached to anything, it's just standing there on the beach. Confused, Roland circles the door, noticing that depending on where he is standing, the door seems to change... towards the rear all that is visible is the shadow of the door, and at some point, looking at the door at a particular angle, the width of the door seems to change. Not knowing what to make of it, Roland notices a sign on the door with two words printed on it... The Prisoner.
Opening the door, Roland peers inside and sees...
You didn't actually expect me to tell you, did you? That would be spoiling it.
Very much in the same vein as 'The Gunslinger', the second volume in 'The Dark Tower' series - 'The Drawing of the Three' - is incredibly fascinating with its strange mutants, dismal landscape and thick aura of mystery... and with the arrival of the first door [there are 3 in all], the feel of the book immediately changes, and the reader can't help but become conscious of the fact that Stephen King has just managed an incredible coup.
It isn't just that he managed to find a way to save a situation that appeared to be 'un-saveable', but he accomplished it in a way that, although fantastical, appears to make perfect sense. The strange door, standing all by itself on a desolate beach with giant mutant lobsters somewhere in the backdrop and the terrifying roars of a mysterious creature wafting down from the mountains. There's a nightmarish quality to it all, one that you can actually 'feel'.
Stephen King's imagination is a wondrous thing, and once again I caught myself thinking that if it could be siphoned into bottles, it would probably be the worlds most powerful and addictive hallucinogenic.
'The Drawing of the Three', although continuing where 'The Gunslinger' left off, is a bit 'darker' with a nice sharp edge to the storyline that keeps the story from giving too much of itself away... there is never any predicting as to the outcome, and with each new door comes a new adventure, each one more mind-boggling than the next.
The addition of some really interesting characters to the story is a definite plus and gives the reader an in-depth glimpse at Roland's true nature that is only possible when he is interacting with others. The new characters, just as interesting as Roland, are Eddie, a heroine junkie with some serious issues, Odetta, a wealthy wheelchair bound woman with a deadly personality disorder and Jack, a young man whose hobby is to cause fatal accidents - Jack gets a real sexual rush out of knowing that he's indirectly responsible for either maiming or killing people.
These new characters are a ragtag bunch that appear to have absolutely nothing in common - although they come from the same dimension [ours], they don't actually come from the same time. At first glance, the reader can't help but wonder what the heck they're doing in the story, after all, none of these characters are equipped to help Roland on his journey, in fact, some of them are downright nuisances, but fate has brought them together nonetheless, and if you want to find out what the purpose is... then you have to read the book!
As for myself, totally addicted to the story, I am now reaching for 'The Waste Lands'... book III in 'The Dark Tower' series. A review will follow shortly...
The Drawing of the Three is book 2 of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and follows on from The Gunslinger (I've reviewed the Gunslinger on this site. If you've not read the book, I recommend reading that review, or this one may confuse you). If you've not read The Gunslinger, I recommend reading it first, although it is not essential as there is a prologue detailing the events of that book inside this one.
I found this book to be one of the most enjoyable of the series, and it goes along at a good pace. The Drawing mentioned in the title is a reference to Roland bringing three people from our world into his world, so they may help him on his journey towards the Dark Tower that the series is named after. These 3 people are all strong characters, and all have their own personal demons. One of them is even a character we met in the previous book.
One of the things I really noticed is how accurately King describes the kind of pain Roland and the other characters are going through, both mental and physical, as they try to help each other through the journey.
It's hard to say much about this book without going into the plot, and as good as the plot is, it would be a shame to spoil it for new readers. All I can really say is buy it, it's a great book, and a vital part of a fantastic series.
The Dark Tower series of books has spanned over 20 years of hard slog from author Stephen King, and features the quest of Roland of Gilead, as he strives to reach the Dark Tower, for reasons unknown to us, to Roland even, and, more worryingly, to King himself. Or at least, as he wrote 'The Drawing of the Three', which is the second of the 7 books in the series, King was unsure exactly of how Roland's quest would eventually conclude.
The first book in the series, entitled 'The Gunslinger', was met with mixed reviews, with many people being intensely annoyed at how random and confusing the tale was, telling of Roland's trek across plains with rare sightings of other life in his pursuit of The Man In Black, who ends up being a mix between a villain from Roland's youth, one from his present and one from another world, inhabited by the boy Jake, a significant acquaintance on Roland's journey.
The Drawing of the Three picks up the story where The Gunslinger left off, with Roland finding himself having travelled as far west as he can, ending up on a hugely expansive and stretching beach. Here, he encounters the lobstrosities, hideous creatures that gave me the impression of being a sort of giant cross between a lobster and a leech - dangerous and hungry!
As Roland weakens with a lack of food and water, the fear of hallucination sets in, and King's descriptive passages are likely to confuse if you attempt to rush this book. As the potentially hallucinatory scenes progress and deepen further and further, we are treated to the ultimate in cross-world fantasy. Roland's world is like a cross between a Lord of the Rings style world and that of a typical Western film, if one were to imagine it. As he finds himself trecking across the beach, on the verge of losing life, he finds a 'door' between his world and ours, and this is where the story deepens. He meets with Eddie Dean, a 20-something struggling in the 1980s to make his way in life. Curiously, in a seemingly time-travelling eeriness, he also meets a schizophrenic wheelchair-bound lady in the 1960s, a perfect schizophrenic whose two identities, Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker, are blissfully unaware of each other.
As the three characters begin to combine, King draws us into the tale with heightening adventure and mystery in all scenarios, featuring all the characters, and manages somewhat to elave us eternally confused as to the purpose of this cross-world door. King essentially gives his hero, Roland, three 'doors' which take him to New York at three different times, and from these doors must draw those who must help him on his quest.
The book was originally released in 1989 before the mass market release a year later revealed it to the general public. More recent re-publications have seen a revised edition being printed, with an introduction from King himself, in which he attempts to explain things a bit better. For the one thing that stops this series being excellent is the sheer confusion it sends out. The course Roland takes through his strange world follows the belief of 'ka' which could be described most closely as destiny. This does, however, also seem to be the excuse used when something is inexplicable in the tale and Roland must provide a reason.
The fact that it is a long series gives King the chance to expand on each and every character, and I was able to have a clear and vivid picture of the main characters of Roland, Eddie and Odetta/Detta throughout the book. While I found this book potentially more confusing than the first in the series (The Gunslinger), The Drawing of the Three is a very well crafted continuance of an intriguing series. The best way of describing it is of something with immense potential to be great. I am currently reading the fourth book, and am content with the fact that the third in the series, entitled 'The Wastelands', does go some way to create a bit more continuity and explication, but also asks further questions.
It is unclear when or where Roland's world is set or created, and it is best to assume that all will become clear at some point. It is apparent that there is some effect of each world on the other, but beyond this, I would recommend putting your trust in an accomplished author in King, and awaiting a result. Fans of King's work who have read The Gunslinger and been disappointed at the lack of horror in King's series, will be pleased sommewhat by the scenes featuring the lobstrosities: they are graphic and seem to jump from a typical King horror novel into this series. A welcome addition.
Overall, this is another book I would recommend. be warned: reading this as a book on its own and without reading The Gunslinger or continuing to read the rest of the series would make it very hard to enjoy and understand it. It is intended as Part 2 of 7, and as such must be read so. A very well written and developed book, patience is rather necessary for enjoyment, and slow reading is better than skimming or trying to force the information in. The Drawing of the Three gets a good rating from me, although it is not the best in his series. It is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £4.82. It is definitely worth a read, but I recommend reading the first in the series beforehand and then to continue reading the series afterwards.
The author himself has expressed dissatisfaction with the Gunslinger, the first book in the series, and I would agree that that wasn't his best book. Which is such a shame because the rest of the season is great.
Having said that, you really have to read the first book before you will understand the second. So go away, read it and come back.
OK? Read it...then I'll continue.
The Drawing of the Three picks up right where the first book ended. Roland is lying on the beach, the black man he had been chasing is gone.
In the interview he had with the black man he was told that he will be able to draw three people from another world (our world) to help him in his quest.
He starts walking along the long beach, meeting three doors on the way.
This is a truly good book. Like the rest of the series it is hard to define the genre. It is not horror though and not scary.
It is addictive, I seriously couldn't put it down. It is fun to watch Roland interact with our world - which seems so alien to him, and you will find yourself relating strongly with all characters.
A great read, and more greatness to come with the other books!
In "The Drawing of the Three", the second book in Stephen King's epic Dark Tower Series, we catch up with Roland Deschain of Gilaed exactly where we left after the first book, sat on the beach facing "the Western Sea"
During this book Roland will meet 2 of his future ka-tet (tight group of friends is probably the best description.) the prisoner and the lady of the shadows, changing their lives dramatically as he pulls them into "his world." Before Roland can do this through his quest nearly comes to a premature end at the hands (or pincers) of monsters that come of the sea at sunset - "Lobstorites" the name given to this creatures conjures up quite a picture of what Roland faced as he awoke from sleep.
The second book in the dark tower series is again well written, s you would expect from King, the only complaint can be King's tendency very occasionally to disappear off on a tangent and talk about things that are not relevant to the story.
After the long hard journey, Roland the gunslinger finally reaches the ocean, as far west as he can go. He sleeps on the beach but awakens to find a ‘lobstrosity’ trying to eat him alive. I like the word Stephen King has invented to describe these terrifying creatures. It conjures vivid pictures of an otherwise unimaginable creature in full horrifying details. And yes, the second book in the series has only just begun. When I started reading The Drawing Of The Three, the second book in the Dark Tower series, I was amazed to discover that it actually picked up the thread of the story from exactly where the end of the first book let off. Roland is still on his all-consuming mission to find the Dark Tower. Still, nobody knows what exactly it is, or where it is, possibly not even SK himself, but as Roland would put it – it’s Ka. (No not those silly little ford bubbles! (No offence but I just don’t like them!)) Ka is destiny, it’s the way things happen and are meant to be. The driving force of the whole universe, in all its immense, infinite, vastness. Hopefully I have gone some way to describing the enormous scope of this series. It encompasses all times and places and worlds and dimensions until your head is reeling. This second book mainly concentrates on, as the title might suggest, how Roland acquires his travel companions for the long arduous journey ahead. Already he has lost a couple of fingers and a toe, courtesy of the lobstrosities, and that’s barely before even getting out of the first page. If ‘The Gunslinger’ started a little slowly, this shoots off as fast as a bullet from a gun. Roland is on a long, seemingly endless beach, which stretches northwards further than the eye can see. In fact, the whole second book remains here on this most westerly beach, with plenty of scrapes with the poisonous lobstrosities, who also turn out to be the only source of food available. Ironic
really. Roland finds the first door on the beach. Just a door in a doorframe with the words: The Prisoner written upon it. This would be Roland’s first drawing. He steps through the doorway and his body slumps almost lifelessly on the beach in front of the door. Roland is in Eddie’s mind. Can control Eddie’s actions, knows everything there is to know about Eddie. Eddie also knows everything about Roland. There is a meeting of minds, two in one body. King has a great skill with words, which is clearly seen in this book. The way he describes Roland’s thoughts whilst in Eddies mind and Eddie’s rising panic while Roland probes for information vital to his needs, are literally the work of a genius. The prisoner is Eddie; Eddie is a hopeless junkie, who is currently on a drug run for ‘da boss’. Large quantities of ‘devil weed’ as Roland perceives the unfamiliar words to be, are strapped to his body, and he’s in need of his next fix. The whole scene is played out with amazing detail and clarity. You can believe the events; can almost believe that you are there. The poison from the lobstrosities is slowly killing Roland. Eddie also knows this and knows that antibiotics are required. Or as Roland hears the unfamiliar word, ‘astin’. Roland manipulates his host body to achieve his needs. As the title suggest, there are three drawn from the world. But all three are from a different time. Eddie was taken from 1987, while the second person is taken from the sixties. She is Odetta Holmes. Or Detta Walker. Or Susannah Dean. She is what a psychologist would call a ‘perfect’ schizophrenic. Neither personality has any idea of the other. Even down to believing her brains invented reasons for time lapses and missing memories. Odetta is a kind, thoughtful black woman who is missing her legs from just above the knees down. The reason for this is intricately woven into the stor
y, and is very cleverly done. Detta on the other hand is a mean bitter and twisted old hag. A very dangerous lady, regardless of her being a cripple in a wheelchair. SK makes good use of non-words here to emphasize the almost inhuman nature of Detta. Honky Mahfah! Being a frequently used throughout the book. I won’t go into too much more detail but this is definitely a must-read book. Indeed the whole series is. (What’s written so far anyway.) I’m currently re-reading the first four books as I am anticipating the arrival of the fifth in the series towards the end of this year/beginning of next year, (according to SK’s website anyway!) I will re-read the third book before I review it (like I did with this one), but I have to retrieve it from a friend who borrowed it after being sucked in by the Dark Tower series, courtesy of me! Yes I rave about this series. In my opinion it’s the best work I’ve ever read, of King’s or anyone else’s for that matter! Hope you think so too if you check it out.
This is the second novel in an on-going series. I will refer to events in previous parts, so be warned if you haven't read them yet... This story begins where the last left off, with a tired and drained Roland waking up on deserted beach soon after his confrontation with Walter. There are strange creatures roaming the beach (which he comes to call 'lobstrosities'). He is injured and poisoned by one, and comes across the first of several strange doors floating in mid-air, which he learns takes his to our world. This, he learns is the meaning of Walter's tarot reading, and must soon depend on the people he 'draws' for his very life. Much longer than the previous installment, this, like the following episodes, veers between contrived and poetic. One moments, the fantasy world in which roland lives seems rich, varied and compelling, the next you realise that the constant referring to 'ka' and 'ka-tet' later in the novel may simply be a contrived way of putting things off till later. The New York scenes also seem at times like those cheesy '80s sci-fi specials where characters from battlestar Galactica or Star trek would move around modern-day America with bemused looks on their faces. The biggest problem, however, is that if you're at all familiar with Clive Barker's recent fantasies, this may seem very second rate. While this was written before, say 'Weaveworld', 'Everville' or 'Imajica', if you've read any of Barker's books, you may be left wanting. Don't get me wrong, though. This is a very readable, and often well written book with a lot going for it. I, for one, wait eagerly for Roland's next adventures each time. Just not as eagerly as I once did.
'The Drawing of the Three' is the second book in Stephen King's progressively more successful Dark Tower series, and arguably the best of all the books released so far. Perhaps it's excellence is due to how it is the most heavily grounded in 'The real world' of all the novels - for while King's writing style is recognizable and comfortable in all the other Dark Tower books, like an old sweater or a comfort blanket, in The Drawing of the Three a large amount of the action takes place in a recognizable locale - New York City. The second novel begins almost exactly where the first left off - The Gunslinger (Main character of the Dark Tower series) wakes up on the beach where he rested at the end of Book One. From there you'll encounter the 'lobstrosities', a race against time to cure poison, a gunfight in a drug dealer's den, and the curious case of Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker, a true Jekyll-and-Hyde situation. This book will more than likely find readers of the first novel a lot more comfortable - Not only is it written in the more recognisable King style (Not that the first novel wasn't an interesting change), but it's also a lot longer - though I expect King fans will still devour it in record time... it's that good. From here, you only have 'The Waste Lands' and 'Wizard and Glass' to go (King's third and fourth book in the series); Until King releases the fifth book, hopefully some time in 2001 or 2002. Oh, and the Dark Tower short story, 'The Little Sisters of Eluria'. Not to mention the countless other King books which ingeniusly link into the Dark Tower in one way or another... ...Prepare to start shelling out some hard-earned cash.