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Step forward Roland of Gilead
Dark Tower 2: Drawing of the Three - Stephen King
Member Name: dawnymarie
Dark Tower 2: Drawing of the Three - Stephen King
Date: 21/08/12, updated on 21/08/12 (102 review reads)
Advantages: Roland's adventure continues - intriguing concept - pages turned
Why read this one?
If you have read the first volume in this Stephen King epic series then you will most likely be intrigued to know what will be in store of our hero next. Roland of Gilead has been introduced teasingly in The Gunslinger - I needed and wanted to know what happens next.
Roland has survived the trials of the apocalyptic terrain in the first book and carries with him a memento that belonged to The Man in Black. He awakens on a long stretch of beach and is savaged by a brute of a lobster type monster which appears to be questioning him with words such as 'did a chick'? With impressive tenacity and resolve Roland escapes the brute and soon comes face to face with a door - this door stands in the middle of nowhere and is suspended by thin air. As this is part of his quest to find the dark tower he knows that he must open the door and be confronted by what lies within. There will be two more to come and all have their own challenge. Is this a game? What is the purpose of it and how does it all fit in with Roland's quest to find the dark tower?
Step forward Roland of Gilead.....
I felt like I was 'home' as I read the first page of this book. I like King's style of writing and the fact that he tells a good story - he doesn't pad out the pages with any more than you need to know - and he knows how to get you guessing and begging for more.
I had missed Roland even though it wasn't long ago that I had finished the first instalment (The Gunslinger). In my mind's eye Roland is pretty much like Clint Eastwood as he appeared in the spaghetti westerns. Though, at present he is in a deathly state. After being attacked, by what he now calls 'lobstrosities' he realises that he is minus two fingers on his right hand - he is right handed so not a good observation - and a great toe has been severed too. I'm already panicking about him. How is he to load his guns in the impressive speed that he always has done and how will he manage with one gun rather than two? King has started well - he has begun the prose with a drama and got me even more attached to Roland. I have no choice but to read on as I want to know that he is alright, I am hoping that he has dreamed it and still has his fingers and toe.
As with the first book I am impressed by how each and every page holds my attention. There may not be a lot of action on the page but I'm captivated by what is going on in Roland's mind as he struggles against the odds to survive. What is it like to be severely dehydrated when you are sat opposite a large expanse of water - the sea! How does it feel to be dying before you very eyes as you watch the red mark of infection ease its way up your arm and towards your weakening heart? How do you find the will to go on - forcing yourself onwards along an energy sapping beach in search of Ka (destiny)? Why would he not just lie down and let himself drift away - put an end to the pain and suffering. Escape this alien world which has mutated beasts hunting at dusk - coming along with their quizzical sounds and waving their claws at you. He has supreme focus. That is the answer, Roland is a gunslinger and he was trained ruthlessly, though with a strange amount of love, to be almost machine like in mind and body. He will not give up no matter what - not while there is still breath in him. He will go on. Even though this may seem mechanical there is a heart that beats in this man and from snippets that are coming along the way about his past I discover that he knows how to love and how to lose. He has felt pain both mentally and physically. He has compassion and is a decent man. I like him more the longer I'm around him and never bore of reading his tale.
After some time and when he is almost dead Roland reaches a door. This is quite fantastical and I am surprised by King's imagination - what he holds in that mind is just incredible. Where he gets his ideas from I don't know but he doesn't disappoint with this concept. What lies behind the door and the challenge that it offers is breath taking. I have only just finished this book and I know that I will be reading it again as I thought it was genius. Roland will have an opportunity to get medicine (antibiotics) for his body if he enters the world that lies at the other side of the door - this is like a time machine as he will enter another year and see it through the eyes of young junkie who is currently on a sky carriage (plane) carrying a load of drugs. I could not believe what I was reading, Roland had entered the mind of the young man and could come forward and control him or communicate with him to work as a team. Just genius and totally fascinating to read.
I was absorbed in the mafia world that this junkie was living in and loved the terminology that Roland used to describe what he had never seen before - except as relics in his world. I enjoyed seeing the young man frighten people as they saw his eyes change from their original colour to those of Roland's. Some of the scenes in the mafia world were pretty gruesome but that is where King excels and it wasn't over the top in my opinion.
The door closes on the devastated world of the mafia who may be dead but have an expression of surprise on their faces - I was left with no questions after that encounter and found it to be thrilling as well as suspenseful. The junkie is now in Roland's world and when he sees the size of the lobsters he wonders if he made the right decision - that remains to be seen. Roland needed this young man - who he calls 'the prisoner' - and he needed antibiotics fast. He got them both.
The book is sectioned into the episodes behind the doors and this helps to avoid any confusion - I may have been a little confused otherwise. The following two doors will introduce Roland to a woman who is more than meets the eye - much more than meets the eye! And a man who is immaculately dressed and oozes confidence and an amount of power, he intends to go places but that very much depends now on the result of his meeting with the gunslinger. There are some tough decisions to be made as regards these two people and Roland will make them with a calm air that is unnerving - he knows right from wrong and his decision will be the right one, even if others don't agree. I get the feeling that Roland has the needs of the greater good in mind - if one or two must die in order to save many then that is the choice that he will make.
The other characters that are introduced into the tale are Eddie Dean - the junkie, Odetta Holmes - a coloured lady and Jack Mort - prim city man, serial killer on days off. The latter of the three I only meet briefly and I don't like very much at all. Straight away I'm telling Roland not to take him to the other side of the door - to his world - because I don't trust him as far as I can throw him. I want Roland, Eddie and Odetta to remain safe. Odetta fascinated me and you will understand why when you read the book, I very much like her even though there is a side to her that needs attention - I want her to stay. Eddie was easy to warm to and even though he has made bad choices, and sometimes cannot be trusted, I care about what happens to him and want Roland to allow him into his care. Eddie is developed the most out of the three newcomers and I get a real feel for him, he is becoming three dimensional. Roland continues to be developed and up to now there is nothing that I don't like about him - I understand why he has to appear to be distanced and cold even though he could easily let his emotions show. He needs to remain strong minded and focused on his goal - he needs to get to the tower - the dark tower.
I learn little bits about what the tower may hold in relation to the time periods and destiny but I am some way off the identity and importance of it. I don't know if Roland knows what to expect when he gets there - if he gets there, King didn't know when he was writing the tale if it would be Roland that reached the tower. So he has done it again, King tells a good tale here in this volume but don't think you will be any nearer to that tower or a multitude of other questions that you may have. King has me right where he wants me now because I have to know everything and I need to know that Roland will survive.
When I reached the end of this book I was satisfied with the outcome and highly impressed with how everything linked together masterfully. But at the same time I am aware of being at the beginning of another exhilarating part of this tale. I cannot wait for The Waste Lands.
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Absolutely yes. If you have read the first in this epic series - The Gunslinger - then you will certainly enjoy this. As you would expect Roland is developed more, though still lots to find out and little snippets shed light into his quest and who he is. The main trait that stands out for me is his supreme focus - this man is like a machine and will only stop when his heart stops. You may think he is cold but his heart houses compassion - he has a place in my heart and I cannot wait to see that he is alright after the next instalment. Eddie Dean, a young junkie who has been influenced by his older brother, is a bit of a handful but all the same he got me to like him and care about him which is more than can be said for the serial killer that we meet behind the last door - King is awesome at creating a villain here. Odetta Holmes is complex and it takes some time to get to know the real her - when she shines through I like her very much and admire her too. Initially I wondered where King was headed with the lobstrosities - what kind of story was I getting into? They fitted in perfectly and played a part from beginning to end - did I develop a relationship with them? Well no but I very much enjoyed the words that King gifted them with - it made me laugh but also made me think. I have to mention the superb terminology used when Roland encounters people, places and transport in the other world - it is class. A beautiful piece of work that has been crafted by a master in the trade.
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Summary: Crafted by a master - genius