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Stephen King - Dark Tower - Book 3 - The Wastelands
Why read this one?...
This is the third instalment in Stephen King's Dark Tower Series. It made sense to read it as I am engrossed in the tale of Roland and his posse. You couldn't stop me from reading this one after I had finished and enjoyed the first two books. I was hungry for more and fearless to discover more of Roland's world - a world which has moved on. A dangerous world.
Roland is still with us. An amazing feat considering the journey that he has endured to date. He has battled through the arid desert following the mysterious 'man in black'. He has survived the attack made on his life when he came face to face with the lobsrosities. He has looked death in the face during a life threatening infection. Almost machine like - he carries on. He has a goal. One goal. To find the Dark Tower. What he will find when he gets there is anyone's guess, all he knows is that it is his destiny and duty to find it. His new companions, Susannah and Eddie Dean, are growing fond of him and he knows he has feelings for them - unfortunately he also knows that as far as the Dark Tower goes he cannot be trusted to put anything or anyone before it. And so the three of them continue in the search. But this journey will not be an easy one either physically or mentally, there are strange sounds coming from this new landscape, from the woods. Soon they will be forced into action, though they don't know by what. Roland has inner turmoil to deal with that is testing his sanity - he cannot get the boy he let die out of his head. He may have died in Roland's world - but he knows that boy, Jake, is alive in his own. Alive and trying to get to Roland.....
Blaine the train is a pain.....Tick Tock....
I could not wait to get my hands on this book. After the satisfactory conclusion to last one (The drawing of the three) I was eager to find out more about Roland from this offering. King knows how to please his constant readers - he does not disappoint.
From the very first page I felt reassured that this was going to be an epic journey of fine crafting. It is split into two books and this was a very wise choice because it works perfectly. I am reunited with a boy who I got attached to and developed an interest in when he joined Roland in the first book (The gunslinger). Jake died in that book but since the outcome of the second book he is still very much alive in New York - in his world.
From what I can gather so far there are doors that lead to different worlds and/or periods in time - rather like the Bermuda Triangle, people and items can go missing. I like this idea, it fascinates me and King presents these phenomena in a logical way that I find intriguing as opposed to confusing. What comes out of the authors mind is genius at times and I am surprised all the time at what he can come up with. He mixes mystical and magical with science and technology; also throwing in past and present cultures and societies. It makes for some really thought provoking moments.
The first book within this prose is all about Jake. We find him in New York going slightly mad - or so it seems to him initially. He's not. I like spending time in his world - the family dynamics are horrible. His father has high expectations and his mother is submissive - Jake loves them but soon realises that he loves Roland more, the relationship he had with Roland was more like father and son than he has with his own work orientated dad. I felt sorry for him and hoped that he would find a way back to Mid World - to Roland. He has forgiven him for letting him die, a trait which endears him all the more to me and shows me a maturity beyond his young years. He is a brave and tenacious little soul and he has only one desire - to find the door that will lead him back to Roland, in a dangerous land that he knows is his destiny. It is clear that all the Ka tet (group of people with the same destiny) have a desire to be with Roland in the horrors of his world.
Eddie Dean soon realises that he is somehow seeing what is going on in Jake's world - he is fearful of telling anyone and least of all Roland who seems to be losing it - his mind. Eddie and Susannah are developing into really solid characters and I like them both, I did from the start but even more so now. I like the complexity of Susannah - her unique strengths that she can draw on in emergencies are captivating. I like that she is a feisty and independent woman, even though she is missing the lower half of her legs. I also get the sense of her beauty and her security in herself. She hates relying on either of the men to carry or push her and at every opportunity she will haul herself with her arms - she is a strong, capable character and she has a big heart. She is a gunslinger just as Eddie is and the three of them are the last of them. Eddie can be depended upon, he can lose his temper sometimes and make rash decisions - but when it comes down to it he is dependable. I like him but Roland is the one that I worry about - he is in my heart and I always 'need' to know that he is going to be okay. I'm finding out little bits about his past life and who this man is - but there is so much more to learn and I want to learn it. He is a gunslinger. He is respected. He upholds the law it seems - or he did back in time before the world began to move on. He is smart, very smart. He is fast and he is alert, even when sleeping. He is capable and fearless. He is totally focussed on getting to the Tower and will not stop until he is stopped or he reaches it - he reminds me of a machine in that respect, but he has compassion and he has a large heart. He remains a mystery even though I feel like I have known him some time - King is clever.
The scenario and concept of the entrance into Roland's world by Jake had me totally absorbed. It became fast paced and it was dangerous, but also it was fascinating. With King's description of the situation I was left without doubt as to just how brave all of them had to be, how disciplined and clever they needed to be and how fearless Jake was, even though he had second thoughts there is no way I would have wanted to enter through that door!
The second book in the prose involves getting to a train. This is a train that Jake knows about from when he was in New York. He recognised the importance of a children's book when he saw it - and he wrote an essay for a school exam which gave mention to this train - Blaine the pain - although he wasn't aware what he had written until he saw it!
They won't get to this train easily and when they do he won't be accommodating - he is a nasty piece of work this train - real nasty. He'll fry you as soon as look at you. No one ventures near him if they value their life. But in order to get to him they will have to get to the City (Lud) that is on the horizon. A city that is at war and has been for many years.
Jake will be in danger as soon as they near the end of a damaged bridge - he will journey with a new companion at his own request and that journey made for some engaging reading. I found it uncomfortable at times as Jake is important to me now and I feel protective towards him - I don't like him being in danger. He will be meeting Tick Tock Man and I really don't think that is a good idea. I don't like the sound of him. Don't think I'm going to like him much. But Jake is on his way. He is brave.
There will be a desperate struggle to find Blaine the pain - train, Eddie and Susannah have the task and Roland has other business that will be of great urgency and test all of his strength. I was rooting for him and his little companion - a billy bumbler (don't you just love that name) a kind of cross between a dog and a racoon? Cute. And he can speak a little and communicate. He is Jake's bumbler and he is eager to be reunited with the boy. My heart was in my mouth whilst journeying with Roland through this ruined city. Booby traps set by humans and computers are many and one time I thought Roland had been hit - who was I kidding, Roland of Gilead is a gunslinger! No normal man.
I raced through the final pages of the prose. I could not put it down. Were this tight knit ka tet going to be back together again. Will they all make it to Blaine? Will he kill them? What mood is the computer in? Where will he take them if he is in the mood to allow them on board? Will they head towards the Dark Tower?
This one ends where it naturally ends - King didn't know that it was going to end like it did as he allows a story to tell itself. Unlike the first two books this one ends on a cliff hanger - literally! I was happy with that and it was satisfactory - I cannot wait to read the next instalment.
Sourcing and Price.....
Search amazon.co.uk for this one at a decent price. The RRP is £7.99
Absolutely yes. If you have read the first two then you already know that King is full of fantastic concepts for this series and what a protagonist we have in Roland of Gilead. I was totally absorbed in the world that Roland inhabits - in the magic and mystery, fast paced interactions with threats of all shapes and sizes; and the whole different worlds and different time's thing that is going on. I am intrigued - I need and want to discover what the Dark Tower is all about and if it control the worlds. I am finding out more about Roland's past and the world that he used to live in. His role as a gunslinger and what kind of a man he was/is. Roland is captivating in himself, King has created a protagonist that is mean and moody but you cannot help but love him. Eddie and Susannah are developing more - both are strong characters and I want them safe. I like that Susannah is not a needy type - I like her strength and independence. Jake is back - I was so glad to have him back. He is a brave soul - young boy but certainly not a dependant boy. Jake is capable and it wouldn't surprise me if he is a gunslinger too. The inclusion of Oy, the billy bumbler was so clever and I just love him to bits .... Hope he stays safe. The plot line thickens and the possibilities are endless - book one of this prose ended with no loose ends and book two - it's a cliff hanger and you know what - it excites me to think that I'm to begin the next one by finding out what the heck is going to happen to them. Once again I have witnessed a master a work! King is pure genius.
Published on Ciao
Title: The Wastelands
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 512 (my copy has anyway)
Storyline and Summary
The beginning of the third installment starts with Roland, Eddie and Susannah travelling from the beach into a forest where they learn some skills from Roland. They chance upon a giant bear which it is discovered is cybernetic and in fact a robot. The three vanquish the bear (Shardik) and Roland educates the group about the beams and the guardians, one of those guardians being Shardik the bear.
The three head off following "the Beam" which is invisible but affects the world (such as the way the clouds move). They continue their journey but as they continue Roland finds that he is struggling with a mental paradox between what happens to Jake in book one (no spoiler) and what happens to Jake in book two (again no spoiler!). This is causing him to forget or remember differently the events of book one even though he knows what happened.
The book moves on to Jake Chambers, a young schoolboy in New York 1977. Jake too is experiencing what Roland is in that he is torn between two worlds. Jake encounters Calvin Tower and Aaron Deepneau and buys a book called Charlie the Choo Choo (see later). The journey through town following the purchase of the book leads Jake to a vacant lot where he finds a key and also a single red rose.
In Roland's world Roland helps Eddie to see what he must do to solve Rolands mental problem by burning the jawbone of Walter (he kept it from book one). The ritual reveals that Eddie must carve some sort of key which must be perfect and will open another door (much like those of book two).
Jakes wanderings in New York lead him to an old house (haunted house) at a place called Dutch Hill where he uses his key to escape the house daemon that protects the portal. In Roland's world at the same time they have engaged in a ritual to bring Jake through using a speaking ring which involves another daemon. Susannah pays a heavy price for protecting Eddie and they are successful in bringing Jake through.
The four continue to follow the path of the beam towards a great looming broken city called Lud. On the way they meet an animal, Oy, which to me is basically a dog badger! . Along the way we learn some of the history of Roland when they come to River Crossing and the people revere him as one of the last Gunslingers (the last Gunslinger?).
Once they reach Lud they encounter a war between two groups. Jake is kidnapped and Roland resolves not to lose him a second time and follows. Eddie and Susannah are tasked with finding a way through along the path of the beam. This brings Eddie and Susannah to meet Blaine....the monorail...Blaine is an artificial intelligence that has lost its sanity.
Roland, Jake and Oy vanquish their kidnappers (the tick tock man) and escape to the Cradle of Lud (the train station) and are reunited with Eddie and Susannah. Blaine is fond of riddles and challenges the group with a riddle in order to get passage on board. The ka-tet manage to get aboard Blaine but not before Blaine sets off the underground self destruct program for the city and kills everyone. The ka-tet escape aboard Blaine across the Wastelands on their way to a place called....Topeka.
Important Aspects for me
Welcome to Oy and Jake Chambers back to the storyline! I think I am going to like the relationship between Oy and Jake (something I think is going to be important).
The introduction to the beams and Shardik (one of the guardians) feels like something that needs to be put forward as an important point to note and was one of the more interesting parts which is starting to make this series feel a bit more "epic fantasy".
Quite a lot happens in this book and particularly the scene with the Daemon, Roland and Susannah smacks of some future event that is going to come back and haunt our ka-tet.
There are quite a few references to other works of SK and he seems to be trying to create some sort of alternate universe (Universess??) which is intriguing.
Opinion and Conclusion
This book in my opinion was better than the second book The Drawing of the Three. It had a much better fantasy like feel to it. I must say I am not much of a fan for the world hopping and being in New York/our world. I guess that's why I read fantasy. SK has done well to fuse the two kind of more "real life" world to this fantasy world that Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake live in.
Certainly better than book 2 for the storyline keeping me interested but I was still left reminiscing after the Gunslinger and a return to that more Cowboy/Western setting. I can't but help thinking that the Gunslinger is unfortunately a distant memory for SK and we are heading in a different direction.
I am really not a fan of the New York parts at all....overall the book was good and I will be reading the next.
The Dark Tower 3 - The Waste Lands
The last of the "old" Dark Tower books before King took up the series again in 2003, The Waste Lands steps up a gear from the previous two books, The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three. I enjoyed those books greatly, but this one is on another level. Quite frankly, this is the best book I've read this year. It's King at his absolute best - the fluff is at a minimum, replaced by great dialogue, excellent characters, inventiveness and a story that rattles along with barely a pause for breath.
Roland of Gilead has now been joined on his quest to find the Dark Tower by Eddie, an ex-junkie and Suzannah - formerly Detta Walker/Odetta Holmes - a disabled black rights campaigner. The first part of the book concerns the "drawing" of the fourth member, Jake, previously met in the first book, and then a supposed fifth, the "billy bumbler", Oy, a doglike animal which provides a cute touch in a dark, dark book as well as a little light humour.
In The Waste Lands Roland's "ka-tet" start to learn more about Mid-World, the world that has "moved on". They establish a way to find the Dark Tower, and set off after it, eventually coming to the ruined city of Lud where they hope to find a special form of transport. All along the way they see signs of the world left behind, ancient traffic lights, crashed planes, a suspension bridge on the brink of collapse, but it is in the city itself, a horrible, horrible place that King paints in exquisite and terrifying detail, that they must come up against Blaine, their most dangerous enemy yet.
All the elements that have made Stephen King so popular are present in this book. You have the flawed central characters, the nasty bad guys, the plot twists and turns. All the things that have made almost everything he's written since 1990 a chore to read have been kept in check, most notably the fluff and the slow storylines. There is still that propensity to refer to advertising slogans for additional detail, and that pulpy, cartoony dialogue (Eddie and his impressions, or Gasher's referring to the Tick Tock Man as "Ticky", for example), though here, rather than irritate, it actually fits well and adds to the feel of the book.
You probably won't understand what's going on unless you've read the first two books, but if you've read them I'd strongly recommend this one regardless of what you thought of them. I'm a little worried because I've heard the next book, Wizard and Glass, written some ten years later, sucks, but we'll see. But, so far so good.
The Waste Lands is the third book in Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series that encompasses all his work and tells of one man's obsession with reaching a mythical Tower that stands at the nexus point of all reality!
The book begins with Roland teaching his new Ka-Tet how to shoot not with their eye or their mind but with their heart in the manner of all Gunslingers. This proves invaluable when the trio encounter one of the old Guardians, an insane killer cyborg bear named Shardik, who guards one of The Twelve Portals Of The Beam. Not long after, Roland collapses! His actions in the previous book have created a paradox and now Roland feels as though he too is being driven insane!
Meanwhile, in New York of our world, Jake Chambers likewise feels as though he is being driven mad. He has visions of a future that never came to pass in which he died and traveled to another world and becomes obsessed with doors; convinced that one of them will take him back and restore his peace of mind.
Slowly Roland realises that the Ka-Tet he thought was formed is actually missing one of its component parts and that the only way to resolve this is to bring Jake back and restore the balance of Ka; another word for Fate or what must be. The only problem is this means dealing with one of The Speaking Demons and their price is always high and must always be paid in full....
This is a much better novel than the previous one, The Drawing Of The Three, and there is much more going on right from the start. We also get to see a hell of a lot more of Roland's world along with plenty of evidence that, the further it moves on, the more his and our world have begun to overlap! World War Two Nazi bombers, Electric lights and recordings of ZZ Top are just some of the things that have crossed over into Mid-World and there is a strong indication evident that the closer Roland's Ka-Tet come to The Tower, the more the differences between worlds has begun to unravel.....
The book ends on a real cliff-hanger so, if you haven't already, it is a good idea to make sure that you have book 4:Wizard And Glass ready to hand to continue the story as soon as you finish! Certainly now, at almost the mid-way point in the series, the Dark Tower novels have never appeared stronger and there is a reason that these books are held in high regard by most, if not all, Stephen King fans!
And The Dark Tower draws ever more closer.....
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 Waste Lands, is the third in the series. There are a further 4 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. My copy includes some wonderful sketches which help bring the story to life in front of you.
Description: "This is the path of the Beam, the way to the Tower, and the time of your Drawing. Be true; stand; come to me.
Through time and waste and divided dreams, the last of the gunslingers turn their faces to the Turtle and travel the path of the Beam. And come, when Eddie unlocks the key from the branch and Roland gives the promise he may not keep, to the Drawing of Jake, the undead boy who is one of the many who are one... Bound together in thought and treachery, pursued by the Ageless Stranger, they face the perils of Lud and the Tick-Tock Man to reach the Cradle of Blaine the Mono, who is truth and danger and will ransom their lives for a riddle.
And still the Dark Tower beckons, where death lies in the heart of the rose..."
The first book in the series, The Gunslinger, introduced us to the Gunslinger Roland and told us of his quest towards the Dark Tower. During the second book we witness the drawing of the three and see how destiny has lead this group to come together.
The Waste Lands goes on to tell the story of the final drawing from our world, that of the boy Jake who we have seen in both of the previous books. There was a point when I finished the second book that I was quite annoyed that a seemingly glaring plot hole had been avoided and swept under the carpet. Upon reading this next book I am glad to say that it delves straight into the problem and tackles it in much more depth to satisfy my scepticism completely.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book as you get to build on your idea of what Roland's world is really like. There are all sorts of conflicting pieces of information and it all seems even more strange, especially with the contrast between the New York scenes for Jake's part of the story. It all gets a bit strange after the group of gunslingers, now complete, head on their way towards Lud, the city that houses a railway that can carry them closer towards their end destination of the Dark Tower. The environment becomes altogether different and there are hordes of strange characters that our gunslingers encounter here.
There was plenty of detailed and descriptive writing that helped my imagination to conjure up a vision of the scenes described, but I just didn't like what I was seeing! It all felt a bit confused and dramatic in a cheesy sort of way. I was drawing comparisons to some of the dystopian future world movies I have seen that were made in the 80's...now don't get me wrong I like this type of thing in the medium of film. But this book took up a good 2 weeks worth of my reading time and I didn't get the sort of satisfaction that I usually do from reading a Stephen King novel. It felt laboured and the characters were presented without much to build on their personalities.
I was glad to reach the end of the book as things picked up then and captured my interest again. I didn't think that The Waste Lands was a particularly strong part of the Dark Tower series, but I am not discouraged from finishing the rest of the books. I will be continuing to journey with Roland and his newly completed band of gunslingers, and I hope that the story will retain some more of its original styling that drew me in at the beginning.
Finally, having managed to survive the beach from hell with its three doors and monstrous lobster creatures from 'The Drawing of the Three', the second book in this extremely long-winded and time-consuming series, Roland and his new companions, Eddie and Susannah [aka Odetta - aka Detta], have taken a bit of time off their search for the Dark Tower in order to recuperate.
During their brief 'time-out', Roland teaches Eddie and Susannah how to shoot, and they learn how to survive in Roland's unfriendly world... which is a good thing, because lurking in the forest just within reach of them, is a bear, who like every other creature in Roland's world, has grown beyond its 'natural' size and possesses a really bad temper.
When Eddie is targeted by the humongous bear from hell, salvation comes in the unlikely form of Susannah... she may not have any legs, but she definitely knows what to do with a gun.
With their lessons learned, the bear as dead as a doorknob and Roland feeling better than ever, the trio carefully make their way to the bear's den, hoping that from there they will be able to pick up the trail to the Dark Tower. Unfortunately for them, nothing is simple in Roland's world, and although they are heading in the right direction, fate is playing another of her mysterious and dangerous games with them... Jake, the young boy who died in Roland's world in the first book, but then was saved from ever entering Roland's world in the first place in the second book, makes yet another appearance in 'The Waste Lands'. Confused? Don't be... it actually makes perfect sense in the books.
Jake, like Roland, is now slowly going insane... he's hearing voices in his head... one voice keeps telling him that he was hit by a car as he walked to school... the second voice is telling him that he obviously never died [after all, he's still breathing isn't he?] and that he must be going crazy... but then he has these strange memories that couldn't possibly be real of Roland and a strange world, and he is plagued by strange dreams...
Roland is also slowly going insane... the voices in his head keep arguing with each other... 'Jake died'... 'you let him die' a voice shouts at him... the other voice tells him 'there is no boy'... but Roland has memories...
Eddie is having dreams. In his dreams he speaks with a boy... a boy named Jake... the boy wants to cross over into Eddie's world in order to be with Roland and to join the search for the Dark Tower...
Susannah, contrary to her two companions, is neither hearing voices nor having dreams, which is probably just as well because that would be an added ten chapters, in the very least...
Although Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' series revolves around some really great characters that are incredibly realistic, and although the story itself keeps you wondering how it's all going to end... unfortunately... the end is nowhere in sight. In fact, there is no end to this book - it just stops in the middle of a chapter, and is followed by a note by the master himself, Stephen King, telling his readers that if they like the third book and want another, and if he's still alive to write a fourth, then he will... at some point.
Now, if I had read this book when it first came out back in 1991 and had turned to the final page only to discover that there was no ending and that the author might or might not write a fourth book, I think I would have been royally pi**ed off. As it is, although a bit annoyed at the way this book ended, I can at least reach for the fourth book which was published in 1997.
Never a great Stephen King fan, I suspect that if I had been a fan back in the early 1990's, and had immersed myself in Roland of Gilead's adventures only to discover that not only did the third book not end, but that there might not be a fourth, I know for a fact that I would have been fuming. I felt, as I read King's note at the end of the book, that it was a bit of a copout, that it wasn't the readers' interest he needed in order to pursue the series, but more was it inspiration that was needed... even he admitted in his author's note in the first two books that he had no idea how it was all going to end, or even what was coming next.
It was ever so obvious during the reading of this 580+ page book that the author didn't really seem to know where it was all going. With the fillers [useless prattle meant to fill up space] increasing in number as I read and beginning to eclipse the story itself, I found myself losing interest and had to put the book down for a few days in order to recuperate from the mind-numbing prattle. I was reminded of the reason I stopped reading King in the first place... the useless jabbering.
I can say, in all truth, that although the story still intrigued me, I found it extremely difficult to finish this book.
Unlike the first book which was much shorter and focused on Roland, or the second book which was, although a bit longer, intriguing enough with its mysterious doors to make you go on regardless of the increasing prattle... 'The Waste Lands', although interesting, would have been a really good book with the fat trimmed off, which, in my opinion, would have amounted to 200+ pages of excess and unnecessary prattle removed. Stephen King obviously does not live by the 'less is more' motto... or even the 'short and sweet' motto. Unfortunately for me, the fourth book in the series [Wizard and Glass] is 840 pages long, and the other 3 books are even longer!
The reason these books are getting longer is because there are more characters - within each chapter there are 'sub-chapters' which are focused on one of the main characters. In 'The Waste Lands', within each chapter are 'sub-chapters' that focus on Eddie's 'dream' world, his 'awake' world, Jake's 'dream' world, Jake's 'awake' world, and then there are portions allocated to Susannah so that the reader can see things from her perspective, and then, of course, there are chapters allocated to the hero, Roland of Gilead, and his recollections of a world long gone - and, let's not forget, there is the story itself that is comprised of all the characters. There's a lot to take on board, and although interesting, sorting through the numerous 'sub-chapters' does tend to become quite a tedious task - not to mention the fact that there is repetition in dialogue because of different character perspectives, but also because a lot of the dialogue has to do with the first two books.
Although I really enjoyed the first two books, this one wasn't as good and I had trouble focusing... at one point I'd actually turned two pages before I realised that I had no idea what I'd just read. When I re-read the pages, I realised I had tuned out because the only thing appearing on these two pages was an extremely long-winded description of a city. I also noticed, as the book went on, King's use of the 'F' word took on a life of its own. King is obviously quite fond of the word, and a few other juicy expletives to go with it...
I have removed the fourth book in the series from the cupboard, but the sheer size of it is putting me off because I know that within this book there will be more 'sub-chapters' and long-winded descriptions of birds, creatures, cities, the weather, and whatever else has managed to capture King's imagination. Reading a Stephen King book is often like listening to a broken record that keeps jumping and repeating the same melody over and over again.
The Dark Tower is the epic saga written by horror author Stephen King, and is regarded as his epic series of 7 books forming one story. Every author dreams of embarking on their ultimate tale: few realise it. Here, King has relaised his works in 7 segments, and The Wastelands is the third of 7 parts to his epic tale of Roland the Gunslinger of Gilead, who is on a quest to reach the Dark Tower.
The most intriguing part of the tale is that, with each episode, King himself is unsure as to exactly how the tale will end, or where each episode actually leads, and this is part of the magic. The first two books in the series, 'The Gunslinger' and 'The Drawing of the Three', are more for background than adventure, and set up part of Roland's troop who will accompany him on his quest. Along the way, various doors between his world (a cross between the Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings and a typical Western film) and ours become apparent with different times producing different characters along the way, and it is from these times that Roland drawes his posse and uses their abilities and strengths to forge his way ever closer to the Dark Tower.
While the first two books served mainly as plot developers, this third book actually gets a bit gritty and develops not only the main characters but also the plot and the reasons for us reading the books: Roland's quest for the Dark Tower. What the Tower is, we still have no idea, but its strength is unquestionable as we experience the draw and pull it has on Roland himself as well as his companions Susannah and Eddie.
Also rejoining the fray is the boy Jake, previously met at the end of 'The Gunslinger' as Roland had to sacrifice him momentarily for the quest. In strange style, Jake reemerges back into the plot, as the descriptions King uses develop even further and we are taken deeper into Roland's world, and links between that and our world are ever increasing.
For those of you who haven't read any previous books in the Dark Tower series, I strongly suggest you start back at Book 1: The Gunslinger. If this is your first experience of the quest, it will confuse you. The books are designed to be read as a series, adn it is this way I recommend doing it. However, a more revised version of the saga features each book with a brief history of what has happened before, enabling you to read even if you have not experienced the first two chapters. There will be elements without answers, but the bulk are answsered in the author's summary at the beginning of the more recent versions of 'The Wastelands'.
Either way, I highly recommend this books. As part of the series of the Dark Tower books, it is the best so far, both in terms of plot and also the development of the saga. It also reads a lot better, and I finished this books easily twice as quickly as the previous two, despite there being many more pages. The plot flows much better, and when there is a brief splitting of tales, King flicks between them very ably.
The characterisation is key, and although the bulk of this is done in the first two books, it is easy to grasp a concept of the characters we are dealing with here. King knows he has a number of books to come where some fo the characters may be developed further: similarly, he has had a couple of books already to do some developing. Thus, it is easy to picture at times the people involved and even at times predict their moves. This in no particular way detracts from or improves the reading experience: it is great either way.
Curiously, I am rating this part of the series at 4 stars, the same level as the other books. The Wastelands is, in general, better and easier to read than the previous Dark Tower books, but still not good enough to rate at the top level. I highly recommmend reading this one, as I do the same for the rest of the series, all 7 of the books. It is well worth reading the all in order for a clear picture. The Wastelands is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £7.99.
The Waste Lands is the third book in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. This book begins some months after the end of Book 2 - The Drawing of the Three and starts with Roland teaching his new companions Susannah and Eddie the ways of being a "Gunslinger" At the same time Roland is coping with slowly losing his mind following the sighting in New York in book 2 of John "Jake" Chambers the boy he let drop to his death in the first book.
During this book we see Roland's ka-tet completed with the addition of "Jake" (eventually following some tense drama that has some serious repercussions in a later part of the long tale.) and Oy the Billy Bumbler (A dog-like creature which the ability to mime human speech.)
Despite the length of the third book that the story moves on at a swift pace as Roland's ka-tet move from the forest of Shardik to the Great city of Lud and finally onto Blaine the mono for what becomes the journey from hell.
The waste lands is my favourite book in the dark tower series as it was probably the one I found hardest to put down, the story flows well from the first page to the last and you just can't wait to find out what's around that next corner.....
well...what can be said about The Dark Tower series that i haven't already said??? With so much already spoken it's hard not to delve into a plot synopsis rather than a good op! anyway, i'll give it a go. The Waste Lands is the third book in The Dark Tower series, and in my opinon probably the most informing of the four. Beginning where The Drawing of The Three left off, we find Eddie Susannah and Roland once again making their way along towards the Dark Tower. What becomes apparent is that Roland is losing his mind. How? On letting Jake fall in to the abyss in The Gunslinger and then killing Jack Mort in the The Drawing of The Three, Roland has opened up a paradox in his mind...one which is tearing him apart, Jake too. His mind tells him that there was a boy, but on killing Mort, Roland has prevented Mort from ever reaching Jake...if so, why does he have memories of Jake still eating him alive? The key - quite literally - to solving this lies in Eddies hands...and an old run-down house in New York... We are presented with more information on the actual Tower in this novel, being introduced to a rose which grows in a vacant lot in New York...somehow linked to the Tower...it might even BE the Tower, and as King informs us, that rose is in danger...presumably from the Crimson King, who we know from Insomnia and Black House, Roland however does not. Th usual mystery of King's Dark Tower world is still present, more so with the doors that can link our world to Roland's and perhaps other worlds. The presence of the beams are introduced...some sort of holding device that keeps the Tower standing (we know from Black House that the Crimson King is trying to destroy these) and it is these beams tat the Three must follow in order to reach the Tower in the middle. The presence of the 'old people' is there, enhancing the opinion of Roland's world as being one following some sort of 'great war'...the monorail, be
ing their creation...Blaine. The largest of the books so far (before Wizard and Glass) The Waste Lands certainly fills in alot of the blanks created by King previously. Amazing visual imagery and excellent, engaging prose make this part in the series the most enjoyable to read. And the Tower is closer...
At the end of the beach where the land fell into the sea, Roland and his new companions set off inland to continue their journey in search of the Dark Tower. As Eddie and Susannah are new to their roles, Roland has to teach them how to shoot and hunt in order to survive in his world. They spend a few weeks learning to shoot with their hands not their eyes and their hearts not their heads and above all, not to forget the face of their fathers. Roland was taught a rhyme to this effect as a child and he now begins the task of teaching his pupils. But Eddie and Susannah are born gunslingers and both quickly learn their lessons. It is ka – fate, destiny. The third book in the Dark Tower series has been fabulously written and continues on the journey only a few weeks and a few miles from where the second book finishes. Stephen King has again used his literary genius to completely absorb you into Roland’s world. You can imagine the great bear known as Mir to the old people who once populated this wooded area. Many thousands of years before that, the bear was known as Shardik by the great ancients who built the enormous cyborg bear. The three ka-tet, Roland, Eddie and Susannah, have to fight for their lives when this ancient relic tries to kill them. After many, many centuries the computer that is Shardik has finally taken a trip to the funny farm. The computer has gone insane. He believes that people are the reason for his illness. SK has described the writhing white maggoty parasites, which resides within the bears brain, so well that it is actually repulsive to read when he describes the hot cess-pool of squirming madness which violently erupts from the bear when he goes into a coughing, sneezing fit. The bear is one of twelve gate-keepers. They guard the portals between worlds, or so the legend goes from Roland’s childhood. King literally grabs your attention in this book and it is extremely difficult to put down. The
immense feeling of time portrayed is incredible. There are so many things that are mentioned during the book that even Roland does not know. He doesn’t know why or how his world is in such a sorry state. He only knows that the world has moved on. There seems to be few people alive and well. Those who survived whatever holocaust are ancient and can barely remember the old things of the world. Much of their information is in the form of old wives tales as there is no concrete evidence, no documented evidence of the ways of the previous generations appear to have survived. Indeed, the world seems to be expanding and distance is now far greater. Time has also been affected and a wrist-watch from ‘our’ world is useless here. The trio have followed the bears back trail so that they can find the portal it was built to guard. The twelve portals are connected by 6 beams, which are like energy. The Dark Tower is located at the centre point and that is where they have to get. They have a long and arduous journey ahead and time is short. King’s portrayal of the beam is incredible. He has explained how to see the beam and has even invented a type of compass for Roland’s world that will always point in the direction of the beam. The way the clouds seem to drift slightly, strangely along the path of the beam and how it affects birds and trees alike. It is like a magnetic energy, which governs the fabric of not only Roland’s world, but all worlds within the universe. I can’t really spoil the plot of this book, as the plot is extremely simple. They have to reach the Dark Tower to save all worlds and universes alike. But aside from that, the story is so excellent, it really doesn’t need any twists and turns to detract from the plot as the nature of a journey is that you can have many adventures along the way and it doesn’t matter what they entail as they are still en route to their final destina
tion. Stephen King has himself admitted that he still doesn’t know what the eventual outcome of this quest will be, although he is currently writing the fifth book in the series. This book, in fact, the whole series is so intricately bound together that there is nowhere that leaves you feeling cheated. He may mention something in the first book yet not bring it up again until the fourth book but when you read the way he suddenly ties something together you realise what incredible talent this man has. It may be just a small detail and you may have passed it off as a minor point, which doesn’t need explaining but King does not forget. Even down to paradoxes between worlds, King has managed to tie them together seamlessly and flawlessly. If you ever need quantum physics explained to you, Stephen King is your man! After drawing Jake from Eddie and Susannah’s world in order to close the doubled memories of both Roland and Jake, which was as a consequence of events in the first and second books, they eventually reach a visibly dead city, where the few survivors are still at war with each other, although their reasons are long forgotten. They eventually end up on a train, which is aware but also going insane. Blaine the pain. The end of this book is quite unusual as it finishes with Blaine the mono intent on committing suicide and killing the group with it. Even King has apologised for this ending but explains that he felt it necessary. I must admit although strange to be left in limbo, it didn’t matter too much as I had the fourth book to hand to start reading immediately! I probably would have been most put out however if I’d discovered these books before he’d written the next one! I would suggest that you make sure you have both three and four before you start reading The Waste Lands. Please don’t think that there’s no point reading this series now I’ve mentioned the end of the
book. It really doesn’t matter as there is so much more to these books. You know from very early on in the book that they are going to end up on the train. It’s essential in order to cross the thousands of miles of wasteland between the city of Lud and the termination point of Topeka. His description of the poisoned wasteland is outstanding. The hideously mutated life which tentatively hangs on to existence. The blackened waste of dead and poisoned landscape. It is so vividly described that you can believe you are there and will shudder at the horror the ancients have bestowed upon their once fertile land. It’s a real thinking point about the way we treat our own world. I won’t mention the nature of the incredible wonders of the train, other than it’s very futuristic and so imaginative. This book is thrilling to read right from the word go. It would be a good book to take on holiday, as it’s so easy to lose track of time when you are reading it. I’ve often suddenly realised that I intended to go to bed hours earlier due to work the next day, but have been so engrossed that I’ve been completely sucked in by the Dark Tower and am immensely tired the following day! But I don’t care. This is the best book/series ever written and I urge you to give this series a go if you haven’t already. I can’t imagine anyone would regret it. I’ve already started re-reading the fourth and that review will be written as soon as I’ve finished. Hope you come back to read that once it’s done! I wait with bated breath for the swift arrival of number five.
I want to make two main points here - 1). I am deeply immersed in the Dark Tower world King has created. Willingly drowning. I don't want to leave. From this perspective, it's sometimes easy to forget how much of a departure this type of tale is for King. Personally, I love all his books, but I know that to many, his storytelling can sometimes seem samey. An example would be the many times he has written about Maine and writers in his books. This, however, is completely different - if you've always liked King but sometimes get tired of the familiar plots, please, please, PLEASE give the Dark Tower series a try. You'll be glad you did. If you love everything King writes, like me, then this'll be no exception. Pick it up. 2). You have no idea how much I envy you lucky pups who are reading this, trying to decide whether or not you should buy (Or even read) this next book. When I first read The Waste Lands, the book after it (Entitled 'Wizard and Glass') had not yet been released. It took about four years for it to come out after I had read 'The Waste Lands'. Bear in mind also that I came to the Dark Tower series late - some years after it had first been released. The Wastelands ends on an enormous cliffhanger. This is okay. You can now get the next book. *Phew* Perhaps you don't want to buy the next book (Your opinion will change, trust me). No matter; Get it out of the library if need be. The point is - you can get the fourth book, if you want. This is an amazing luxury. It was torture having to wait. My points made, I suppose I should fill you in on the basic plotline. 'The Waste Lands' continues on from the second book in the Dark Tower series, 'The Drawing of The Three'. Time has moved on by a few months; the characters drawn from Earth by the gunslinger in the previous installment are starting to get used to the strange, post-post-apoca
lyptic Dark Tower world, with all the monsters and stories it contains. Slowly, The Gunslinger and his party head towards the mysterious Dark Tower, which The Gunslinger believes is the cause for his world's delapidated state. Along the way, in this installment of the journey, the party will encounter an ancient and enormous guardian of the Beams; A maniacal train, it's AI warped after hundreds (thousands?) of years of service; An evil force which must be confronted to retrieve another member of the party; And a recognisable character from previous King literature. I'm not giving it away - If you've read the book in question you'll recognise him at once. A welcome return, I can assure you. All in all, a superb read - A few hundred more pages to immerse yourself in and escape from dull reality for a while.
In this fantastical third book in the series, Stephen King once again takes readers on a journey of incomparable imagination. Roland, the Last Gunslinger, is moving ever closer to the Dark Tower, which haunts his dreams and nightmares. As he and his friends cross a desert of damnation in their macabre new world, revelations begin to unfold about who - and what - is driving him forward. A blend of riveting action and powerful drama, The Waste Lands leaves readers breathlessly awaiting the next chapter. Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower Series is unlike anything you've ever read. Here is Stephen King's most visionary piece of storytelling, a magical mix of fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.
'The Waste Lands', the 3rd book in the Dark Tower series, begins a couple of months after its predecessor, 'The Drawing of the Three', and we join Roland and his new companions as they journey towards the Tower. This is a long book which doesn't cover as much ground as you'd expect from its length - King goes into a lot of detail which inevitably draws out the story - but as in the previous book, its characters are its main attraction. Whilst Eddie and Susannah grow close, Roland's mind is finding it harder and harder to cope with a paradox he created during the events of 'The Drawing of the Three', and although he bonds with his quartet (made a quintet by the arrival of a dog-like creature called Oy who provides a certain 'ahhh' factor), you can't help wondering what lengths he'll go to to ensure he reaches the Tower... Events in the story will create echos in the memories of King's "Constant Readers" of one of his other, extremely popular books, and indeed the final segment reintroduces us to the great enemy from that same tale. This is what us Constant Readers love, the connections between King's writings, and you won't be disappointed here. The book ends on a cliffhanger, so you might find it useful to have a copy of the next in the series close to hand... n.b. preceded by 'The Gunslinger' and 'The Drawing of the Three'; followed by 'Wizard and Glass'.