Newest Review: ... book called Charlie the Choo Choo (see later). The journey through town following the purchase of the book leads Jake to a vacant lot wher... more
Roland and his posse stretch towards the Dark Tower
Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
Member Name: pmcds
Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
Advantages: Excvellent characterisation and development
Disadvantages: None of any import
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.
Summary: Great third installment of the Dark Tower series