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The Waste Lands - Not a Waste of Space
Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
Member Name: joannavos
Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
Date: 27/06/01, updated on 27/06/01 (180 review reads)
Advantages: Excellently written, Intricately woven together, Descriptive beyond belief
Disadvantages: Ends without conclusion as it continues directly in book four
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.