Dark Tower, Books Two & Three: Dum-a-chum? & Blaine is a pain.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Dark Tower obsession update: I finished up Book 5 (Wolves of the Calla) last week and I simultaneous need to know how it all ends and don't ever want it finish. Is that possible?

So that this blog doesn't become completely overrun by Dark Tower love (which might not all be that bad, I believe - say thankya!), I've decided that I am going to give brief reviews of the others in the series together (my review of Book 1 is here). Today's post will be Books 2 & 3, and then in a few weeks I'll post on King's latest installment, the Wind Through the Keyhole (which is set in the time between Books 3 & 4), the novelette The Little Sisters of Eluria, and Book 4 (Wizard and Glass). 

There are definitely more comprehensive reviews and read alongs of this series out there, by the way, for other Dark Tower nerds. Tor did a read-a-long of the whole series that is well done -- I recommend it for someone in need of a more substantial DT fix. Ultimately I don't want to reinvent the wheel with my reviews, so I have some ideas of other things I can do to share my love of this series (a song list for each novel? dream cast for a big screen adaptation? reviews of related King novels and the way they tie in to this series?). But I'll start with my meandering and hopefully not too spoilerly reviews! 

Book Two: Drawing of the Three

Rating: 5/5 - Goodreads

The second novel in the Dark Tower series, Drawing of the Three introduces a twist -- Roland enters our world! In my opinion, King successfully shifts the Dark Tower story from a dark and weird western to something akin a real epic in this novel. 

Roland must use three doors that open to different times in our world and 'draw' his companions. Bad stuff happens. (As an aside -- I am not sure if I'll ever be able to look at lobsters the same way again -- thanks Stephen King!)

In my opinion, Stephen King accomplished something special in the characterization of Roland in this book -- he isn't always likable (as a reader your still smarting from his decisions in the first book), but somehow you are charmed nonetheless by how completely clueless he is by somethings in our world. He cannot pronounce aspirin. And his experience with Coca Cola! These are some of my favorite scenes of the series.

Eddie and Susannah/Odetta/Detta are the two main characters introduced in this second installment. Eddie's story in this book is my favorite -- he has a complex and interesting storyline struggling with addiction and family issues. Susannah's storyline (and coupling with Eddie) was less successful for me, but I have grown to appreciate her character further along in the series.

Book Three: The Waste Lands

Rating: 5/5 - Goodreads

Whereas in Book Two you begin to see the epic nature of this series, in Book Three you get to really see the weird. To me the Dark Tower series is not epic fantasy or epic sci-fi... it is epic weird. And I mean that in a good way! In this book we meet a psychotic riddling train, see a certain mysterious and beautiful rose, watch as someone tries to survive a man-eating house, and also observe what happens when someone has to grapple with paradox. What is not to love in all that?

In this book, you also get to meet Oy, the billy-bumbler (dog like creature) who becomes a member of the ka-tet. And you also get to see Jake again. Stephen King is great at writing many things, but I think his ability to write youth is superb.

My least favorite part in this book was a scene involving sexual violence against a woman -- I am not a huge fan of the way Stephen King seems to bring it in many of his works. I think he might do it for the ultimate sense of horror it invokes -- but it is still not my favorite thing.

Also -- I understand that there was a 6 year delay between when this book came out and Book 4 -- which must have been horrible for fans at the time. This book ends in a cliff hanger, so I recommend having the next in the series on hand when you end! 

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