Categories
Dystopian Fantasy Science Fiction

The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Book Thoughts)

After all, there are other worlds than these and that fucking train rolls through all of them

-Jake Chambers

The Gunslinger was weird wild west and a chase across world and time.

The Drawing of the Three was alternate reality, gangs of New York, and some psychological thriller.

In The Waste Lands... King took on a dystopian, post apocalyptic type storyline here.

The craziest thing I’m finding in this series is how different each book is, while they’re also linked together in continuity. I think King is finally realizing that this is going to be a long, epic story, and he got the characters supposedly about halfway to the Dark Tower here in book three.

What I really want to say is that I am living and dying for the full color illustrations in this book 😍

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Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Waste Lands
  • Series: The Dark Tower, #3
  • Author: Stephen King
  • Publisher & Release: originally Grant, 1991
  • Length: 448 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐✨ the best book so far, it has a lot of great elements but got excessively vulgar at times

Here’s the synopsis:

Several months have passed, and Roland’s two new tet-mates have become proficient gunslingers. Eddie Dean has given up heroin, and Odetta’s two selves have joined, becoming the stronger and more balanced personality of Susannah Dean. But while battling The Pusher in 1977 New York, Roland altered Ka by saving the life of Jake Chambers, a boy who—in Roland’s where and when—has already died. Now Roland and Jake exist in different worlds, but they are joined by the same madness: the paradox of double memories. Roland, Susannah, and Eddie must draw Jake into Mid-World then follow the Path of the Beam all the way to the Dark Tower. But nothing is easy in Mid-World. Along the way our tet stumbles into the ruined city of Lud, and are caught between the warring gangs of the Pubes and the Grays. The only way out of Lud is to wake Blaine the Mono, an insane train that has a passion for riddling, and for suicidal journeys.

There you have it; riddling and suicidal journeys, more or less the plot of the entire book! I should add that I read the revised edition, released in ’05, but unlike The Gunslinger I have no idea what was revised. The original hardcover had full color illustrations.

Anyway – the best parts of this book were the journey finally getting underway, and the characters coming out of their shells and into their roles.

Beating heroin was child’s play compared to beating your childhood

Eddie is going to be a force of nature going forward I think! Susannah is also much more stable now and both are settling into their gunslinger roles.

I like Jake too, and Oy, the fuzzy little doglike wild animal companion that showed up, was a highlight of the entire book. Bring in a loyal animal companion and books get so much better.

Roland, Roland, Roland. Roland finally got to play Gunslinger too in all it’s historic roles, like moderator, diplomat, teacher, and we saw the extent of it through Susannah’s eyes as she realized the many non firearm related things he was capable of.  Roland – if I daresay – gets to play father now as well, he seems to have adopted Jake (and Oy too).

Blaine … Blaine the suicidal train. King loves to take innocent children’s things and make them absolutely terrible.  Here he twists our (also absolutely terrible) Charlie the Choo-Choo.

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So the characters are bad ass, the journey is started, and King took on a true dystopia post apocalyptic vibe for the last part of the book.  I wasn’t so much into the Lud part except for Blaine. There was also an extra crass Susannah vs the demon part prior to that, and I think we are going to see a very… Unhuman spawn at some point now.

Do ye want to put away your iron, or shall we all toddle off to hell on the same handcart?”

King did nail the “the characters get trapped by a psycho in the remains of a large city” part of the post apocalyptic journey trope.

The cliffhanger was something else too, I thought King’s apology for it in the afterward was hilarious.

Roland Vs Blaine, aka my favorite part:

I cannot call you a sucker of cocks, for instance, because you have no mouth and no cock. I cannot say you are viler than the vilest beggar who ever crawled the gutters of the lowest street in creation, because even such a creature is better than you; you have no knees on which to crawl, and would not fall upon them even if you did, for you have no conception of such a human flaw as mercy. I cannot even say you fucked your mother, because you had none. 

Long story short – KILL IF YOU WILL BUT COMMAND ME NOT! YOU FORGOT THE FACES OF THOSE WHO MADE YOU!

Roland kicked so much ass I just wanted to applaud him at the end.

Overall… I didn’t love certain parts of this one but by far it’s the best written of the books so far.

A note on the audio: narrated by Frank Muller, from Simon & Schuster audio in 2015. Approximately 18 hours. I listened to the back half of the book and loved it for sure


My Thoughts So Far:

The Gunslinger

The Drawing of the Three 

Categories
audiobooks Fantasy Fiction

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (Book Thoughts)

Continuing my The Dark Tower series read, The Drawing of the Three is even weirder than The Gunslinger! I imagine the conversation when planning this book went something like –

King: I want to write about the gangs of NY and schizophrenics

Tabitha: yeah well you started with a weird horror fantasy western

King: I’ll incorporate interdimensional travel into the story, it’ll be fine

Tabitha: impossible

King: hold my beer

Ha .. ha… Ha… Actually …. KA

Ka?

“Kaka,” Eddie said, and laughed. “Come on Roland. Let’s take a hike”

Alright alright most joking aside, let’s talk a bit about this wonderfully weird book

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Drawing of the Three
  • Series: The Dark Tower #2
  • Author: Stephen King
  • Publisher & Release: 1987, I read the Signet edition
  • Length: 463 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ yes for those who can stomach the typical King level of vulgarity 

Here’s the Synopsis:

While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into the life of a different person living in contemporary New York.

Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean and the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.

Once again, Stephen King has masterfully interwoven dark, evocative fantasy and icy realism.

Ah gosh it’s hard to review these kinds of books because I know I’m not adding anything to the Canon, so I just talk about my experience.

The Gunslinger was weird and wild and this book utterly surpassed it in that regard. Roland has parlayed with the man in black, apparently for 10 years, so this installment picks up afterward on the beach with a pile of bones and the remnants of a tarot reading

I still think King just tossed a bunch of random ass ideas together to create Roland’s ka-tet.  Gangs, sure why not.  A crazy schizophrenic lady, sure why not.  Gotta get a serial killer in there too… and the funny thing is that at the end of the day, it worked

The Odette/Detta character annoyed me senseless, probably because of how accurately King portrayed schizophrenia/multiple personality disorder.  Props, props, I just found her to be way too vulgar and had me thinking about excessively vulgar patients I’ve dealt with, and yeah, no thanks. Her back story is great though.

 I loved Eddie, and I’m glad he arrived first in the text. He’s like a lost boy with a rough family history and bad decisions.  The whole storyline with Balazar and the drugs was pretty entertaining, then you toss in the Eddie & Roland dynamic and you get wonderful madness   Roland trying to make sense of NYC was equally amazing, I think King nailed the entire WTF of the experience and created a fully wild novel

Seeing as how Roland had no freaking idea what was going on in the modern world, he took it in incredible stride. Definitely my favorite part was how he kept misinterpreting the words and having to think on his feet

The journey from the terror of the beginning to the camaraderie at the end was a wild one.

What does the lobstrosity say? Well – you should listen to the audio to find out.  I listened to a few hours.  Frank Muller took over this narration (through Simon & Schuster audio) and the whole thing is about 13 hours if you go that route. 

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There are lobstrosity tshirts… That’s all 

The Dark Tower Series reviews:

1 – The Gunslinger