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