on July 8, 2004
The Waste Lands is the best in my opinion so far as the first three books. I also thought this was the most enjoyable of the first three to read, though a couple spots where King overwrote.
It was kind of dissapointing at the ending to just leave the book hanging like it did, but it was a good idea, cuz it will lure people to read the fourth right away.
It was interesting how the ka-tet all had in some way knew what was going to happen in the future. It was kingd of interesting probably the most interesting with Jake. How he came back to Rolands world after he dies? or did he not?
I also liked the fact that this book was the first to introduce Flagg or a hint that it was Flagg. I basically thought that because of- MY LIFE FOR YOU! which was Trashcanman's favorite line in the Stand. I'm sure thier be a lot more of Flagg and the Tick-Tock MAn in Wizard and Glass.
So overall this is the best so far in the series. I also thought of it as being the most complete of the first three.
So if youve read the first two I strongley recommend THe Waste Lands.
on June 16, 2004
The third volume of the much longer tale again continues the trek of Roland, now with Eddie and Susannah along the path of the beam. This tale picks up approx. 6 months after the confrontation on the Western Sea and Eddie and Susannah are on their way to becoming Gunslingers themselves. Roland however, is slowly losing his mind, due to a temporal paradox in which he both thinks that Jake is alive and that he is dead. After a showdown with one of the 12 guardians of the beams, they continue along their way. Roland is again re-united with Jake Chambers in a speaking ring outside the small town of River Crossing, and the full Ka-Tet of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy (a billybumbler picked up along the way) continue along into Lud. In Lud, there are many perils, until finally our heroes get aboard Blaine the Mono. Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth. The book ends as a cliffhanger, which at the time of first publication was most annoying, primarily because of the long delay between DT3 and DT4. But, with the series coming to a close, the cliffhanger only adds to the mysticism of the over-all story. Another triumph of a tale and another step up in the overall series.
on June 16, 2004
The Waste Lands is, in my opinion, the best in the Dark Tower series. It starts out a little slow but once we get to the divided Jake, who is once again alive due to a paradox created when Roland killed Jack Mort in the Drawing of the Three, and follow him around New York while he loses his mind and compulsively opens doors, trying to find his way back to Roland's world, the story becomes fascinating. Here we also have a set-up for future stories, such as when Susannah must have sex with a demon in order to save Eddie and get Jacke through the doorway to their world. This will become all too important later on in the series, namely in books 5&6. And when we meet Blaine the Mono, who is a pain, we will never forget him and his maniacal laughter and obsession with riddles.
This book kept me drawn to it, and holds true to the surreal and fascianting world of the gunslinger, Roland, and his new ka-tet. There is a lot of story here, as well, not just pointless ambling like in Wolves of the Calla. Recomended to DT fans big-big.
on May 14, 2004
The Waste Lands is a direct continuation of the events that occurred in The drawing of the three. Roland, Eddie and Susannah have moved away from the beaches of the western sea and into the great forest about 60 miles north. As they cross the forest, the three are etching further along one of the 6 beams leading to the dark tower. Roland continues to be plagued by nightmares and voices about Jake, the young kid he was separated from at the conclusion of the first volume. Jake is alive and well but he is nowhere to be found in Roland's world as he is instead back in his world, the NYC of present time. He too, is plagued by nightmares and voices about his lost companion and he is desperately searching for the door that will lead him out of his world and back into Roland's...
Whereas the second volume was drawing the group and setting things up, it is in this third volume of the series where the "ka-tet" is making leaps and bounds and etching ever closer to the tower. Eddie and Susannah are no longer reluctant and pessimistic about the strange world they were thrown into, they now accept this adventure as being their fate and Roland as their friend. They are now fully trained gunslingers and ready to face the perils that lie ahead.
The New York chapters in this entry are even better than the last one, as we follow Jake desperately trying to find a way back in into Roland's world. It was kind of neat how Roland and Jake were both simultaneously going insane while apart from each other. Once Jake finally manages to make it back into Roland's world and join his travelling companions to the tower is once the pace accelerates in dramatic fashion. Over several days, the Ka-Tet travel through the great forest, across the desert, stop into strange towns, cross a perilous bridge, pick up a new travelling companion and much, much more. The Waste Lands is high adventure unlike anything witnessed in the previous two entries of the series.
Again, King leaves the reader with a bunch of head-scratching thoughts throughout. Most intriguing to me is trying to make sense of wether some of the characters in Roland's world are parallel versions of King characters in others of his novels. Is Walter, aka the wizard magician aka the man in black, in effect Randall Flagg? Is the tick-tock man the trash can man in the Stand? After all, we are told straight up that Charlie the choo-choo train(in our world) is the equivalent of Blaine the monorail(in Roland's world). Hopefully we will have definite answers by the time the series wraps up. The most adventuresome and high-octane entry in the series so far, The Waste Lands is where this series really starts to get interesting. If any of the other entries end up being better than this one, I might very well be out of breath and at a loss for words by the time the ka-tet finally reach the dark tower.
on February 20, 2004
Book 3 of the Dark Tower series, "The Wastelands" opens with Roland teaching Eddie and Susannah (was Odetta) of New York to be gunslingers. He teaches them to remember the faces of their fathers in their mission to save the Dark Tower.
They soon come across their first challenge as gunslingers, one of the guardians of the beams, Shardik the bear. Roland didn't think these guardians really existed until they are faced with the dangerous evidence of such.
Shardik is a remnant of a bygone era, some two-thousand years ago when Northcentral Positronics built him to protect one of the beams of the Dark Tower (it is said that this company also may have built the beams). Unfortunately, Shardik is infested with parasites that have caused his insanity. It's just a matter of time before he dies, but in his insanity he charges after Susannah, Eddie and Roland.
It is Susannah's first task to destroy Shardik by aiming at his satellite dish on the top of his head. Eddie then gets the task of destroying his robot care-takers in the same way. Only through this rite of passage can they move on, for these creatures will surely destroy them if allowed to exist any longer.
Meanwhile, Roland feels as if he's slowly going crazy. He committed an act in New York, while through the door of Death, that stopped a child, Jake (whom we know from book 1, "The Gunslinger") from being pushed to his death. But if he saved Jake in New York in another world from dying, then how did Jake come to Roland's world only to be sacrificed on Roland's quest for the man in black? A paradox was created and Roland's mind cannot cope.
Jake of New York is suffering from the same malady. And that is the truth. Roland must now draw Jake into his world with the help of Eddie and Susannah.
All this is before they move on to the town of Lud, meet Blaine the Train (one helluva pain) and travel to a Kansas filled with the dead of Captain Trips (here we go, the very obvious link to "The Stand").
This is where the going gets good. If you make it this far into the Dark Tower series consider yourself a goner. You'll be addicted and won't be able to stop yourself from reading other King books just to catch the trinkets of DT links.
Such sweet nectar for the constant reader.
on December 15, 2003
When last we left him, Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger, had liberated the heroin addicted Eddie Dean and the schizophrenic crippled civil rights advocate Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker/Susannah Dean from their own respective New Yorks via doorway portals on the beach.
Now stuck in Roland's mess of a quest, the two Yanks have no choice but to accompany the cowboy in his search for the Dark Tower. In "The Waste Lands," the trio of Roland, Eddie, and Susannah find a path to the Dark Tower by way of the Beam, and a character Roland wronged long ago bursts back into his life.
King keeps up his gorgeous writing from "The Drawing of the Three," and sharpens and refines it even more so. With more characters, our central ka-tet can play off each other and really grow into actual beings. The further contrasts between Mid-World and New York make for some odd and often-humorous moments. And, most importantly, the plot gets even deeper and more and more engrossing.
The very few doubts "The Drawing of the Three" left you about the Dark Tower series will be alleviated by this masterpiece. It's a worthwhile addition to all but the most empty-headed fans' collections.
on November 3, 2003
I see a lot of people mention this as the least of the Dark Tower books. I disagree - that to me would be the fourth which was all back story and did not move Roland's KA-TET any closer to the tower. But that is still one of my favorite books. This series is what makes reading so satisfying. they are epic - and to appreciate them - one really needs to read them all. And the more King you read, the more you will love this book. One of the main characters from my all time favorite Stephen King book "The Stand" makes his first appearance in this book - Randall Flagg you crazy [guy] you. Not to mention "The Talisman", "Insomnia", "Black House" and more short stories than you can shake a stick at. This is one of the most enjoyable, epic reads one could ask for. I first ran into the gunslinger by accident, having heard of it but could never find it. I finally found it and since then every time one of these books has been released I can not read it quick enough. harry Potter is a great way to get kids to read but if they want to see a real epic story - this is Stephen King's answer to "The Lord of the Rings" and in characterization gives us much more depth than even that epic series. and that is saying quite a lot. Blaine may be a pain...but he kept me rivetted for the fourth volume to see if that train falls off the track - will our heroes ever be back... And thankfully they were...
Mr. King - all I can say is thank you for this modern masterpiece that again shows us all how reading can truly be one of the most rewarding activities. This is the part of the story that stuck with me the most - more than lobstrosities and roses - but any one of the volumes of this series will truly give you one of the best reads you can find. Highly recommend this to anyone...
on October 10, 2003
At the end of "The Drawing of the Three" we had left our three heroes - Roland (the last Gunslinger), Eddie (the addict) and Susannah (a composite of the previous split personalities of Odetta and Detta) - at the start of their quest to find the Dark Tower and unlock it's secrets.
At the beginning of "The Waste Lands" they have moved on a little - slowly Eddie and Susannah are becoming Gunslingers themselves. But they are no closer to finding the dark tower until they disturb a huge bear who, of course, is more than he appears. Meanwhile Roland is steadily getting worse as strange voices enter his head - just like Susannah's split personalities before.
With this opening, "The Waste Lands" picks up a hectic pace and never lets go. The writing style of the first three books has changed a lot - each book has it's pros and cons - but this one is much more focussed on movement, on plot. Character development is still very much there and, of course, we get dribbles of information about the quest.
Once again the links between the Gunslinger's world and our own are very much evident. The first half of this book deal with the drawing of Jake - the boy we last saw falling to his (second) death in the first book. If you were anything like me, you read "The Drawing of the Three" and felt uncomfortable about the paradoxes that Roland might have opened up by killing Mort. And you would be right to be - those strange voices that Roland is hearing are caused by them. And in our world they are having a devastating effect on Jake's life too. This part of the tale was one of the most engaging stories in the series so far.
And King's imagination shows no sign of quitting. In an extraordinary parallel, our heroes go on a search for Blaine the Train - a character, it appears, who exists in a forgotten children's book about Charlie the Engine. It really isn't possible to describe the imaginative leaps that King comes up with here - you will have to read it.
The second half of the book concerns this mini-quest and a breathless chase through a parallel New York - a city inhabited by strange factions - the Greys and the Pubes. As we hurtle through the book suddenly the dreadful truth hits us - it's finished with an enormous cliffhanger! Argh, if I had read that when this book was first published I would be in agony waiting for the resolution. Luckily, "Wizard and Glass" can be enjoyed right now.
If you have read the previous Dark Tower books, this one is unmissable. If you haven't read them yet, do so and then read this!
on September 1, 2003
As the third book in the Dark Tower series, "The Waste Lands," opens, Roland's new companions are learning to become gunslingers, and Roland himself is slowly going mad.
Yes indeed, King keeps the story moving most admirably as his dark fantasy epic continues, and the surprises keep coming. The main conflict facing the small group in the beginning of this part of the story is twofold. They are looking for clues as to how to best begin the next leg of their quest towards the Dark Tower, of course. More importantly, they are also forced to deal with how best to deal with the growing rift in Roland's mind, a doubling of memory caused by his travels in our world in the second book. In one track of time, the boy Jake was killed in New York and somehow brought into Roland's world. In the other track, Jake never died at all, thanks to Roland's actions in our world. Roland is aware of both timelines as real, and this conflict becomes the heart of the first act of the book.
Jake himself is also aware of the split. Still alive in New York, he nevertheless remembers his death under the wheels of a Cadillac, and his subsequent time with the gunslinger in the Great Western Desert, as a parallel track of memories to his memories of spending the same time, after not being hit by a car in New York. And just like Roland, the rift in his memory is driving Jake insane.
Resolving this disparity of time and memory causes great difficulty for Roland and Jake, of course, but also requires much of Eddie and Susannah, the two companions Roland drew from our world into his in "The Drawing of the Three." Before facing this, however, the new companions must deal with Mir, the great bear, a relic of the world that has moved on. Mir is one of the Guardians of the Beam, and the Beam will eventually lead them to the Tower.
The second act of the book details Roland and his companions passing through Lud, a ruined city which has been further torn apart by the generations-long war of its inhabitants, the Grays and the Pubes. Run by ancient machinery, the city presents its own unique challenges for our heroes, and also provides them with the next step in their journey: Blaine the Mono. Blaine is a monorail train which runs along the path of the Beam, deep into Mid-World. Riding Blaine comes with its own price, though -- "Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth."
"The Waste Lands" lives up to the quality King has established so far for the Dark Tower series. The story moves along at a brisk pace, making you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. "The Drawing of the Three" was a slightly better book, in my opinion, but only by a little. The characters which were built so well in the first two books are developed further here, and the new characters that are introduced (some only to tantalize for future developments, it seems) are equally well realized. All in all, this third book is a fitting continuation of an excellent series. It answers a few questions for the reader, and poses many intriguing new ones.
A word of advice for the Constant Reader. Have a copy of the fourth book, "Wizard and Glass," at hand by the time you finish "The Waste Lands." Trust me on this: you'll want to dive right into the fourth book after finishing the third.
on July 2, 2003
After recuperating from the final door confrontation (see THE DRAWING OF THE THREE), Roland trains Eddie and Susannah on how to survive as gunslingers. All goes well until a seventy 70-foot-tall bear attacks Eddie. Susannah and Roland team up to kill the bear, who actually is one of the twelve guardians of the beams.
The gunslingers follow the bear's trail, which takes them to a portal that enables the trio follow the Beam, a line of energy that connects pairs of portals with the center being the Dark Tower. They now know the way, but it may be too late. Roland seems to be losing his mind as a paradox he caused by saving Jake's life on earth has begun to eat at his brain because dual memories of death and rescue seem impossible. They need Jake to complete the team, but to do so they must construct a door where a demon resides.
The third book in Stephen King's great Dark Tower series continues the adventures of Roland, but this time he has associates to help him complete his quest. Though well written and quite exciting, THE WASTE LANDS somewhat feels like a middle book needed to move the tale forward. Still, Mr. King shows why he is more than just a horror guru as he displays his talent as a fantastic fantasist with this novel and the first two books in this strong allegorical series that stands up well with his best works.