The Waste Lands – Stephen King
Roland, the last gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.
Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human.
The Waste Lands is book #3 of the Dark Tower series. This review is free of major spoilers, but you might want to check out my thoughts about book #1 (The Gunslinger) and book #2 (The Drawing of the Three).
Review: The only coherent thought I had when I finished this novel was, Um . . . wow.
In this book, the gunslinger, Roland, “draws” two more members of the group who will help him reach the Dark Tower. One of them is an eleven-year-old named Jake, and the other is a dog-like creature called Oy. As the group follows the path to the Tower, they end up in the city of Lud, and chaos ensues.
I think this is my favorite book in the series so far. It doesn’t have the poetic writing style of book #1, but it’s more interesting than book #2. The world-building is insane. Roland’s vivid and terrifying “when” is so similar and so different from our reality that it’s eerie. I love that familiar places are inhabited by strange, mutated creatures. The descriptions are so well-written that I can still see the landscape in my mind days after finishing the story.
The main characters have calmed down in this book. They’re beginning to trust each other. In book #2, they were still struggling with the problems of their own “whens.” Now they have a new set of deadly challenges to face, and their individual personalities are starting to show. Eddie went from one of my least favorite characters to one of my favorites. I like his sarcasm and sense of humor. Roland is also becoming more human. He’s still obsessed with getting to the Tower, but he shows that he can be a loyal friend and protector. Jake is a nice addition to the story. He was one of the main characters in book #1, and I’m glad that he has made a reappearance. The insta-love between Eddie and Susannah still isn’t explained, but it’s becoming easier to understand what they see in each other. Their good qualities are starting to come out.
The only part of this book that I don’t like is Blaine, the supercomputer that controls the city of Lud. I’ve had this problem with a few of the villains in Stephen King’s books: They cross the line from scary to silly. Blaine is scary when he’s a mysterious force that can kill everyone in the city, but he loses his edge when Roland’s group starts playing riddle games with him. I would have liked him to remain mysterious.
I’m very excited to continue with this series. I hope the next book is as good as this one.
This is slightly off-topic, but reading about Blaine reminded me of this clip of Stephen King from Family Guy. (Here's the link if the video doesn't work.)