Brad’s nos. 6 & 7 – The Drawing of the Three and The Wastelands (Dark Tower Series 2&3) by Stephen King

Time to catch up. I am woefully behind on my posts; therefore I am taking some time off of my vacation at Disneyland to post some reviews from books I read in January. I really enjoy world-building fantasy series (ie: LOTR, Chronic-what-cles of Narnia, Harry Potter) but am leary of the fantasy genre as a whole. Though I have never read any Stephen King, I heard that his Dark Tower series was amazing. I looked into it a bit and read that his original idea for the series was to blend together a Tolkien style fantasy with a Leone style Spaghetti-Western. I was sold.

I read the first book and concluded what most seem to: it showed great promise but was lacking polish (it was one of King’s first books). I quickly grabbed up the next two books in the series hoping for a continuation of his original premise. What I got was quite a departure from my expectations derived from the first book. The Drawing of the Three has our hero Roland (the last member of a group of six-shooter totin’ knights called “Gunslingers”)traveling through magic doorways found on the beach into the heads (think Being John Malchovich) of three different people living in late 20th century New York. Though not the fantasy/western setting I envisioned, I found it both compellingly written and quirky. I enjoyed it quite a lot. With my expectations for the series both heightened and broadened, I greedily dove into book three.

Despite a return the the fantasy world, this book marked the end of my journey in the Dark Tower series. I felt that book three was very inconsistent in tone, genre, and characterization. Though full of action, it was strangely boring, like a Brett Ratner movie: numerous individual “cool” scenes smashed together with little regard to thematic or character continuity. I finished the book solely out of duty and have no desire to ready any other Stephen King books.

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