Monday, August 30, 2010
#27 The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
The third book in the Dark Tower series, The Waste Lands, is a doozy. If you’ve been following along it picks up with Roland, Susannah (Detta, Odetta), and Eddie. It begins by showing us that Roland is teaching Susannah and Eddie to be gunslingers, a task which Susannah seems to love, and Eddie silently hates. From there it picks up quick with the destruction of a giant bear/android. Seriously…I think its described as being 70 feet tall and thousands of years old. After its destruction they find the path of “the beam” and begin the trek to the Dark Tower. Wait, I guess I should explain that Roland is going insane. It seems he fucked up the timeline when he killed that dude at the end of the last book. Jake was never killed…thus he was never there…therefore the Gunslingers mind is being split into two my separate mental realities. Flashback to New York, where Jake is now going insane. Once he missed his death he is now having a mental crisis…because part of him knows he died, and he has flashes to Roland. Now we have the side quest of Jake being brought over to their “world” so both of them can survive. Once they are all together they head out on the quest again. Am I giving away important plot points? Maybe…but King has a habit of kind of writing what you would expect. The shit leading up to it is cool, but you know what’s going to happen. Together they reach a city…where they need to find a train…and there are a bunch of crazy people…I won’t say any more than that.
I would say King was in rare form with this book. His pacing was spotless, the book constantly flowed and there weren’t any real lulls. His points of tension were well done, well done. In particular the crossover of Jake fighting against a man eating house. Seriously, I read that part as fast as my brain allowed, devouring every detail. His descriptions were also fantabulous, “now he allowed himself to actually smell the city, and that odor was not of fabulous spices and savory foods of the sort his mother had sometimes brought home from Zabar’s but rather the stink of a mattress that has caught fire, smoldered awhile, and then been put out with sewer-water.“ For reals…that is lovely. Like most of his books King also has this tendency to bounce back and forth between characters, always when something good is about to happen. This is both frustrating and enticing at the same time. In one moment some crazy shit is happening with Roland, and the next thing you know you’re walking with Jake through the city…then, as shit starts happening to Jake you go back to Roland. At points you wish you could kick King in the face and tell him to quit being a douche. But in several climactic scenes, when the action begins to crossover and intertwine, you could almost kiss him.
There were a couple of other points I liked as well. For example: When I discussed the first book I told you how I imagine Roland as Clint Eastwood, particularly in his spaghetti westerns. “Eastwood was wearing a Mexican serape. A cigar was clamped in his teeth. He had thrown one side of the serape back over his shoulder to free his gun. His eyes were a pale, faded blue. Bombardier’s eyes. It’s not him, Jake thought, but it’s almost him. It’s the eyes, mostly…the eyes are almost the same.“ He also has a point where he kind of discusses Susannah’s fathers perspective of god. The result is entirely Deist. Which I loved to no end…for obvious reasons.
I’ve heard several people mention disappointment in where the series goes from here. I’ve also heard that the next book deals with Roland’s past. This plot point is set up through the entirety of The Waste Lands. I’m a little saddened by this and at the same time happy. I’m sad because the story was starting to lull at the end of the book, yet I want to know what happens. I’m happy because I’m curious to see more about his past life. As I’ve said in past reviews, I really appreciate the little glimpses into Roland’s life. I’m kind of wondering if he can make an entire book last of the Gunslinger in the past.