11. tammikuuta 2013

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, book III) - Stephen King

I first started reading The Dark Tower series some years ago, when a friend told me how great the books were. I think she was going on the second one at the time and she was the biggest Stephen King fan I’ve ever met. She’d read all of his books she’d managed to get her hands on (and there were quite a few, after all she came from a pretty wealthy family). I myself couldn’t get past the first book. It was dull and dreadful, maybe even translated badly, and so I didn’t have resolution to finish it. However, memories grow sweeter with time, and so I thought I’d give it a go. Hodder & Stoughton had just published a new print of the books with in keeping cover art, and so I bought the first three books on a whim.

I must have some sort of mild form of OCD, because when I buy a series, they have to look like each other or I will have none of it. The cover art in this new print is really cool and makes the books look even more interesting than they otherwise would. The original Finnish version of the books is super ugly and not inviting in the least.

The first book called The Gunslinger was just as horrible as I remembered. It dragged on for forever, as it seemed, nothing much happened in it, and all logic was lost at times. I almost failed finishing it the second time as well, but I kept reading because I had already purchased the next two parts (and then a couple, because they were pretty). Stephen King wrote The Gunslinger when he was nineteen and you can really see that. It’s not even one of his first novels ever written and published, and he’s not completely without experience, but there’s still of that clumsiness of a young man in the book which gets really distracting at points.

The second book was written five years after the first, and the third book was written four years after the second. Reading on, it becomes very apparent that he did not spend this time sitting on his hands. The storytelling has really evolved during all three books, each being better than the last. I’m truly glad that I battled through the first book, because reading The Drawing of the Three and The Waste Lands has been one of the most rewarding reading experiences I’ve had. By the third book you’ve really started to know how the world of Roland of Gilead works, what makes it tick, and you’ve got some sort of eerie idea of how it’s connected to our world. None of the characters have become boring yet, not even Roland who has been with us for three books now. I would have expected at least a few moments of “Omg, get rid of Roland already!”, but none has come. Even his companions have stayed interesting with their own little secrets and dark corners.

The Waste Lands (like The Drawing of the Three) pick up where the last book left off, and this is one of the things I really love in this series. There are no empty holes of “imagine this yourself” and you can just keep on reading like it is all one book. It doesn’t feel like there’s gaps between the different books and that’s part of their charm. Also if you’ve read the first two books you already know something about the characters and they feel familiar to you, so you care about what happens to them.

One thing I love about The Dark Tower series is that there are not too many characters in it. You get to know the few that are (at least somewhat) permanent and any new ones are introduced in a memorable manner, not just by their name and face that you’ll have forgotten all about within the next ten pages.

This series just keeps getting better and I’ve just started reading the fourth book. I heartily recommend The Dark Tower series to anyone who like surrealistic fantasy mixed with horror mixed with sci-fi. I can’t wait to read what Roland and his friends get to next.


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