Book Reviews, Stephen King

The Dark Tower 2 – The Drawing of The Three * Stephen King

The search for the destined 3 continues. King claims that the Dark Tower is inspired mainly by Tolkien and Sergio Leone, but after finishing The Drawing of the Three I definitely have the feeling that he also has read one or two books by Stephen Donaldson. Some of the same ideas that are the foundation of Donaldson’s writing are evident here too, especially the flawed, unwilling hero concept, and there was at least one detail that instantly reminded me of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

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6735040_f260`The Drawing Of The Three’ is the second installment in the epic `Dark Tower’ fantasy series. The story runs for a total of 450 pages within the 3712 pages the entire series spans for, taking the reader firmly into the saga of the gunslinger Roland and the barren world King has created.

This second novel deals with introducing Roland’s newly found companions, interweaving their stories within different periods of time, with the aid of magical doorways. The novel manages to cover essential ground for the continuation of the series, giving the reader further insight into the quest at hand.

King’s characterization of these newly introduced characters is superb. Ok, so that is really the main purpose and thrust behind this second novel, but it really is a truly captivating read from start to finish. With the schizophrenic Odetta Holmes (whose evil split personality is named Detta Holmes) immediate similarities can be made with that of Gollum in JRR Tolkien’s `Lord Of The Rings’ novels. But once King begins to explore the character within the book, you find that the character is in no way copied or cloned from that of Gollum. King has managed to produce a unique and beautifully original double-character that injects a dark tension into this developing tale.

I am aware that many readers opinions are that this novel is really the first part to the Dark Tower series, with “The Gunslinger” merely serving as a prologue. I can understand that view but in reflection I somewhat disagree. Both books serve as a great platform to begin this epic saga with, setting the scene and introducing the characters beautifully, whilst still delivering individual storylines to keep the reader entertained.

The book includes an eight page Introduction by King written in January 2003 that also appears in `The Gunslinger’. At the end of the book there is a 10 page excerpt taken from the beginning of the third book in the series `The Waste Lands’.

Jules’ Favourite Parts

One level was not enough for Balazar, Roche. Upon the roof of the first level he would build a second, only not quite so wide; on top of the second a third; on top of the third a fourth. He would go on, but after the fourth level he would have to stand to do so. You no longer had to bend much to look in, and when you did what you saw wasn’t rows of triangle shapes but a fragile, bewildering, and impossibly lovely hall of diamond-shapes.
You looked in too long, you felt dizzy.

Once ‘Cimi had gone in the Mirror Maze at Coney and he had felt like that. He had never gone in again. ‘Cimi said (he believed no one believed him; the truth was no one cared one way or the other) he had once seen Balazar build something which was no longer a house of cards but a tower of cards, one which stood nine levels high before it collapsed. That no one gave a shit about this was something ‘Cimi didn’t know because everyone he told affected amazement because he was close to Da Boss. But they would have been amazed if he had had the words to describe it—how delicate it had been, how it reached almost three quarters of the way from the top of the desk to the ceiling, a lacy construct of jacks and deuces and kings and tens and Big Akers, a red and black configuration of paper diamonds standing in defiance of a world spinning through a universe of incoherent motions and forces; a tower that seemed to ‘Cimi’s amazed eyes to be a ringing denial of all the unfair paradoxes of life.
If he had known how, he would have said: I looked at what he built, and to me it explained the stars.

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