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Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Drawing Of The Three

This is part two of my read-through of 'The Dark Tower'.  Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, Part 6 is here, Part 7 is here and Part 8 is here. Once again, here be spoilers.

Last time I said that, if memory served, The Drawing Of The Three was the book where the story really starts  moving and gathers some purpose, and I wasn't wrong. Where The Gunslinger felt fragmented and vague, the second book feels much more like a Stephen King book; Roland is a much more fully realised character, and there's a real sense that things are happening and are going to happen. That may be because there was 5 years between the writing of these two books - a period of time in which King published It, Pet Sematary, The Talisman and Eyes Of The Dragon (my favourite King book, incidentally), to name a few. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he visibly improved as a writer in that period of time - it's certainly obvious in the difference between The Gunslinger and The Drawing Of The Three.

As with the last book, my memory of this one was patchy. Going in to it, the only thing I could remember was the doors on the beach. I had definitely forgotten that Roland loses his fingers in the first few pages - and once that happened, I was sure that it was in this book that he starts relearning how to use his right hand. I was wrong about that.

I was fairly certain that by the end of the book the ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake would be united. In my memory of the series, I had forgotten that Jake re-enters the books later, and that the third person in the Three that are drawn is Susannah - the conjunction of Detta/Odetta's two personalities. Once Roland went through the third door I was sure that he was going to pull Jake back to the beach somehow. I was wrong about that, too.

I found myself enjoying this second book much more than I enjoyed The Gunslinger. It doesn't answer any questions, really - we still don't know why Roland is questing for the tower, or when he made that decision, and we don't really know anything about the world he is in. If memory serves, that all comes in Wizard and Glass. Unlike in The Gunslinger, where I found myself frustrated by how little information I had to work with, that wasn't sure an issue here. The stakes are high - King excels at putting characters into situations that are seemingly impossible to survive, and particularly during the section where Eddie is tied up on the beach waiting for the lobstrosities to come out of the sea and take him I found myself frantically turning the pages, needing to know what happened next even though I knew that he survived.

In a nutshell, this is just a better book than the first volume. It feels more like the King that I love, and I cared about the characters much moreso than I did in The Gunslinger. Bring on The Waste Lands.

3 comments:

  1. Drawing Of The Three was the first of the Dark Tower books I read, and it really made me love the characters. Can't wait for the new story, I thought it was all over and was bummed when I finally caught up on the series. Took me 18 years after picking up Drawing Of The Three in a bookstore along with The Shining and Eyes of the Dragon to see if I'd like King's writing as much as his movies. I did. :D

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    1. I love King's writing, and I love that I'm getting to rediscover this series. I was hoping to have finished the first four books by yesterday - when Wind Through The Keyhole came out (even though I had a review copy of it last week) but uni work got in the way so my reading slowed down.

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  2. This one is non-stop. I remember being amazed at the many places it took me the first time I read it.

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