Title: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Audiobook Length: 17 hours and 54 minutes
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction
Brief Summary of the Plot: If you are interested to see my reviews of the first two books, you can click the links below. In this third book, which takes place five weeks after the second book ends, Eddie, Susannah (formerly Odetta) are being trained by Roland to become gunslingers. All the while, the three are continuing their quest to the Dark Tower by following magical “beams” (which I guess are like ley lines?). They encounter strange (ancient) beings along the way who are becoming sick and dying, as Midworld is “moving on” (onto the next age?)
Meanwhile, due to the fact that he saved Jake from being killed in the 2nd book, Roland’s mind has become fractured into 2 pieces. The first piece remembers Jake (from the timeline where he died and came to Midworld), and the second piece where Jake lived, and therefore never met Roland. This juxtaposition is tearing Roland apart and slowly making him insane.
Back on “Earth” in NYC, Jake’s mind has also become fractured. He remembers both the life in Midworld, and the one where he never went there. Strange things are happening to him in NYC, and its like he is living a double life. Eventually he is able to find his way to a portal to Midworld. Once Roland and Jake are together again, the insanity ends for both of them.
The rest of the book is about the adventures they have while on their quest, which I won’t tell you about so as not to ruin it for you.
See my review of The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger here.
See my review of The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three here.
The Writing: As with all of Stephen King’s books, the writing was great.
The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.
Expectations/Recommendations: I hadn’t expected too much out of this book, but I was pleasantly suprised. I liked this book much more than the previous two books. My favorite character was by far the billy bumbler “Oy”. A billy bumbler seems to be a cross between a really super intelligent dog, a raccoon, a badger, and a parrot (Oy can speak a few words). Oy can also count, as Roland discovers. I was very happy that Oy made it to the end of the book (which doesn’t always happen in Stephen King books). I have to say that there were a few scenes where I had a lot of anxiety that Oy would not survive — but he did, so, yay! I guess he has a greater role to play in the series.
One of the other reasons (besides Oy) why I liked this book better than #1 and #2 was because the first two were more about building the foundation of the story and meeting / getting to know the characters. They could be both boring and tedious at times. The Wastelands on the other hand was more about the quest and adventures of the trio (not always positive — i.e., Jake gets kidnapped at one point, a whole town is incinerated, etc.). I also liked how Stephen King painted a larger picture of Midworld itself, and described how Midworld was slowly but surely fading away (almost like in the Neverending Story), or “moving on” into the next age (like the elves in Lord of the Rings).
I also liked how everything happened for a reason and was connected somehow — like how Jake bought a riddle book in NYC, which became something he needed in Midworld. Or how Eddie, Susannah, and Jake all had read the same children’s book about a talking train, who they then meet in Midworld.
Honestly, I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens.