Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King

    1987; 463 pages.  Genre : Thriller.  New Author? : No.  Book #2 (out of 7) of the Dark Tower series.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

   Roland (aka, "the Gunslinger") is ready to continue his quest to find the Dark Tower.  But first it is predestined that he open three doors - three portals in time, and probably to a parallel universe as well.  There are people he needs to meet ... and experience.

What's To Like...
The Drawing of the Three is a quantum improvement over Book 1, The Gunslinger, reviewed here.  The writing is better; the story is more coherent; and by now Stephen King has learned how to write a thriller.

    An Introduction is included, which revises the early version of Book 1 to fit it better into this story.  Since by chance it was the early version that I had read, this was much appreciated.

The people that the Gunslinger meets via the doors are not paragons of virtue.  One's a junkie; another's a schizo; the third kills for thrills.  There is loss (two fingers and a toe); there is action; there is romance (with a whole new meaning given to the term "threesome"); and there is time-travel, which I'm always a sucker for.  There's even a neat little tribute to Rosa Parks, one of my personal heroes.

Finally, there is some humor to offset the suspense, particularly the Gunslinger's confusion as he tries to understand our world and mis-hears its vocabulary.  So we get "astin", "magda-seens", tooter-fish", "tach-sees" and "fotter-graffs".  I'll let you work out what these are. 

Kewlest New Word...
Rugose : wrinkled; creased; ridged.  (Runner-Up was "Lobstrosity", a great portmanteau.)

    "It's ka," he said, facing Eddie patiently.
    "What's ka?"  Eddie's voice was truculent.  "I never heard of it.  Except if you say it twice you come out with the baby word for sh*t."  (pg. 205)

    Roland felt a tired exasperation.  Someone - it might have been Cort but he rather thought it had been his father - had had a saying: Might as well try to drink the ocean with a spoon as argue with a lover.  If any proof of the saying were needed, there it stood above him, in a posture that was all defiance and defense.  Go on, the set of Eddie Dean's body said.  Go on, I can answer any question you throw at me.  (pgs. 348-49)

I looked at what he built, and to me it explained the stars.  (pg. 135)
    TDot3 is of course just part of a larger, much longer series; but it is a story-within-a-story, with a discrete ending.  I like that.  It is not, however, a stand-alone book.

    There is some great character development here, but it comes at the cost of there not being a lot of progress to the tale. After 463 pages, about all the Gunslinger has done is picked up some quest-companions.  I'm presuming they play important roles and will be around for a while, but that's not a given.

    TDot3 is a fast-paced, easy-reading page-turner, and a primer on how to keep readers on the edge of their seats.  The books start getting longer now, and all-told there are 4600+ pages in the series, of which I've read about 700.  I don't know if I'll read all seven books, but I'm definitely committed to the next one, The Waste Lands8 Stars for The Drawing of the Three.

No comments: