The Drawing of the Three
by Stephen King
General / Favorable Reviews
Draws Five Stars *****
Steven King is such a large part of our popular culture that it amazes me that The Drawing of the Three is his first novel that I have actually read. Everyone has probably seen at least one Steven King movie or miniseries and yours truly is no exception. I was drawn into The Dark Tower series after listening to an audiotape version of The Gunlinger. Now I am hooked.
The series so far is an eclectic mix of science fiction, fantasy,
western and general quest themes. There is also King's relentless
fascination with the macabre and the horrible. Following the events in The
Gunslinger, Roland is attacked and gravely wounded by huge lobster like
creatures. Roland must not only survive but also draw traveling companions
from our world, specifically New York, of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. To do so
he has to enter the minds of a drug addict, a black woman with dual
personalities and a serial killer.
Bill Mac "hmcs kenogami"
Nut Gathering ***
As book two in the Dark Tower series, The Drawing of the Three introduces two (three) new major characters, Eddie, a heroin junkie, and Odetta/Detta, a split personality black lady who has lost both her legs in an 'accident' with a subway train. Each is one of the companions foretold by Walter at the end of The Gunslinger in the Tarot card session. They come from our world of New York City, brought to Roland's world via mysterious Doors. When Roland goes through one of these doors, he ends up inside the minds of these people. As a continuation of the quest for the Dark Tower, this falls right on the standard formula: 1. Define goal/enemy (The Gunslinger) 2. Gather useful companions (this book) 3. Travel endlessly through many strange and wondrous realms (The Wastelands). Whether the rest of the books in the series will continue on this standard pattern I don't know, but in any case their readability depends far more on King's spin on this type of tale than any specific plot element.
King defines his new characters quite well. Eddie especially comes across as
a very real person, with perfectly understandable fears and motivations. The
Odetta/Detta combination is a little weaker, mainly because as 'halves' of one
person each character is somewhat of a caricature. The melded personality of
Susannah that appears at the end of the book promises to be a more well-rounded
character. But other than these good characters, the book is almost wholly
placed in our world. We learn very little new about Roland and his world, and as
this was the major attraction of The Gunslinger, I found that I didn't like this
one as much. It was also marred somewhat by a set of near-impossible
coincidences that weren't really necessary, and the trigger for melding the
Odetta/Detta character did not seem wholly believable. The 'lobstrosities' that
open the book were different, but they didn't add anything to the story other
than clipping a couple of the Gunslinger's fingers and a toe. This seemed to be
merely a plot device to make all the traveling companions crippled in some
manner, but so far King has not made much of this thematic idea.
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat"
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