Stephen King: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) (review)

waste-lands‘Feed your need to read.’ (p. 156)
After the gathering of Susannah and Eddie in The Gathering of the Three, Roland’s ka-tet is to all appearances finished and the three set off for the Dark Tower. Roland teaches them the ways of the gunslinger to prepare them for whatever lies ahead – but also because he is slowly going mad. His mind is constantly arguing with itself about the boy Jake who travelled with Roland in The Gunslinger and was killed. Roland saved Jake from being killed in our world, thus preventing Jake from going to Roland’s world and dying there. This creates a paradox and now Roland has two sets of memories. Did Jake exist or not, did he die or not. These two strands of memories are pulling Roland apart in such a devastating way that he freely hands over his gun and knife, knowing that he might hurt Eddie and Susannah if he looses it completely – and still caries weapons.
But a ka-tet is nothing if not bound together by destiny and the members may be linked in more ways than they first thought. Eddie starts having weird dreams, dreams about a haunted house he remembers from his childhood. And in the corner of his eye, there’s a boy there. A boy watching him and his brother. A boy who is new.
In this novel, we get more glimpses and hints about what has happened to Roland’s world. It has changed, grown bigger and is at the same time slowly dying. And the dark tower is a part of this. The tower has guardians: huge, creepy half animal half robot creatures. We get the pleasure of meeting the giant bear Shardik. It is definitely a force to be reckoned with, as the trio finds out. As soon as I read the name Shardik, I knew it was a nod to Richard Adams and King plays it very cool, letting Eddie say: ‘I know that name, but I can’t place it. /…/ The thing is … /…/ I associate it with rabbits.’ Later in the book he does come out and names Adams as well as Watership Down but I loved the sly humor in this scene.
The bear guards the road to the tower. Everything is draw to the tower so the path is easy to follow when it has been found. Unfortunately this path leads them to the city of Lud, a city torn apart by war. But there they must go to continue their journey towards the tower.
King also manages to take a well-known children’s story and turn it into something scary and nasty. The story is about a train which only want to choo-choo along and enjoy the sky and the wind but which is pushed aside by a newer faster train but finally the old train gets it’s redemption and is allowed to carry children around an amusement park. My kids have that book – or a version of it anyhow – and now I’m scared to go find it and read it and most of all, I’m scared to look at the pictures. Because this train … this train is a serious freak!
For me, this was the best book so far in the The Dark Tower series. It was just pure pleasure to read it and I didn’t want to put it down. As always, King is a master story teller. There might be issues with his world building and with the connections between our world and Roland’s world – but who cares! It’s solid enough to make you pause and think over things and how the worlds are related but not so solid that you feel like you have to try to find small mistakes that can make the world building crumble.
My favorite (new) character in this novel is the dog-like creature Oy, a billy-bumbler. He is a clever, clever animal, dedicated and faithful, and even able to count and pronounce some syllables/words. He is indispensable in this novel and I’m just sad that he wandered into a King novel because the odds of him getting out of this alive, are not good. Not good at all.
In fact, now we know a tiny bit more about what we’re up against, I would be surprised if all our main characters will make it through to the tower.
So many times I’ve seen books marketed as ‘Harry Potter for adults’ etc (which is a bit weird since many adults, myself included, read Harry Potter). But if you’re looking for fantasy for an adult audience, this is it. King never shies back from anything. Here’s sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Yes, the sex is with a demon. Yes, the drugs are only in Eddie’s reminiscing and yes, the rock’n’roll is not easily recognizable at first – but that’s what gives it edge and makes it stand out.

dark tower ral

I began reading this series as part of the epic read-along of The Dark Tower hosted by The Stephen King Challenge blog – and I have written earlier that I was fallen behind – now I’m not sure quite how far along the read-along has come – or if it’s even going on any more but I’m still trotting along, slow but kind of steady…

  • Title: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3)
  • Author: Stephen King
  • Publisher: New English Library – Hodder & Stoughton
  • Year: 2003 (original 1991)
  • Pages: 584 pages
  • Source: My boyfriend’s collection
  • Stars: 5 stars out of 5

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Back from holiday (& Book Buying 2013 part 6)

So I’m back from holiday and we had a great time. We saw a lot of animals in various zoos, visited an amusement park, the beach, a glass museum and more. We enjoyed hanging out, just the four of us. The cottage we had rented, was beautiful and it was so peaceful to sit outside it and read. So all in all, a lovely holiday. And tomorrow – it’s back to work for me. The girls and my boyfriend have two weeks more so the next couple of weeks will be rather relaxing as well.

9780141184272As for reading, I did manage to finish Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. It is a magnificent piece of literature. I am impressed with how Virginia Woolf both manages to create a love letter to Vita Sackville-West and comment on the normal male-fixated Western history, on biography and how absurd it is in some ways, on time, gender and so much more – and still make it readable. Now, when I say readable, I mean that I enjoyed it s much – but even though the book is short of 300 pages, it does take rather a lot of time and effort to read it.

waste-landsMy next read, on the other hand, was the third volume in Stephen King’s magna opus The Dark Tower. The Waste Lands is my favorite so far in the series and I just flew through it. It was such a thrill to read and I couldn’t help sit and compare how different the reading experiences was in these two novels. I enjoyed them both and I love how you can get so many experiences, feelings, challenges and more from sitting quietly with a book.

Proper reviews will follow later – very positive reviews.

So two books read (almost) and … well … two books bought…

9780141974026

Yes, well. We went to my second favorite book store in Denmark and I had to buy two books. I bought Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Ubervilles which is on my list of books for The Classics Club. I’ve read many positive reviews of it so I’m excited to read it. I’ve never read anything from Thomas Hardy so I’m curious to explore him and this book. And I love this Penguin English Library series with it’s beautiful covers!

mantel

And I bought a Hilary Mantel. I have only read Wolf Hall and was more impressed by it than loving it. I rated it 4 stars but I need to read it again to fully get it. I’m guilty of not knowing who Thomas Cromwell was before reading this book. I had a long talk with the woman behind the counter who was a huge Mantel fan. Don’t you just love it when you meet people in shops who actually know what they are talking about. I would love to live in the city where this store is…

So two great books brought home with me. And a great holiday spend with my boyfriend and our two beautiful girls. I love summer!

17026_413852478709121_1163712783_nOh and I might have bought another book earlier that I forgot to mention and I guess now is as good as time as any to mention it. Of course I bought Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane as soon as I spotted it in a book store. I have been so excited about this book ever since I first heard about it. It sounds amazing and the cover is gorgeous so I got it immediately. Only sorry that they didn’t have the hardcover.

Holiday Reading

Today, my family and I are going away on holiday. We’re spending a week in a nice cabin in a beautiful part of Denmark and planning on visiting various zoos and other child friendly sights as well as the beach if the weather stays sunny and warm. I’m also hoping for a book shop or two…

When we go away on this type of holiday, my boyfriend and I like to read in the evenings. We usually bring some board games and some books and never even open the game boxes but just spend every evening reading. And since I love to read, that’s perfectly fine by me. (Even though we need to stop buying board games if we never intend to play any of them…)

Of course, this means that I have to choose which books to bring. And this year, it has been really hard. Last year I spend most of the holiday reading Ken Follet: The Pillars of the Earth and loved it. This year – I’m not sure I want to read a chunkster. I just finished The Count of Monte Cristo and can’t quite handle to dive into another huge book so soon after.

So what I’m opting for this year, is options. I’m bringing several books and hoping that they will cover whatever mood I feel. And I’m bringing my kindle. In part because then I can read whatever I fancy but also because I have the complete Sherlock Holmes on it and I plan on reading that this year. I might also have a couple of other books on it and some 20+ samples – just to be sure that I don’t run out of reading material…

Now let’s see what else I’m bringing:

9780141184272Virginia Woolf: Orlando. I’ve been wanting to read Orlando for years. Ever since the movie came out back in 1992! I can’t remember when I bought the book but I’ve owned it a while. I’m really intrigued by how the protagonist changes sex in the novel and lives for 400 years or so as first a man and then a woman. This book is also on my list of reading goals for the year; a list, I’m falling a bit behind on so I plan on starting with this one.

NightCircus.final_.2Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus. This next choice was between Erin Morgenstern’s novel The Night Circus and Christos Tsiolkas’s book The Slap. I ended up choosing The Night Circus because I have kept postponing reading it because I’m scared that it can’t live up to my expectations. And now I want to force myself to read it because I do think it is a novel that I will enjoy – and Morgenstern is working on a new one and I would like to have this one finished before she does.

waste-landsStephen King: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3). The fantasy category. Here, I chose between the third installment in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the fifth in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and the first in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I decided against A Song of Ice and Fire since I am already reading the other two series. And I decided against A Wheel of Time because, frankly, it’s not all that good and the writing annoys me. I know King can deliver a good and thrilling read!

BRUN_MANDS_BYRDE_FORSIDE_300dpiHassan Preisler: Brun mands byrde (Brown Man’s Burden). A debut novel which has gotten a lot of praise in Denmark. Apparently, it is a modern version of Rudyard Kipling’s poem White Man’s Burden but set on it’s head where the author and others like him have to teach the ordinary white Dane that we live in a multicolored and multicultural world. It seems to be not about the importance of tolerance but of respect – to respect each other enough to also tell each other if something we’ve made sucks.

I don’t plan on posting a lot next week. I hope to write a lot of notes to the books I read so it will be relatively easy to write (hopefully a lot of) reviews when I get back but I don’t plan on  actually finishing anything – except a lot of books!