It was all of a piece, he realized now; all part of some awful, decaying whole, a tattered web with the Dark Tower at its center like an incomprehensible stone spider. All of Mid-World had become The Drawers; all of Mid-World had become a waste land, haunting and haunted.
From The Drawing of the Three to The Waste Lands—though I managed to wait two days, telling myself there were people out there who had to wait ages for the preternaturally prolific King to cough up the installments. A warning that there’s not much sense in my notes—it’s all mad squealing—plus my remembrance of the experience just sends me to a happy place where there’s not much coherence to be had. Because.
Anyway: I’m calling it—of the three books I’ve read so far, The Waste Lands is the best. (Why do I have a feeling that I’ll be repeating that with every book that gets read?) The writing is at its most confident, the world is becoming more and more whole, the characters are as vivid as ever—except, perhaps, for the exception of Susannah who, in my mind, never went beyond the gutsy schizophrenic I first encountered her as [as much as I love the boys, give dear Susannah some screen time, please?].
This book just dares sprawl in a way that the first two couldn’t—this one is so far removed from a dusty trail in the middle of nowhere, this book has left that long stretch of beach. There is purpose and tangible goals. The links between the world of the Gunslinger and the world-as-we-know-it get more defined, we begin to make sense of what exactly this Dark Tower is, we know more and more about how Roland’s world works or (more precisely) doesn’t. Chillingly enough, we get more insight into that oft-repeated phrase: “Once there was a world we knew, but that world has moved on.”
But best of all, we have Roland the Gunslinger and his ka-tet—amazing people bound by destiny and an uneasy friendship but an unshakeable loyalty to each other and to the cause. This is a series that has taken over my life—dammit, Steve, I love you to bits.
[Here’s what my pathetic notes say—yes, it’s a tad hysterical: “Oh god, make sense, Sasha. What is amazeballs about this book? Roland and his posse! From the forest where they meet a giant bear to my poor Roland going crazy to Jake being brought back to the world (yay!), to Eddie being so fucking invaluable to this quest, to them old people with their stories, and then to Lud, that anarchic and too-familiar city, and then Blaine goddamn it’s a demon train you are creeping me the fuck out go away.”]
PSA 01: It’s still January, which means it’s still Long-Awaited Reads Month. Iris and Ana cooked this up, a valiant crusade against TBR Mountain. I’m fairly confident this one—and the rest of the series—counts. Confetti for everyone.
PSA 02: For more Dark Tower love from two other Constant Readers, do visit Shelf Love for their discussion of The Waste Lands. Let this be the routine from now on; I don’t think coherence is coming to me anytime soon.