The Drawing of the Three

Self-control (in most things) has never been my forte. Considering this character flaw, it makes it all the more surprising that, as a big fantasy fan, I managed to stick to my guns (no pun intended!) and refrain from reading The Gunslinger (Canada, USA, Europe) until the entire The Dark Tower series had been published. Of course, I didn't expect that it would take about two decades. But what the heck, right!?!

And last year, I finally was able to sit down with a steaming cup of coffee and read about the enigmatic gunslinger following the black man across the desert. And though most fans agree that The Gunslinger is the weakest installment in the series, I quite enjoyed the book. Which boded well for the rest of the series.

It took me longer than I intended to read The Drawing of the Three. That goes without saying. Yet I basically loved every minute of it!

Here's the blurb:

After his confrontation with the man in black at the end of The Gunslinger, Roland awakes to find three doors on the beach of Mid-World's Western Sea—each leading to New York City but at three different moments in time. Through these doors, Roland must "draw" three figures crucial to his quest for the Dark Tower. In 1987, he finds Eddie Dean, The Prisoner, a heroin addict. In 1964, he meets Odetta Holmes, the Lady of Shadows, a young African-American heiress who lost her lower legs in a subway accident and gained a second personality that rages within her. And in 1977, he encounters Jack mort, Death, a pusher responsible for cruelties beyond imagining. Has Roland found new companions to form the ka-tet of his quest? Or has he unleashed something else entirely?

Once more, the worldbuilding is not really a factor in this novel, something that disappointed me to a certain extent. This universe reminiscent of America's Wild West captivated me in The Gunslinger, and I was looking forward to learning more about it. But other than the sea and the seemingly unending stretches of beach, we discover very little about the Dark Tower's universe. Which, of course, is mostly due to the fact that Roland is drawn into contemporary America at various stages of its history for the better part of the novel, namely New York City in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Roland of Gilead may not be the most likeable of fellows, but the Gunslinger is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters of all time. You've got to love his no-nonsense attitude. The shootout scene with the mafia mobsters in NYC was pure delight.

As for the supporting cast, the characters found behind the three doors were an interesting -- if disparate -- bunch, to say the least. Eddie Dean, the drug-addled coward, turned out to be the most interesting. There is a lot of character growth on his part, and I'm curious to discover where the story will take him. The Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker combo made for a few surprises, but the culmination of her storyline was a little rushed considering the amount of build-up focused on the woman. It was also shocking to see how Jack Mort was linked to a couple of other characters. In terms of characterization, The Drawing of the Three truly shines.

The pace, however, is a bit uneven. The rhythm moves rather well in the sequences where Roland finds himself in our own world. But the chapters depicting his search for the doors become quite sluggish at times.

As was the case with its predecessor, The Drawing of the Three is little more than a setup book, this time meant to bring a number of characters together so that the quest for the Dark Tower may resume. Here's to hoping that the plot can now move forward and unveil more layers of those convoluted storylines in the third volume.

Onward to the Dark Tower. . .

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

11 commentaires:

Brett said...

And though most fans agree that The Gunslinger is the weakest installment in the series, I quite enjoyed the book. Which boded well for the rest of the series.

I don't know about that, although it's a good sign that you liked the second book in the series. The Gunslinger is kind of distinct and weird from the rest of the books in the series.

Have fun with the third book - it's my personal favorite, although the ending isn't too hot (it ends on a cliffhanger). The rest of the books, though . . . I hope you enjoy them. The 4th book seems to be a "love it or hate it" type of thing, the 5th book is just too long, the 6th book unnecessary, and the 7th book is also a "love it or hate it" type of thing (I disliked the bloat, but loved the ending).

tom dunne said...

I've yet to meet anyone who loved the ending to the 7th book, Wise Bass, so that dubious honor is yours ;)

The 5th-7th books feel both hurried and aimless, like he's rushing just finish the series. They were written right after King's near-fatal auto accident, and believe that pushed him to just get it done (King even said then that he would retire after the series was done, which clearly didn't happen.)

At any rate, either taken individually or as a whole, none of the final three books are as good as The Gunslinger and don't come close to delivering on the promise of Drawing and Waste Lands.

Xtopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xtopher said...

A friend of mine and I debate the rankings of the books from time to time. My rankings, from good to least good (none of them are actually bad) are 4,6,3,2,1,7,5.

I think my friend's ranking was something like 4,7,1,2,3,6,5... he's a little weird, tho.

Simon M said...

I loved the Dot3; I forced myself through The Gunslinger so was relieved to really enjoy part 3. Same for 3 and 4, both fab in my book. 5, 6 & 7 were meh for me, apart from one magical scene when Roland goes a bit out of character and lets his hair down. Did love the ending though, it was completely fitting for me....
SK has given me so many hours of great reading, and I think he's back to form with Duma Key and Under the Dome.

Unknown said...

I thought the 1st book was one of the best and the 4th (which a surprising amount of people seem to love) the worst.
He also ends the books at very weird places. The first part of the 4th book should definitely be in the 3rd book.
And in the case of the "unnecessary" 6th book, he should have put the first part of the 7th book in the 6th and thus making it feel like a complete book.

Liked the ending, hated the bloat.

Mad Hatter Review said...

King is contemplating another Dark Tower book titled The Wind Through the Keyhole. I believe it will be placed between the 4th and 5th novels of the series. Although he might write The Shining sequel first.

Xtopher said...

Battle of Jericho Hill?? Hope so, can't wait.

Unknown said...

I loved the ending to the seventh book, tom dunne!

Thought it was just right.

Joshua said...

I thought the Gunslinger was pretty good and had a lot of promise but hated The Drawing of the Three. Couldn't even finish the book and then gave the first two to a friend of mine who had similar results. I guess we are the exception to the rule though.

Unknown said...

Put me in the camp of those who thought "Wizard and Glass" was the best. I agree with several of the other comments on here that the last couple of books seemed rushed; but taking the series as a whole, it's one hell of a great read.