Saturday, May 03, 2008

Stephen King - The Drawing of the Three - The Dark Tower book two

Volume two of Stephen King's seven part "Dark Tower" series is a very different beast to volume one. This is a good thing, as I found that the first book tried to hard to be an epic. You can read my review of that here.

In volume two, Roland, the Last Gunslinger finds three doors into other places and people. The book is entirely set on a seemingly endless beach. The beach that the Gunslinger arrived at towards the end of the first novel. As he opens each door, he finds himself in the head of one of three fascinating people. The first is a drug smuggler, the second a angry, brave and rich woman, clearly suffering from some sort of dual personality problem. The last is a serial killer, whose life has already crossed the Gunslingers and is responsible for the woman loosing her legs.

Interestingly, this volume continues the theme of the epic journey, though this time it is the slow trip along the beach. It's slow because the companions are hampered by illness and injury and a wheelchair. But King's writing is good enough for us to feel every turgid step.

The reader also can find amusement in his own knowledge. Each time Roland enters 'our' world (1980s New York) he is confused and bedazzled by everything around him. His attempts to understand, by fixing the knowledge, laws and understanding of his own times onto the things around him, create lots of little in-jokes for the modern reader.

This is an enjoyable read, certainly it's very different to the first in the series and bodes well for the rest of the series.

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