The Waste Lands by Stephen King

(The Dark Tower, #3)

In the third novel in King's epic fantasy masterpiece, Roland, the Last Gunslinger, is moving ever closer to the Dark Tower, which haunts his dreams and nightmares. Pursued by the Ageless Stranger, he and his friends follow the perilous path to Lud, an urban wasteland. And crossing a desert of damnation in this macabre new world, revelations begin to unfold about who - and what - is driving him forward.

“All is silent in the halls of the dead. All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead, Behold the stairways which stand in darkness; behold the rooms of ruin. These are the halls of the dead where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.”

The Wastelands is the winner as the best book among the first three. The ka-tet is fully unified and have started their journey, this time including Jake and newcomer Oy the Billy-Bumbler who you can’t help but get tickled by. There’s lost technology, action, the ka-tet getting to know each other, and a wacky, fun ending with a psychotic train they’re forced to ride but that never plans to let them survive.

It’s a book you have to keep attention on, else you’ll get lost and confused fast. The worlds collide without the doors. Wastelands is filled with not just fantasy but mystery and much anticipation on what is later to come. The broken and scattered technology intrigues and the lines that connect the worlds includes science fiction type elements into the story. The worlds all being parallel to each other is a nice touch.

Jake is essential – more of Roland’s human side is brought out by the boy. The gunslinger shows many sides in Wastelands, not just the straight edged one as before. Seeing snippets of Jake’s former life was interesting and he’s definitely one of my favorite characters. The tick-tock man mesmerizes, King knows how to write expert villains. That’s always been one of his biggest strengths. Blaine is a train with personality (haunted) who runs the city from beneath, holds zero regard for life, and loves deadly riddles and tricky twisters.

King obviously had a lot of fun with this one. Incredibly detailed with lots of imagination painting the journey’s road. An action-adventure, fantastical, sci-fi, and mystery rich book. Most of King’s books would improve with a trimming, but this one is about just the right length. There’s plenty to convincingly fill the pages. I pity those who read this one when first published – the wait after its cliffhanger would have bugged me. 

   Book Quotes:

“Don't ask me silly questions
I won't play silly games
I'm just a simple choo choo train
And I'll always be the same.

I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.”

   Extras on Author's Website:

Link to Robert Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came poem that inspired the story

Discordia (Game Based on the Dark Tower series)

   Reviews of the Series: