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Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (Book Review)

Now this is much more like it!

About a month ago, I read and reviewed The Gunslinger, the first volume in this series. It left me disappointed because it was disjointed and confusing; it told me quite a bit about who The Gunslinger was, but almost nothing about his quest, the object of his quest, or why he was seeking it.

If it had been written by any other author, I wouldn't have bothered, but the fact that "this is The King we're talking about here", and the fact that many members of a readers' group I belong to on Facebook urged me to not give up, persuaded me to give it another go. Besides, even though the first book struck me as nothing more than a teaser, it was still a tempting one!

Well, I'm glad I didn't give up. In his Afterword of this book, Stephen King shares how he thinks that this book is a more "complete story" than the previous volume. I have to agree: it has a coherent beginning, middle, and end, and stuff actually happens to carry the story and characters forward.

Also, in his introduction, Mr King gives a short synopsis of what happens in the first book. And I'm glad of that, because that synopsis actually explained and clarified a few things I was confused about while reading said volume in the first place.

I have a few reasons, though, for not bumping this review up to five stars (although they're not severe enough to bring it down to three):

In the first place, there was a formatting/editing issue in the Google Play edition I read. The convention in this book is to put the characters' thoughts in italics. But in this book, I often found that the italics didn't go away when the thought was over. So, for example, you'd get something like "I'm hungry, he thought." where that entire sentence (including the words "he thought") are in italics. It's inconsistent, of course, so some of them are just fine.

The other two are plot related. The first of these comes in part three (The Pusher). At the beginning of that part, the story sets the stage by relating to some previous events, so you get the distinct impression that it's taking place somewhere in the early '60s. But later, the author remarks that one of the characters keeled over of a heart attack nine years later, while watching The Terminator in the cinema.

Maybe there's a perfectly logical explanation for that, which I either missed or didn't understand.

The second of the plot inconsistencies is also in that third part, but it's much simpler. A cop wakes up to find that his gun, holster, and gunbelt have been stolen. Later, he picks up another gun, and remarks how it won't fit in his holster, and so tucks it into the waistband of his pants. Umm... I thought he didn't HAVE his holster anymore?

Now, despite this formatting issue, and the above two plot inconsistencies, this is a fantastic story, definitely in line with what you've come to expect from the great Stephen King. And if you pick up an edition which contains that "Book 1 Synopsis", there's a good chance you'll be able to forego that embarrassment altogether and start the series from here!

Oh, there's one more thing I noticed. I remember when the Dark Tower movie came out, some racist commented on the YouTube trailer how it was a travesty that Idris Alba should play the lead because Stephen King never said The Gunslinger was black. This poor misguided soul promised to boycott every one of King's books from then on, because of it.

Having never read the books before at that time, my first thought was, "So? I doubt he ever said The Gunslinger WASN'T black."

Well, after reading this book, I have to say, "Hmm, okay, fair enough. He kinda does." The Gunslinger is white, and in fact, this volume makes a rather big deal of that fact, because a racist black woman who hates "honky mahfas" plays a significant part in this story.

I mentioned in my review of the first book that I couldn't help seeing Idris Alba. And so it was for the first 20-30% of the second book, too. Until the aforementioned became apparent. Now I have to re-imagine him all over again....

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

About the Book


Part II of an epic saga. Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into a different person living in New York. Through these doorways, Roland draws the companions who will assist him on his quest to save the Dark Tower. 

Click the cover above to find out where you can buy the ebook.

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