Off the Shelf

The Dark Tower II - "The Drawing of The Three"

By Marcus Pan

The Drawing of the ThreeI started the second part in King's Dark Tower series immediately upon finishing the first. I liked the way "The Gunslinger" had ended and wanted to continue the saga quickly because it ran up to a great level of suspense. The second book in the series begins "less than seven hours" after the ending of the first. We find Roland sitting on a long beach against a sea across which there is nothing but the horizon. After getting attacked by the creatures Roland dubs the "lobstrosities," (a wonderful play on dual words) he heads off. His quest takes him in search of "the Three," of which the gunslinger knows nothing about. But eventually he finds a door.

Let's talk about the door for a moment. Floating in the air, hinged to something unseeable and when opens it reveals what is seen through the eyes of somebody else in another place. Again the question of whether Roland is time travelling or multiverse hopping comes up...but put it down just for a moment. A floating door. No thickness…no substance. And, of course, only Roland may turn the knob and open it. Come on, Mr. King…couldn't you, after all your years of wowing us with demons, devils, monsters unimaginable and all that rot…couldn't you come up with something else besides a floating, unexplainable door?

Roland uses these doors, three in all (as you would guess by now), to enter the minds of those he must "draw forth" to his world. These people are pulled from modern day America. The first is a junkie and the second turns out to be a schizophrenic black woman who has this nasty tendency to go insane and start screaming racial slurs at the other two men. The junkie, Eddie, falls in love with the not-insane version of the woman; one Odetta Holmes. The other is Detta Walker, a foul mouthed race-incensed woman who uses the words "honky mahfah" consistently. She has no legs, but does have a whole lot of guts…suddenly able to wield Roland's .45 pistol with accuracy enough to pick off a hungry lobstrosity from between the junkie's legs without so much as scratching his balls. Not bad for a first time out, don't you think?

This book was a little slower than the first…reading got a bit tedious on occasion so it therefore took me longer to complete. It started to get a little predictable as time wore on; first they walk down the beach, then they find a door, then they bring another person through it, then they walk further down the beach…however by the time you reach the last section of the book the tedious nature and predictability goes away and it becomes engrossingly exciting. The final person, you assume, will be brought through the door. Not so! Instead this man, through Roland's sacrifice of him, brings the schizophrenic Odetta/Detta combination through a strange separation catharsis that eventually brings out the third person of Roland's group and the third personality in Odetta's head. It was a bit confusing so expect to read at least that portion of "The Drawing" a couple times.

In conclusion, the second book was a bit slow and monotonous through its bulk. But when you reach the final chapter it suddenly kicks into turbo-overdrive and rushes to a very good ending. The connections that King keeps between the other characters reaches deep into their psyches and beyond the depths of the book itself. Even seemingly simple stories they tell each other about their lives take on a new form by the end of the book to show how, if you follow the trail back far enough, we're all connected somehow.

"The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of The Three" by Stephen King
Published by the Penguin Group
Copyright © 1987 by Stephen King
ISBN 0-451-16352-4

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