The Waste Lands by Stephen King is the third book in the Darktower series. I admit that I initially wanted to give up on the series because the first book was pretty boring. I finally listened to the many other reviewers raving about how the series get a whole lot better starting with the second book and so I’ve decided to stick with it a bit further. To my surprise, The Drawing of the Three was one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory. To say the book renewed my passion for the series is an understatement. However fast forward 600+ pages after having read The Waste Lands and I’m left once again in a bit of disappointment. The Waste Lands started really good and in my opinion introduced the readers to a much more “fantasy-ish” setting than the previous two books. After a while, it took a pretty nasty nose dive and things just started getting boring.
The Waste Lands essentially continues on with the story of Roland, Eddie and Susannah in their search of the Dark Tower. However, after reading through the book, which is almost 600 pages, I’m still not exactly sure what the Dark Tower is suppose to be or its purpose. In fact, the author hardly even mentions about the Dark Tower in the book. Instead, the only information you’ll have is that the party is heading along “the Beam” which should eventually lead them to the tower itself. Putting that issue aside, I’m sure the author knows what he is doing and will talk more about it in the later books but it just feels so irritating at times. With the character of Roland the Gunslinger, he behaves more or less how I expected him to behave. This goes the same with Eddie and Susannah. This is typically not a problem for me but I just thought that the author would have put more time into developing these characters even more than the previous book considering the length of the book. Instead, a huge chunk of the book that deals with Jake in his world just felt so dragged out. In fact, many parts of this book felt the same. I would believe that trimming this book down 100 pages or so or even more would still get the story across to the readers.
What I did enjoy from this book is how once again the author can effortlessly put the thoughts in his mind into words on a paper. Although there were parts where I seriously wanted to skim through the pages, I held myself in check because I never know if I’ll skip over important parts for later in the story. This happens because of the author’s writing style and how it just grabs a hold of you at times. I initially thought that the world building would also expand from the previous books and in truth the author has succeeded at certain parts. It’s pretty hard to build a world where everything is so bleek and empty. However, it wasn’t until towards the ending of the book that got me interested in the world of the Dark Tower series. I’m going to admit here that I have once again thought to put this series to rest. But the ending of The Waste Lands prevented that from happening. I feel that the world just got a whole lot interesting and if that is to be true, then the story for the next book would also be a lot more exciting as well. At least that’s what I hope.
There were some intense moments but I really don’t think that is the main theme for the series overall. I know that I’ve stated that this book can get a bit boring at times and I really mean that. If the book got trimmed a bit at the right places, it might have been a bit better. Of course, many readers will disagree with me on this issue, however. After reading The Waste Land, I really do believe that the introductions for the main characters have been completed. The pieces are truly set and the story can move forward. I’m really hoping that the author will talk more about the Dark Tower itself soon because right now I have a good feeling that many readers up to this point have no idea why Roland and company are even on this adventure in the first place. Once this is more clear to the readers, I believe the road will be a lot smoother in my opinion.