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The Drawing of the Three, book #2 of The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Review by Mike 2004-03-05

For those of you that are seriously allergic to spoilers I need to point out that even though I don't give any specific events away, some things in the review may reveal the on-going plot of the series in a very general way.

Although originally published seven years later, The Drawing of the Three takes up the story right where The Gunslinger ended. According to the oracle’s prophesy Roland must now find three persons to accompany him on his road to the Dark Tower. The book is divided into three big sections, each dedicated to the finding of one these persons, but they are cleverly interconnected and the main story line is progressing all the way through the book.

In many ways this book is quite different from The Gunslinger. The remoteness in the narrative is gone, there are fewer flashbacks, and very little in the way of speculation about what the ultimate goal is. It also has a quicker pace, with truly breathtaking action sequences, and some exceptional plot twists. Overall I felt this work was more mature, and more in line with King’s writing in general, at the same time as it has an excellent fantasy background.

King claims that the Dark Tower is inspired mainly by Tolkien and Sergio Leone, but after finishing The Drawing of the Three I definitely have the feeling that he also has read one or two books by Stephen Donaldson. Some of the same ideas that are the foundation of Donaldson’s writing are evident here too, especially the flawed, unwilling hero concept, and there was at least one detail that instantly reminded me of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

The similarity to Donaldson does in no way affect my judgment negatively. This is King at his best, and fantasy at its finest – I give The Drawing of the Three all 5 amulets available.

The Dark Tower
The Gunslinger (1982, 2003)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Song of Susannah (scheduled for June 2004)
The Dark Tower (scheduled for September 2004)

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