The Waste Lands by Stephen King

This entry is part [part not set] of 7 in the series The Dark Tower

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
Publisher: Penguin Putnam (2003), EBook: 2,023KB pages, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-3754-X

This book starts out with an exciting battle against a gigantic, crazy, cyborg bear who has been defending his forest for thousands of years.  The bear is now at the end of his existence and it is up to Susannah and Eddie to put him out of his misery before he destroys all of them. The story continues several weeks after Roland has joined up with Eddie, who is from our world in 1987 and Susannah who is from our world in 1964. Roland realizes that the bear was one of the Guardians and he deduces that if they go back to his lair they will be able to follow the beam of the portal which will lead them to the Dark Tower. This is the closest Roland has ever been in all his long travels to reaching the Dark Tower. Soon after they start on this new adventure many things occur to distract them along their path.

This is the third book in the Dark Tower series, there are currently a total of seven books, and Stephen King announced in 2009 that he is currently working on the eighth book, The Wind Through the Keyhole which will be released at some point in the future.  Stephen King is primarily known as a horror author, but this book does not fall into that genre.  Instead it is in the fantasy genre and sometimes considered a western.  The story is told with a third person narrative and focuses primarily on Roland Deschain of Gilead.  Although at times it is also told from the other characters who have joined Roland on his quest to find and heal the Dark Tower. They are all Gunslingers and his fellow questees are Eddie Dean of New York  (from 1987) and his wife Susanna Dean of New York (from 1964) as well as their adopted son, Jake Chambers of New York (from 1977).  The Dark Tower is at the centre of the universe and connects all the varying worlds and time-lines together. These books take place in a post-apocalyptic world where things are running down and time has become weird.

I really enjoyed this book, I loved reading about these people and their adventures as they work their way towards the Dark Tower. More light is put on the world they live in and why the world has moved on, why things are wearing out and changing for the worse.  We learn that these problems not only affect Roland’s world, but all worlds because there is something seriously wrong with the Dark Tower and the Dark Tower is at the centre of all existence in all the worlds. We learn that all the worlds are inter-related and can be access through various mystical doors as well as through the Dark Tower.  We find out that the Great Old Ones discovered the Dark Tower and found a way to access to it by creating twelve interconnected portals known as the Guardians.

Eddie and Susannah fall in love and under Roland’s tutelage truly become gunslingers. Due to Roland changing events in our world in 1977 in the previous book, Jake does not die but instead is drawn to join again with Roland in this book at a different time and place. There is a very interesting, exciting and frightening unfolding of events which allow this happen. The group continues onto a dilapidated city that is ruled by gangs and cruel crazy people.

There is lots of action and excitement once they arrive in this new location.  However, the story did not come to a conclusion; instead it ended in the middle of the story, which I do not really like and for this reason it lost one treasure box rating.  The good thing was that the next book was available for me to pick up and read so I was able to see how the story ended in the next book, Wizard and Glass. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, but please read the prior books first as this book is not really a stand-alone book.  If you enjoy reading fantasy/science fiction books then you will definitely enjoy this book since it has a bit of both within it.

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