This book is something of an oddity. That being, the first time I read it, I would probably have given it 3-stars, and felt quite generous doing so. IThis book is something of an oddity. That being, the first time I read it, I would probably have given it 3-stars, and felt quite generous doing so. It was really "meh" and though I was a King fan, I wasn't pleased with it after the hype. I even delayed reading Book 2 for awhile because I was somewhat turned off. I didn't hate it, but it left me ambivalent for the most part.
But this is definitely a book that gets better with time, with re-readings, and with the rest of the series. The second time I read it, I probably would have rated it 4-stars, and this was after reading Books 2 and 3 and preparing for the release of Book 4. By this time, I was in love with the series.
I read it again just before Books 5-7 came out in fairly quick succession. And yes, by then it had earned the 5-star rating you see here. For this fourth read of The Gunslinger, I'm enchanted with it even more than before.
On it's own, the book doesn't do much for me. But when you combine it with the entire series, wow! It's the essential beginning to the essential fantasy series of my generation. The Dark Tower is truly better than the sum of its parts. And as the first part, this thing is the motor that keeps the car running.
"The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed."
The Drawing of the Three is the novel where the Dark Tower story goes from being a cool gunslinger action adventure of the weird west to being a trueThe Drawing of the Three is the novel where the Dark Tower story goes from being a cool gunslinger action adventure of the weird west to being a true epic. We still have elements of that otherworldly western flavor, but we get a huge mixture of reality when Roland, the gunslinger anti-hero of the first book, opens a door into “our” world.
The three doors Roland must open each connect to our world, but at different “whens”, different eras. From each of these entry points, there are things that Roland must do in order to continue on the path to his fabled Dark Tower.
With these adventures, we’re introduced to new characters, a new ka-tet that will help Roland on his quest. But before they can move forward to their goal, they each have something they must work through first. Roland’s intervention is essential to this development, for without it they would be useless to him and to his quest.
This is the fourth time I’ve read this volume, and like its predecessor, The Gunslinger, it gets better with each reading. Little things that were missed before start to come together to form the whole. I did notice some discrepancies along the way, minor detail errors that could have been simple editing mistakes, or perhaps purposeful clues that the worlds don’t always connect smoothly and logically. It’s a good out to cover up any mistakes, at any rate. I also saw a little clue that linked a book I’d never realized had any Dark Tower relevance, and that’s always fun too. In small ways, I believe that all of King’s work is connected. Perhaps even his non-fiction.
I’m really excited about plunging into The Wastelands again, as the end of this book really sets us up nicely for a continuance of the adventure. While it does have a good stopping point, there is obviously more, much more, that we’ll see before Roland and his ka-tet come to their Dark Tower.
The cards have been drawn and dealt. The Dark Tower saga will continue with the cards played, for good or ill. Or both. Did-a-chik.
While this book isn't my absolute favorite of the Dark Tower series, it's pretty essential. It is here that Roland the Gunslinger's ka-tet is completeWhile this book isn't my absolute favorite of the Dark Tower series, it's pretty essential. It is here that Roland the Gunslinger's ka-tet is complete and the path to the Tower is joined in full.
It's a great bridge between the first books and later ones, as it brings full circle some of the initial plot-lines and sets the characters on a course for the new plot-lines.
In Book 1, we meet Roland and Jake. In Book 2, we meet Eddie and Susannah. Here in Book 3, they are joined by Oy and become more than casual acquaintances; they become ka-tet.
Oh, and Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth....more
Stephen King is a genius. I'm not sure at this point where this ranks among my favorites, but it's up there. I'll have to let it percolate some more bStephen King is a genius. I'm not sure at this point where this ranks among my favorites, but it's up there. I'll have to let it percolate some more before it settles into a proper ranking.
But at any rate, Under the Dome was an awesome read. At nearly 1100 pages, you'd think it would be a long effort to get through it. Not at all. It took me a little more than a week, and if I didn't have obligations and people in my life, I probably could have knocked it out a lot quicker than that. The pace starts on page 1, and doesn't let up.
The tiny town of Chester's Mill is suddenly cut off from the world by an invisible dome that settles down over the town. After dealing with the several catastrophes that the arrival of the dome causes, we get to see what a small town might do under the incredible stress of isolation. They are able to live and breath and function beneath the dome, but they soon realize that their supplies and the very air they breathe might be limited.
Above anything else it is, this book is a scary look at a small town society and how quickly it can unravel. A look at how far some people will go to maintain the status quo. And on the plus side, a look at how good people can come together and do the right thing. The trick, of course, is realizing which category you fall into when the shit hits the fan.
This may very well be one of the earliest subtle horror stories from King. That said, this one wasn't a scare-fest out to make the reader piss himselfThis may very well be one of the earliest subtle horror stories from King. That said, this one wasn't a scare-fest out to make the reader piss himself/herself like many of his early works.
But here the terror is perhaps worse. In this novel, the "monsters" are normal human beings that work for the US government. Agents of The Shop earn a paycheck from the legitimate government to keep America "safe". They just might be scarier than Cujo, Barlow, Pennywise, Annie Wilkes, Tak, and the Crimson King (though they might actually be unwitting agents of that one).
The reason for that is that they're so realistic. This COULD happen. The powers exhibited by Charlie McGee and her father are telepathic/telekinetic, and set in the realm of science fiction. But at the same time, their existence here is plausibly explained. And if it DID happen, who would want to bey that some government agency or another wouldn't react much as The Shop did in this novel?
But the novel is well written, and a great case in character study. Charlie has a terrifying power, but is such a sweet and charming girl. The reader can't help but love her and want to set fire ourselves to all the mean Shop agents that just won't let her be. But on the flipside of that is the principal villain of the story, John Rainbird. This might be the first King baddie where we get to see inside his head as well and understand what makes him tick. He is charming in his own way just as much as Charlie. He's sincere in his albeit twisted love for her, and that makes him all the more intimidating. Not only that, but his instincts are seriously hardcore. A fly couldn't fart without this guy catching scent of it.
Firestarter was one of the first group of King books I ever read. Back then, it was the ONLY group of King books. This was before anyone knew who Richard Bachman was, before Drew Barrymore had been cast as Charlie in the film version (though she had already done E.T. by this time). I hadn't re-read it until recently, and it was certainly a joy to become reacquainted with Charlie, Rainbird, Andy, Orville and Norville, and old Cap. Even Cap's friggin' snakes and pretty little Pynchot. ...more
This is one of those rare moments when I bump a 4-star that I read many years ago up to 5-star. Usually a book isn't quite as magical on the second reThis is one of those rare moments when I bump a 4-star that I read many years ago up to 5-star. Usually a book isn't quite as magical on the second read, though with authors like King the rating normally stays the same as before.
But here, I realize that I underestimated just what The Talisman did for me. More than once I thought that it felt like Tolkien. I was often reminded of The Dark Tower (which I had not yet read during my first visit to the Territories). A Mark Twain boy's adventure even came to mind, blending with the Looking-Glass element of flipping back and forth between the pollution infested tired modern world and one of magical wonder.
Fans of Harry Potter should like this as well. Not because of any magical jumping candy frogs or a really awesome sounding name like "Hermione", but because this is where a young boy is set on the path to becoming a man. Not just aging and growing up, but learning about the important things in his life. Friends. Loyalty. Family. Honor. Integrity. And just flat out doing the right thing.
Jack Sawyer grows up a lot in this book, much like Huck Finn, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter before him. Yes, he goes on an adventure, like they did. But more importantly, he learns what it means to remain true to those that call you "friend"....more
It took me awhile to get through this re-read, simply because I'd been squeezing the individual stories in between other books.
But this was a fantastiIt took me awhile to get through this re-read, simply because I'd been squeezing the individual stories in between other books.
But this was a fantastic journey once again. Four quite different stories, each had a definite touch of creepiness.
"The Langoliers", "Secret Window, Secret Garden", "The Library Policeman", and "The Sun Dog" make up this collection. While each had different types of characters and settings, they all had one thing in common: the thin fabric between reality and unreality. For just a little while, we readers were able to peek with the characters and see a glimpse of the other side.