The Waste Lands (Stephen King)

The Waste Lands is the third novel in the The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
Finished on: 9.5.2017
[Here are my reviews of the other novels in the series.]

Roland has found Eddie and Susannah, and together they start moving through Mid-World in the direction of the Dark Tower. They know they are on the right path when they hit one of the Beams, including its guardian that spread out from the Tower itself. But while the direction is now clear, something else becomes apparent: Roland’s mind is starting to fall apart. Jake in New York City is equally struggling as his part in the story simply isn’t over yet.

The Waste Lands digs deeper in the story and the quest and it feels a bit like the actual story is getting started now – like the preliminiaries are now dealt with and we can really get to it. As usual there were some things about it that I didn’t particularly like, but I’m still very much invested in the story.

I’m always in favor of time-travel stories. And The Waste Lands isn’t quite time-travel, but it is related, which is definitely a point in its favor. I also loved that technology really starts to play a more important role in Roland’s world.

But mostly I loved how the ka-tet, the team (including lovely Oy), comes together and starts actually being a team. King manages to balance the overall team development with the development of the one-on-one relationships between the characters, making both parts feel more natural. Particularly the slow change that starts with Roland warmed my heart.

What I didn’t love about it was the last part, when the ka-tet hits the city of Lud. Things there felt a little hurried and didn’t add much to the overall story, I thought. And Blaine the Mono really is a pain to read about.

And there are still my old concerns: that there are practically no women in the books at all and no PoC, except for Susannah, and the way Susannah’s disability is described. I mean, it’s a book series that has a black, disabled woman as one of the main characters and she stands out extremely with all three of those elements of her identity. As opposed to Roland who becomes disabled in The Drawing of the Three, but where it’s never such a big point and never used to alienate him as much as it’s done with Susannah.

Despite those weaknesses, the book is strong enough to keep me interested in the series and to enjoy it, even though it probably won’t be my favorite entry in the series.

Summarizing: A good continuation of the series.

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