The ka-tet – Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy – are still on their quest which leads them through Calla Bryn Sturgis when they realize that they are being followed at a distance. It doesn’t take long for their suitors to catch up with them. It turns out that they are locals, joined by Father Callahan who crossed over from New York a long time ago, and they have come to ask the gunslingers for help. But that isn’t everything that they have going on: Additionally, Eddie and Jake travel to New York in their dreams, going to to-dash, which leads them back to the bookstore Jake visited and that seems intimately connected with The Dark Tower.
There were many things about Wolves of the Calla that annoyed me, making this installment of the series one of my least favorite, even if it still managed to pull me in.
Jake (Tom Taylor) has been having visions. Visions of Roland (Idris Elba) who has been on a quest since about forever, trying to keep the Dark Tower that keeps the universe together from falling. But the Tower is under attack from Walter (Matthew McConaughey) and his henchmen. Jake finally connects with Roland for real, realizing that he has a bigger part to play in Roland’s quest than anyone knew.
The Dark Tower is a catastrophe, but as an adaption of the novels (that I haven’t yet all read) and as a film in its own right. Since I heard nothing good about the film beforehand, my expectations were already low, but the film still limbo danced under them with ease.
The ka-tet Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy get trapped in a storm, a starkblast. As they wait it out, Roland tells them the story of when he and Jaime De Curry were sent west to Debaria as young men to investigate the claims of a town that a shapeshifter is terrorizing them. In Debaria Roland finds that the only person who might be able to identify the shapeshifter is a young boy, Bill. They, too, have to wait for a bit, so Roland tells Bill a story he heard in his own childhood, of Tim Ross and his magical quest to avenge his father.
I liked this interlude that provides us with yet another look at Roland’s youth. In fact, it might be one of my favorites of the series – although mostly for the story within the story within the story that was a beautiful fairy tale.
Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah and Oy manage to defeat Blaine and arrive at the Topeka railway station, Kansas. Only it’s not the Kansas of Jake’s, Eddie’s and Susannah’s world. Something awful has happened here. As they leave the city, they come close to something Roland calls a “thinny”, an eerie hole in the dimensional fabric. As they camp for the night, Roland tells them the story of where he encountered a thinny for the first time, which is also the story of his first big love, Susan Delgado.
Most of Wizard and Glass is spent in Roland’s past, a “detour” from the quest I very much enjoyed, even though I had some issues here and there with a couple of things.
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.
After the encounter with the Man in Black, Roland wakes on a beach, the Man in Black’s tarot reading of his fate still ringing in his ear. Before Roland can get his bearings, he is attacked and injured by lobstrosities. In an increasingly weakened state, he starts to move along the beach in search of the Three that were announced to him as his partners. It’s then that he stumbles upon a door that stands on its own on the beach. When Roland opens it, he is transported to another world, New York City, which is deeply connected to his own.
The Drawing of the Three is an exciting read that left me wanting more (fortunately there is more), although there were also things I didn’t exactly like about it.
The Gunslinger Roland is after the Man in Black. He knows he will get him, even at the edge of a giant deserht, he is slowly gaining on the Man in Black. Roland knows it’s his destiny to get the Man in Black and move on to the The Dark Tower. But it is certainly not an easy thing to fulfill this destiny.
I have read a lot of Stephen King, but somehow I never got around to reading The Dark Tower series. With the adaptation looming around the corner (and can I just take a second to squeal about the casting perfection that is Idris Elba?!), I thought I better get cracking. The Gunslinger was a good, if slightly uneven read set in an absolutely intriguing world – even for someone like me who doesn’t dig Westerns all that much.