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The Waste Lands by Stephen King

The Waste Lands (1991)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Tower (3)

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10,222135281 (4.08)2 / 106

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English (128)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All (1)  All (134)
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The series is moving along better with this book. Many things are being tied together finally and the path forward is making sense. Can't wait to see where the next one goes. ( )
  egrant5329 | Jan 20, 2018 |
The series is moving along better with this book. Many things are being tied together finally and the path forward is making sense. Can't wait to see where the next one goes. ( )
  egrant5329 | Jan 20, 2018 |
Guys, I love this book.

The Waste Lands is where The Dark Tower series is REALLY starting to get good. First and foremost (small spoiler, but honestly, this book is 26 years old) we get Jake back! Jake and Eddie are my favorite characters in this series, so I love his journey back to Roland’s world. Second, we get to see the city of Lud, which I think it the first real example of how Roland’s world has “moved on”. Third? BLAINE THE MONO.

Blaine is my favorite villain in this series. Probably on my top ten ever. He is such fun.

So where we left off in The Drawing of the Three, the trio (Roland, Eddie, Susannah) are leaving the beach with the monstrosities and entering the forest. The Waste Lands picks up on the same breath: here they are now entering the forest, where the world is crumbling. They join the path of the beam and Roland admits his reality is torn.

Another cool thing about The Waste Lands? We spend increasingly more time outside of Roland’s head. While the gunslinger is interesting, it’s the multiple perspectives that make things really juicy. We got a few glimpses of this in The Drawing of the Three, but in this book we are actively split between Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Susannah. I’d say the majority of this book is shared by the boys, but Susannah gets her turn in Wolves of the Calla, so we’ll get there.

Eventually it becomes clear that the cause of Roland’s faltering reality is saving the life of Jake Chambers. Jake’s reality is also torn, and we enter his mind early in the books. Of course what follows is an adventure of rescuing Jake (including a haunted house that is pure King style, and actually made it into the film? *gasp*). This is a traveling story, so we spend a decent time on the road, but there are adventures to be had on the way, and then there is Lud.

Lud is the first city the ka-tet reaches, and they find themselves in the middle of a gang war of the ages… those who remember the time before, and those who don’t. Dire circumstances force them to split up, so we get two running perspectives throughout the city. It’s great, guys. Lud is raw and vile and villainous.

And then there is Blaine.

I won’t spoil Blaine, but he’s magnificent.

Also to note: this book ends off on a heck of a cliffhanger that makes me grateful I was not one of the pained individuals who read this as a new release, because there was a five year wait between books three and four and I’d probably had died of anticipation.

While you have to wait until The Waste Lands for things to REALLY get good… here’s where trudging through The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three are really worth it. And it stays this good until the end. ( )
  Morteana | Jan 6, 2018 |
Just when I thought it was going to get three stars, King surprises me and earn another. Man, I don't even know how to describe this book. It was great: funny, scary, intense, emotional. It was like Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Labyrinth, Christie (and I'm sure a bunch more) all rolled into one. I'm fighting the urge to just start in on the next one. I need to pace myself and give other books a fighting chance. ( )
  ctkjs | Jan 3, 2018 |
Here are Part I and Part II of my journey through Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Part III is focused on my reread of book three, The Waste Lands.

Some spoilers ahead.

The Waste Lands begins with signs that Roland Deschain, the gunslinger is slowly going mad. At the end of the previous book, he stopped the Pusher from shoving Jake (the boy who appears in the first book) in front of a car, thus preventing events from the first book from ever happening. This creates an interesting temporal paradox, in which the gunslinger begins to experience split realities — one in which Jake dies and one in which he never met Jake. As time goes on, his mind becomes more and more divided between these two realities.

Meanwhile, Jake in 1970s new york is experiencing a similar split — in one reality he lives his normal life and in another reality he traveled to the gunslinger's world where he died in a mineshaft. Like Roland, Jake's mind is being cleaved in two, unable to settle on one reality or the other.

It's only when Jake, with the help of Eddie Dean, makes the journey back to Roland's world (via one of the most terrifying houses ever) that the paradox is solved for both the gunslinger and the boy, saving each of them their sanity. It's a moment of pure joy when the two are reunited.

That's just one small bit of the novel — there are a lot of elements packed into this book — the giant, rotting, mechanical bear that was once a guardian; Eddie Dean's grappling with the memory of his brother's disdain and his own self worth; rescuing Jake; traveling in the path of the beam; reaching River Crossing, a small town full of elderly folks; finding a downed Nazi airplane; reaching the City, which bears its own horrors; and at last the introduction of Blaine the train.

Rereading The Waste Lands was a less satisfying experience than reading either of the first two books in the series. Part of this was that all of the elements put together made it feel like separate, distinct stories (all good on their own) had been put together into the same novel. In particular, the first half of the book about the drawing of Jake from our world felt like one story, while the travel through River Crossing and into the city felt like a separate story.

You can read the rest of this review on my blog. ( )
  andreablythe | Dec 9, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dameron, NedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow in the morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

-- T.S. Eliot

"The Waste Land"
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk

Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents

Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents

In the dock's hearth swarth leaves, bruised as to balk

All hop of greenness? 'tis a brute must walk

Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents.

-- Robert Browning

"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
"What river is it?" enquired Millicent idly.

"It's only a stream. Well, perhaps a little more than that. It's called the Waste."

"Is it really?"

"Yes," said Winifred, "it is."

-- Robert Aickman

"Hand in Glove"
This third volume of the tale is gratefully dedicated to my son, OWEN PHILIP KING:

Khef, ka, and ka-tet.
First words
It was her third time with live ammunition. . .and her first time on the draw from the holster Roland had rigged for her.
The house was alive. He knew this, could feel its awareness reaching out from the boards and the slumping roof, could feel it pouring in rivers from the black sockets of its windows. The idea of approaching that terrible place filled him with dismay; the idea of actually going inside filled him with inarticulate horror.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Choo Choo Engine, stood
before Roland the Brave
asking mean riddles.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451210867, Mass Market Paperback)

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams-and nightmares-as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:38 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Roland, the Last Gunslinger, and his companions--Eddie Dean and Susannah--cross the desert of damnation, drawing ever closer to the Dark Tower, a legion of fiendish foes, and revelations that could alter the world.

» see all 9 descriptions

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