Book Review: Dark Tower #2 – The Drawing of the Three

Title: The Drawing of the Three
Author: Stephen King
Year of Publication: 1987
Series: The Dark Tower
#: 2
Goodreads Rating (Avg.): 4.21
Goodreads Rating (Mine): 3

A Few Important Spoilers Here and There

drawing of the three

Plot Description: In this sequel to The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead must meet three strangers who will help him on his quest – the Stranger, the Lady of Shadows and the Pusher. Together with new characters Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes, Roland journeys further along the path that he hopes will eventually lead him to the Dark Tower.

At this stage in the series, I was still pretty absorbed by the plot. This was despite the fact that the writing remained dry and cramped, and the whole time I was reading this book I felt like I was eating something completely tasteless out of some weird compulsion.

Fascination might actually be a better term for it, because in The Drawing of the Three, King actually introduces a few characters who are far more likeable and relatable than his Cowboy With An Extra Helping of Hero. The problem with Roland is that he’s presented as practically flawless – his only flaw is his singleminded determination to reach the Tower no matter what, and since that’s the whole point of the series, it’s not really considered a flaw. On the other hand, Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes are both extremely flawed characters who must balance their personal struggles with helping Roland on his quest. This is despite the fact that both of them were pulled unwillingly out of their respective lives – lives which take place in different decades in our modern world – by Roland the Selfish Hero.

Roland was last seen waking from his conversation with his old enemy Merlin, only to find that ten years have passed since he sat down to talk to the wizard, and that the wizard is now dead. I mention these facts because they are completely out of line with the story presented in later books (plothole alert!) where it says that a hundred years passed while he was talking to Merlin, not ten, and that Merlin isn’t dead after all. As an afterthought, Merlin’s continued existence is ret-conned and we’re told he faked his death. What purpose was served by this entire rigmarole is something we readers will forever remain in the dark about, unfortunately.

Eddie Dean is the Prisoner represented in the first of the tarot cards Merlin draws for Roland during their ‘palaver’. (Old fashioned terms like this one are overused to the point of exasperation throughout this series). Eddie, it turns out, is not a conventional prisoner, but a junkie – a prisoner to heroin. Roland first encounters him as he’s endeavouring to get a couple of bags of cocaine through customs as a drug mule in 1987, and he eventually pulls Eddie out of our world and into his, where Eddie begins to experience withdrawal and is taught in the ways of being a gunslinger by Roland.

Odetta Holmes is a crippled civil rights activist from 1964 who suffers from multiple personality disorder brought on by multiple traumas in her life – including the accident which caused her to lose her legs. Odetta is educated, soft spoken and non violent, and thus the complete opposite of her alter ego, Detta Walker. Detta is extremely violent and dangerous, harbours a burning hatred for white people – especially white men, is delusional, and speaks in an exaggerated caricature of the stereotype of an uneducated Afro-American. Just as with Eddie and his drug addiction, Roland helps Odetta and Detta confront reconcile their personalities, thus creating Susannah Dean.

Both Eddie and Susannah (who have fallen in love and consider themselves married) prove to be ‘natural gunslingers’, picking up the knack of fast shooting and other gunslinger characteristics extremely quickly. This is despite the fact that neither of them have ever trained for any sort of active physical life, and considering it took Roland and his childhood friends a decade before they could be considered trained gunslingers, I find this premise unlikely (and therefore an example of shoddy and lazy writing). Eddie and Susannah are ‘natural gunslingers’ only because the plot demands it of them.

The final person Roland comes face to face with is Jack Mort, a lowlife criminal sociopath with murderous tendencies. Throughout his life, the Pusher has attempted to kill numerous people, either by dropping heavy things on them from above, or by pushing them – into traffic (as in the case of Jake Chambers) or into the path of an oncoming train (as in the case of Susannah Dean). When Roland realizes that Jack Mort is responsible both for Jake’s initial death in The Gunslinger as well as for the loss of Susannah’s legs and the development of her Multiple Personality Disorder, he kills Jack in revenge, and to prevent him from killing Jake (again). Roland’s actions here also set up for the return of an alternate version of Jake Chambers in the next book, The Waste Lands.

The vibrant and unique personalities of Eddie and Susannah Dean are what saved this book as far as I was concerned. Indeed, the further this series progressed, the more it became clear to me that of the eventual quintet, Roland was the least interesting, the least worth saving.

While The Drawing of the Three is still pretty good as far as novels go, the series is fast approaching decline, which is why I’d never recommend it to anyone. Unless they were stuck in Mid World with Roland of Gilead and had nothing better to do.

Next in this Series: The Dark Tower #3 – The Waste Lands

Next Review: Bloodlines #3 – The Indigo Spell

Vampire Academy and Bloodlines: Main Character Overview

Be Warned: Here Be SPOILERS!!!

Characters:

  1. Rosemarie Hathaway:
    The dhampir protagonist of the Vampire Academy series, which is told entirely from her perspective. Rose is 17, intelligent, sexy, training to be a guardian for Moroi, and everything you could wish for in a YA heroine. Bella Swan could learn A LOT from Rose – like how to grow a spine, for example. And she isn’t just the best fighter in a class dominated by males – she has also proved herself to be a total match for her older mentor Dimitri. And that’s saying a lot, because Dimitri is considered hands down the best guardian and Strigoi fighter anywhere in the world.
  2. Vasilisa Dragomir:
    Lissa is Rose’s best friend, as well as the Moroi that Rose hopes to be assigned to when she finally graduates from St. Vladimir’s Academy. The two of them share a spirit bond that allows Rose to see into Lissa’s thoughts – a side effect from that one time Lissa brought Rose back from the dead. (I’m not joking. YA Fantasy, remember?) Lissa is a nerd, stunningly beautiful and a natural leader. After having lost her entire family to an accident, Lissa is now the last remaining member of the Dragomirs – a unique position that makes everyone extremely protective of her.
    Lissa wields the rare elemental magic called Spirit, which gives her powers including strong compulsion and the power to heal, at the heavy price of depression and mental instability.
  3. Dimitri Belikov:
    A 24 year old Russian dhampir who is a new guardian at St. Vlad’s, Dimitri already has a reputation as a fearsome fighter and is considered practically godlike by his students. He unwillingly volunteers to give Rose Hathaway extra coaching, leading to the sparking of an attraction between the two of them. Their relationship is one of the main plot driving forces in the story, as they struggle to choose between their personal wishes and their duty to always put guarding the Moroi first. (And yeah, the 7 year age gap thing).
  4. Christian Ozera:
    One of Rose and Lissa’s classmates, Christian has always been a social outsider at the school owing to a tragic past involving his parents which has left its mark on him and his family. He falls for Lissa Dragomir, but tries to stay away from her, reasoning that the last Dragomir should ideally move in royal social circles that aren’t very welcoming of him.
    Christian is a fire user, and one of the first to push the progressive thought that the moroi learn to defend themselves using their magic, as opposed to relying so heavily on dwindling dhampir numbers to protect them.
  5. Adrian Ivashkov:
    First introduced in Frostbite, Adrian is moody, an alcoholic and a chain smoking party boy. He falls in love for the first time when he meets Rose Hathaway, but she dismisses his advances as careless flirtation, or an attempt to get her into bed. Adrian is also a Spirit user, and he and Lissa develop a strong friendship while working together to try and figure out the extents of their powers. The Bloodlines series focuses on Adrian’s life and his relationship with the Alchemist Sydney Sage, with both of them getting alternating POV chapters in the series.
  6. Sydney Sage:
    A human girl raised in an Alchemist family, Sydney views vampires and dhampirs as unnatural and evil. She is an automobile, architecture and caffeine afficionado, and eventually also realizes that she has the potential to practice human magic. In the course of her work with the Alchemists, she finds herself re-evaluating her beliefs about vampires, and eventually falls in love with Adrian Ivashkov.
  7. Edison Castile:
    Eddie is one of Rose’s best friends in school, and eventually grows up to be one of the best guardians around. In addition to being a brilliant fighter, Eddie is also unswervingly loyal and painfully dutiful. When assigned for the protection of Jill Mastrano, Eddie falls in love with her, but holds off on hopes of a relationship with her because of the differences in their races and social status. He is often referred to as “mini-Dimitri” by Adrian.
  8. Sonya Karp:
    Sonya was one of Rose and Lissa’s teachers in school, and the first Spirit user they knew about. She recognized Lissa’s abilities and tried to warn Rose about the negative effects of practising Spirit. She herself was unable to cope well with the mental instability that came along with her powers, and eventually chose to turn Strigoi in order to retain her sanity.
  9. Abe Mazur:
    Rose comes across Abe Mazur in Russia, and thinks of him as the Moroi version of a mobster. While not royal, Mazur is a highly savvy – and therefore rich – businessman and it is often implied that he is involved in a number of illegal activities. Mazur is notable for his outlandish fashion sense, his way with the ladies, and his ability to easily procure C4 explosives.
  10. Jaclyn Terwilliger:
    Jacky Terwilliger is Sydney’s history teacher and an extremely powerful witch. She notices Sydney’s potential and encourages her to practice magic. As a result, Sydney eventually joins Jacky’s coven – the Stelle.