The second installment of The Dark Tower series was a much easier read for me than the first. I’m not sure if it was better written or if I was just in a Stephen King frame of mind. Either way, I loved it.
We pick up right where we left off with Roland on the beach. As he wakes up, he realizes that the tide is coming in and his guns/bullets are getting wet (apparently not a good thing if you plan to fire them at a later time.) Then, he sees the creepy-crawlies (that’s what I call them – described as lobster like but much worse). “Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum? Dad-a-cham? Ded-a-check?” Okay, at first I thought this was funny but then it really started creeping me out. King is a master at making you feel uncomfortable and I still squirm a little when I think about these creatures sneaking up on me at the beach. Let’s just say that Roland doesn’t come out unscathed and this short Prologue impacts his interaction with the remaining characters and his ability to make it through the remainder of this book.
The bulk of this story is about Roland’s search for (Drawing of) the three that are to help him get to the tower (as described to him by the Man in Black in Book 1). The three are the Prisoner, the Lady of Shadows and Death. Roland comes to doors along the beach that allow him to meet each player and, in his own gunslinger way, invite them on the journey. After thinking about the book for a few days, I am most invested in the Lady of Shadows. Her story was the most compelling and reminds us that noone is all good or all bad. We all are shades of gray and, if we are lucky, we can merge the good and bad to become a whole person. I also enjoyed the slight overlapping of the three different stories with unexpected interplay between characters (The Pusher and the Lady / The Pusher and Jake). One other note – when King switched POVs between Roland and one of the supporting characters, you would have to think for a second to figure out where we were in the timeline. I liked that it was a little more interesting this way.
My favorite quotes:
“But of course names were secret things, full of power.”
“So it was important to minimize the scarring and the hurt. There was more work to be done. Hate would not help that work. Hate would, in fact, hinder it. But sometimes you went on hating just the same.”
5/5 stars. One of my favorites!! Recommended to anyone who enjoys reading.