The Waste Lands by Stephen King

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Rating 9.7/10
A blend of riveting action and powerful drama.

As a series progresses I find it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid repetition when attempting to put across exactly what it is I enjoy about the books. My reviews for The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three have explained why I am such a fan of the Dark Tower series but I believe that now, for this review of book three, the purpose should be to talk about whether the author has managed to maintain the very high level standards set in previous instalments.

And the reason I think this is due to my experience with the "fantasy series" over the years. Many run out of steam, many give me the impression that the author - or most likely the publishing company - are going to ride the gravy train for all its worth, regardless of whether there is anything new to say, or if the author used up all of their ideas. If you talk to readers of the Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Sword of Shannara, Malazan or Harry Potter series then many will have favourite books, and books they didn't overly like. And this is both the joy and frustration of forming an emotional attachment to an ongoing project.

The Dark Tower series is, for me, a wonderful journey that is subtly different on each occasion. This current re-read marks the fourth time I have embarked on this literary voyage and I have once again found that the first three books are amongst the best I have encountered in any series in the genre. I hold the opening trinity to be of the same standard, and that standard is excellent. The Waste Lands will not win any new fans or lose any existing fans; it will simply give the constant reader (Stephen King's affectionate term for those who enjoy his work) exactly what they want: the development of the story and the characters they love, the additional insights into Mid World and the emotional reward earned in its reading.

The Drawing of the Three ended with Roland, the last gunslinger, having successfully "drawn" Eddie and Susannah from their worlds into his. This group, or ka-tet, must now travel along the Beam towards Roland's life-long obsession: The Dark Tower. But the path is far from clear and along its course lies a giant, seventy-foot-tall bear, a deadly robotic menagerie before facing the ultimate challenge of all in the form of a psychotic, suicidal locomotive.

The Waste Lands continues the beautifully woven tale already begun and I find that the Dark Tower is a series that just keeps on giving. In closing I would like to offer a little advice if I may? If you are going to the read the series in its entirety, try and read each volume back to back - it is so much better this way.

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