Reviewed by: Michala T.
Have you read book one? Here is my review of The Gunslinger.
The Drawing of the Three (Book 2 of Stephen King’s Gunslinger Series)
King’s second in his series begins just seven hours after the conclusion of book one. Roland Deschain of Gilead wakes up from a dream and he finds himself lying on a beach where strange creatures have begun to have war with Roland’s body. Due to his bullets being wet he shoots duds and nearly loses the battle with the creatures. Though he makes off with his life, he grows sicker by the day due to infections.
His journey leads him west and he comes upon a door standing alone on the sandy shores. Roland knows from his pavalier with the man in black that he must ‘draw three’. The door he sees in the distance is his first ‘draw’. The door, once open, propels him into the world of Eddie Dean. Roland must save Eddie in more than one way before, find medicine to help Roland from suffering an agonizing death, and bring Eddie back to his own world. The only problem is, Roland isn’t exactly in Eddie’s world…he’s inside Eddie’s head. Eddie is a heroin addict. He is his brother’s keeper; his protector. And Eddie is caught in the midst of a drug war.
Roland’s second draw is Odetta Holmes. Odetta, like Eddie Dean, lives in New York only she comes from the 1060’s, some thirty years before Eddie’s time. She has her own set of problems. She has a shadow figure and Roland must learn how to deal with Odetta, her shadow, and bring the woman back to his world. Her shadow figure just so happens to be a second person inside her head. When she was younger, she was pushed in front of a train in which catapulted her mind into a defense mode, creating Detta Walker. The two have lived years and years without the knowledge of either’s existence. Only when Roland enters their mind is there a semblance of doubt, recognition, and fear between the two.
The third drawing is a unique one. Instead of drawing another helpmate, he draws Jack Mort. Mort is a serial killer from the 70’s. Jack is also known as The Pusher. He is the man who pushed Jake into oncoming traffic in book one as well as having a play in the creation of Odetta’s psychological issues and her shadow figure as he also pushed Odetta in front of the train. Roland isn’t quite sure how to play this hand but true to his character, he figures things out. He uses Jack Mort to solve his dilemma of the two separate entities inside Odetta’s body. He uses Jack Mort and then he does away with him. However since Jack Mort was before Jake’s time, Jake was never pushed and thus never died.
This causes an imbalance in Roland’s own mind and he begins to suffer a madness of the truth where Jake died and came to Roland’s land and where Jake lives and never encounters Roland.
Where King is known for his rambling, his long incessant explanation and definition, this book is quite the opposite. There is a perfect equilibrium between definition, explanation, visual description, and dialogue. King means business and he sticks to his guns, just as Roland does. It is definitely proof positive that the series only grows, gathers steam, and propels the reader deep into the storyline. The characters he creates is by far the best I’ve ever seen. I read the first three books in the early 90’s and to read them again I can say that the level of intensity hasn’t changed for me. I am just as much thrown into the story now as I was then.
What I love most of this book is the separate lives and how they are yet all so unequivocally part of Roland and his quest for the tower. Roland, who was so very alone in book one...in this book finds his ka-tet. He draws his gunslingers to him. They may not take the place of his long, lost dear friends of his past but Roland accepts them, sees similarities in them, and begins to love them. All while knowing that if he had to sacrifice them for the sake of the tower…he would. King writes this tale, and a part of me wants to hate Roland for his selfishness but it isn’t truly selfishness. He knows that something has gone terribly wrong with the world and it is because something has gone wrong with the tower.
To save the world, would you be able to sacrifice one or two? Because of this, we, or I love Roland. I know he stands what everything true and good and right. He hates what must be done and in feeling this way, I sympathize for him…and yearn to read what he will do next.
My Verdict: 10/10