The Drawing of the Three (Dark Tower Series #2) by Stephen King (#20BooksofSummer book #1)

Confession:  before last month, I’d never read a novel by Stephen King.  I’d read his book On Writing some years ago (very good,) and I’d enjoyed his regular columns about pop culture in Entertainment Weekly when he was doing that.  But the farthest I’d ever gotten with one of his novels was my attempt to read The Stand when I was about 14 years old.  I’d seen the TV miniseries with Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald and was totally taken by it (scared witless by it too – pandemic stuff always totally freaks me out.) But it was just too terrifying and gory for me to stomach.

418T3GHQAQLLeave it to another movie adaptation to get me interested in reading King again.  When I heard that Idris Elba and Matthew McConoughey were going to star in the upcoming Dark Tower movie, I knew I wanted to see it – but I wanted to read it first.  I’ve always had a thing for Matthew McConoughey ever since I saw him in A Time To Kill back when I was in college.  I now think he might not be that awesome IRL, but on screen he is magnetic and fascinating.

So last month I read the first book in the series, The Gunslinger.  I didn’t review it because I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I READ.  Honestly, I was as confused as I was entertained.  If you’ve not read it, all I can tell you is that there’s this Gunslinger named Roland, and he’s SUPER talented with guns, and he’s on a quest to find The Man in Black. Finding The Man in Black is the first step towards getting to The Dark Tower, which is Roland’s obsession.  He’s traveling through a desert area that resembles the American Old West, but it’s not our universe – it’s like a parallel universe with some echoes of things we’d recognize.  His language is a weird mix of archaic English and modern-day English.  He meets up with a boy named Jake, who is from our world and time, and we find out that in his world Jake was pushed into oncoming traffic and died crushed by a car.  They go through these ridiculous mountains pursuing The Man in Black, and then bad stuff happens, and then Roland and The Man in Black have this weird, trippy talk where TMIB takes Roland on this tour of the universe and reads his tarot cards…  yeah, it’s bizarre.  But I had read and heard that the first book in the series is the weakest, and that the second book is much better and more compelling.

I liked The Gunslinger enough to continue with the second book, The Drawing of the Three.  And people were right – the second book really delivers.  It’s just as hard to describe as the first book, but not as confusing. Roland wakes up on a beach, and he immediately encounters these terrifying lobster-like creatures that are as big as dogs that he calls “lobstrosities.”  One of them gets his hand and chops off two of his fingers.  Infection ensues. Short plot summary:  He sees these doors on the beach, totally unsupported by anything, which are portals into our universe at different times.  Three doors.  Each one leads him to a person who is vital to his quest for reaching The Dark Tower.  We have Eddie, a young heroin addict in modern time; Odetta, an African American woman in a wheelchair in the 1950s; and Jack Mort, a psychopath sadist with a connection to Odetta. Roland can go through these doors and into the minds of the three while his physical body is left behind on the beach in his universe.  It’s weird, I know.

But I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  King has this way of leaving you wanting more with every chapter’s end.  I was totally immersed in this strange tale – would Roland make it before the infection killed him? Would the three people he inhabited help him, or would they turn on him? Why does Odetta seem to be schizophrenic?  Would they ever get off the damn beach??  If you couldn’t tell, I’m hooked.  I have to continue with the next book, The Waste Lands.  I’m really regretting not putting the rest of these on my #20BooksofSummer list.  I may have to switch out one or two of the books for the third and fourth in the series!  We’ll see.  (Oh, and I just remembered that I have my book group books for June and July to consider and fit in as well. Ugh, I STINK at planning my reading!)

So have you read this series?  Are you interested in the movie?  Have you read any Stephen King before?  What’s your favorite Matthew McConoughey role?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

28 thoughts on “The Drawing of the Three (Dark Tower Series #2) by Stephen King (#20BooksofSummer book #1)

  1. I’m so glad that enjoyed this so much! It’s such a great mix of suspense, humor, and weirdness. I think The Wastelands is my favorite in the series, but Wizard and Glass and The Drawing of the Three come close behind. I’m *really* looking forward to the movie. I love the casting, and all the previews look promising, even if it won’t be a perfectly faithful adaptation.

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  2. Firstly, a time to kill made me love Matthew m too, girl I know exactly where you are coming from. Secondly, I’ve watched a few Stephen King movies and read a few of the books, some are awesome, others not so much. Although I do love how he seems to make little cameos in the movies, very cheeky. I watched the trailer for the dark trailer and didn’t understand what I was watching, so I can imagine the book would be even more complicated! Good on ya for pushing through

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      1. Hmmm it’s hard to remember because it was so long ago that I read them, I was in high school ( they were the only reading material at my cottage which was why I picked them up) but I really enjoyed “it”, and to this day I find the movie terrifying, there is no way I can watch the updated version of it coming out

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  3. I’m not a fan of Stephen King unfortunately – his style just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m glad you’re enjoying these though! Haha! I’m also reading two books I forgot to put on my 20 books list – this is why I always fail at challenges… 😀

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    1. Before now I would never have thought of myself as a fan of his – just goes to show that I can still surprise myself!

      Ha ha! Well I’ve got very good company then at least! 😉 Although even when we’re failing, we’re still reading what we want to read, so it’s a win overall!

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  4. I did not know they were planning a movie. Do you know if there are going to be several movies, or if they are going to cram the whole book series into one movie? I think it’s okay to switch your books on the list of 20. Last summer I forgot my book club books, too. You know, it’s a good time to get into Stephen King if you aren’t into gore because he’s been dipping his toesies into several different genres lately: fantasy, western, crime, etc. As you probably remember from On Writing, he was into a lot of genre stories, though it only seems like recently that he’s writing more outside of horror. I’ve read two of his books, both of which I loved as movies first: Pet Sematary and Misery.

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  5. Well, this series sounds weird and intriguing! I have only ever read King’s The Stand and On Writing–and his Twitter feed, which is quite entertaining. Have you seen Matthew McConoughey in True Detective? Good stuff.

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  6. Okay – I am definitely going to need to read this series! I read The Gunslinger a few years ago but will need to reread it! And I love Matthew M – he and I graduated from the same college and I also have quite a thing for him!

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  7. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one so much. That makes me curious about the series. I have only read one book by King, 11/22/63 which I really liked. This one sounds tempting. I hope that you will continue enjoying the series. Happy reading.

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  8. What fun: to have all of King’s stuff ahead of you! I “discovered” him in high school, summer reading, and have read at least a dozen, maybe more. Most recently, the Mr. Mercedes series, which is a little more suspense-y than horror-ish. I know people sometimes say that he’s uneven, but I’m not convinced; I think some of the stories just appeal more than others depending on your reading taste. Given how much he’s written, that’s little wonder!

    This series is one I haven’t read, and I’m pleased to know that it’s hard to describe: something interesting awaits! My fave MM role is also “True Detective”, which I thought was outstanding; I just have two episodes left in the second season (without MM) and it is just as stunning as the first, although I wasn’t sure until halfway into it.

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  9. I’ve read the first one and part of the second but just couldn’t get into them which disappointed my husband greatly because he LOVES these books. He has them all on audio and listens to the entire series start to finish at least once every year or two.


  10. Thank you for writing this review, Laila. I read The Gunslinger late in 2016 and it was the WORST book I read all year. I only finished it because it was for a buddy read, so I felt compelled in order to keep the discussion going. I was just so confused, bored, and frustrated that it didn’t even occur to me to try continuing the series. The film adaption also caught my eye, but I’m a bit shocked they are only releasing a single film for the entire series of books…

    I will definitely keep an eye out for your upcoming reviews of the other books in the series (even if there is only one more. 😉 ). I trust your opinion in books, and I want to see how you take to the series as it continues. You definitely have me considering picking up book two now!

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    1. Oh good – I’ll be sure to write about the next one, even if I don’t care for it. I had read your Goodreads review of the first so I knew your feelings. If I hadn’t heard that it was the weakest one of the series, I might not have continued either. It was weird, but I enjoyed it enough to give it three stars, which was enough for me to give the second a go. I’ll let you know!

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      1. Apparently, King wrote The Gunslinger when he was a teenager. I imagine there was some editing, but it wasn’t published until he was a household name, so it also could have suffered from a weak editorial hand. That’s entirely possible. Either way, it’s a brilliant concept.

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  11. I’m so glad to see your description of the first book & realize I’m not alone. I also enjoyed The Drawing of the Three MUCH more than the first book…and I’ve read the TV series is actually based on a later book (4 maybe?). The crazy thing is that these books tie a LOT of King’s other work together. It’s a little intimidating…but people have figured out different reading orders that involve also reading books like The Stand that actually somehow connect to characters that appear in this series. It’s a whole thing–and I never picked up the next book because I got afraid I should read the extended universe as well and it stressed me out :). Someday I’ll get to the rest of the series because I also want to read it before I watch the show. Great review!

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