The Waste Lands

The only thing worse than forgetting your past is having two of them

The Waste Lands, book three of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, jumps ahead a little over a month following the events in The Drawing of the Three, allowing our ka-tet a chance to heal and recover from the events on the beach. It deals mainly with the paradox Roland created when he saved Jake from Jack Mort in the third doorway, and begins the travels of the group towards In-World.

Told on two different worlds, Waste Lands‘ paradox comes into play because the gunslinger and Jake both remember Jake being in the desert in the first book and not because Jake was transported to the desert when Jack pushed him into traffic. However, Roland prevented Jack from doing so when he entered his mind in the third doorway. So Jake was both in the desert after dying in New York and not in the desert but still in New York after surviving the non-encounter with Jack. Both characters are suffering from the paradox and are determined to fix the problem, despite neither of them being aware the other truly exists or is themself trying.


Eddie and Susannah’s characters continue to develop in Waste Lands, and their relationship becomes increasingly personal. Eddie, now clean after severe withdrawal, begins to redevelop skills he lost to his drugs, including carving, which helps Roland pull his final companion into Mid-World and fix his mental problems.

The group, continuing its travels, comes to the city of Lud, consumed by war and gangs, where Jake is kidnapped. The ka-tet splits up to save their friend and figure out how to continue to their quest, ending up on a crazy artificially intelligent monorail train named Blaine. The book ends on a challenge from Blaine and the group speeding on towards Topeka through the waste lands.

A little slower than Drawing,Waste Lands is still a strong entry in the series, with character and world growth abound. While not quite as gripping as its predecessor, the book will certainly hold a reader’s attention and offers some interesting concepts of mental stability and the end of a world. King shows his stripes by having a book that covers so much not feel bloated or frantic.

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