The Waste Lands by Stephen King (The Dark Tower)

On his quest to the Dark Tower, Roland the gunslinger and his companions move through a ghastly post-nuclear landscape in search of a train that is certainly alive and not certainly safe.

Whenever I start reading The Waste Lands, my heart aches waiting for Roland and Jake to be reunited. In my opinion, Jake is one of King’s best characters. Of course, he’s twinned with Jack Sawyer from The Talisman, and I think that I can’t help but bring those associations with me to the read. (Speaking of, this retread through The Dark Tower is totally making me itch to re-read The Talisman and possibly even Black House, though the latter was dark in a way that I don’t think I could handle now that I’m a mom.)

I tend to glaze over during the Lud sequences, I think because I know that they don’t matter to the mythology in the same way that Shardik and Blaine do. I do love the element of chaos brought by the Tick-Tock Man. It’s here that King’s theology begins to come together, with the notion of ka (destiny) butting heads against the equally potent random. King is thoroughly uncomfortable with putting his protagonists in the hands of either pure fate or pure chance, and it’s the working out of this tension that gives the series its intellectual depth. Theologically I can’t agree with him, but his notions do make for great storytelling.

Blaine terrifies me. That is the truth.

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