Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

Publisher: Plume

Publication Date: June 24, 2003 (first published January 1, 1987)

Edition: Paperback, 408 pages

Genre: Horror, Western, Dark Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 Rating


The second volume in Stephen King’s acclaimed, epic Dark Tower series.

After his confrontation with the man in black at the end of The Gunslinger, Roland awakes to find three doors on the beach of Mid-World’s Western Sea—each leading to New York City but at three different moments in time. Through these doors, Roland must “draw” three figures crucial to his quest for the Dark Tower. In 1987, he finds Eddie Dean, The Prisoner, a heroin addict. In 1964, he meets Odetta Holmes, the Lady of Shadows, a young African-American heiress who lost her lower legs in a subway accident and gained a second personality that rages within her. And in 1977, he encounters Jack Mort, Death, a pusher responsible for cruelties beyond imagining. Has Roland found new companions to form the “Ka-tet” of his quest? Or has he unleashed something else entirely?

The stunning Plume edition features full-color illustrations by Phil Hale and is a collector’s item for years to come.

After finishing The Gunslinger, I was left with many many questions, and I really didn’t know what to think or expect from the rest of the series. I trusted King to bring things together and make sense, but I was still hesitant. That hesitance and bit of doubt proved moot; this book was awesome!

The Drawing of the Three picks up seconds after The Gunslinger ends, with Roland lying down on the beach. As Roland starts to come to, he notices these 4-foot lobster-like monsters – “lobstrosities” – that begin to come out of ocean. It becomes evident soon that these are not passive creatures when they attempt to eat him, and right away Roland finds himself fighting for his life. He survives but now with a few wounds – some very serious – and is now forced to almost crawl his way along the beach in search of his fates that were foretold by The Oracle and The Man In Black.

In the distance he see a door standing alone in the sand. As he approaches the door he see printed on its front “The Prisoner” – the name of his first card of three fates.

From the start of this book to about halfway though, it is hard for me to describe how phenomenal this story was. It was a mixture of all these genres put into one, each taking their turn to lead the story, that I couldn’t fathom to guess what might possibly happen next. At the beginning when the lobstrosities attack, it was like reading a pure horror story. Then as we discover the first door, find out its uses and power, it’s this great mixture of fantasy and science fiction (Each door is a gateway into another world!). Then once were in this door, the book was at times hilarious seeing the relationship between Roland and Eddie – The Prisoner – and then it goes to this intense thriller leading into an action-packed gunfight! All that being door number 1! And there are still 2 go! Actually I take my previous statement back, this whole book was phenomenal.

What the doors are, what the represent, how Roland uses them and what he can do with them – all that was incredible and I could never have guessed what is was that King had in mind. I would love to go into detail, or even just briefly touch on the doors more, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you! The experience I had of coming into those knowing nothing, I want you to have as well. All I will say is they represent the three fates, and take Roland into another world.

As great s the mystery of The Dark Tower is, and the use of these doors were, I think the greatest strength – and arguable what I love most about King’s writing – was his characters. Putting aside Roland for a second. The man behind door number one is Eddie. He is a heroin addict working for this New York drug lord, and when Roland first meets him, Eddie is in quite a pickle that only the gunslinger can get him out of. Behind door number 2 is The Lady of Shadows. Her names is Odetta Holmes… and Detta Walker… You see, she is a sociopath! With two contrasting good and bad personalities. Then behind door 3, the big grand prize, is a man by the name of Jack Mort – the Death card. I will say no further about him except WOW.

Roland is still the main character of this series, no doubt about that, but I loved how King took the time to step away from the gunslinger, and tell us the story of these other three people. That’s what King does so well; building up that reader-character relationship. And it isn’t just for the main character either. He does it for side characters too. The story would be fine with simple saying the cop came because he heard a shot, but King goes off and give a brief antecedent, a quick tangent, maybe only a certain italicized word, whatever it is makes character fell more than simply someone who there only to more the story on; it gives them, too, a personality and life.

There wasn’t anything I hated, but there were a couple things I did not like. The first was New York. Whatever world we in the last time, I want to be there; I want to explore more of there. Going through the doors to New York was cool and all, but I wanted to learn more of where the gunslinger is now. This brings me to my second: the tone and atmosphere of the book. I LOVED that dark, bleak, depressing feel the world had in The Gunslinger. I thought we going to get more of that with start, but the story went in a whole other direction when went through that door. That is not to take anything away from where the story went and shift in settings – I’ve clearly stated how much I enjoyed this book – I was just looking forward to more of what the last book had… only in a more comprehendible and easier reading prose-style, than before.

If The Gunslinger’s prose style left you frustrated and amount of questions left you a headache, this book has none of that. The writing style is not the same at all (thank, goodness), and while we do get more questions, and the only one answered is what the three cards meaning was, it wasn’t that confused feeling you may have had last time. There is still great mystery about everything, and I mean everything that is going on, it does feel like King has now generally decided a direction and end goal for the story.

I still can’t decided on Roland. I don’t trust him; I want to, but I just can’t tell if he’s good or bad. Or both?

4/5 Rating


Date Read: 6/17/15 - 6/22/15
Review Written: 6/22/15
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14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

  1. Tammy says:

    You’ve made me want to go back and reread this series! I had forgotten all the details like the doors. I think Book 5 is my favorite, though.


  2. Bookwraiths says:

    I’m glad you liked this book as much as you did. It was not my favorite, but I continued on with the series because — like you — I had to know more about Roland and his world. The next two books definitely rewarded my decision; they were the highlight of my journey to The Dark Tower.

    As for Roland, well, people are usually painted in shades of gray, right? They are trustworthy about some things and not trustworthy at all about others. Roland is the same; he is good, yet also bad. He’s never boring though. 🙂


  3. OK, I put Gunslinger aside, maybe I should go revisit it one of these days!


  4. Well, okay, maybe I’ll get back to this series one day. Between this review and my husband constantly telling me I’m crazy for not liking the Gunslinger, I’ll get worn down soon I’m sure 🙂


  5. Sharry says:

    I didn’t read your review too closely for fear of spoilers, but I’ve been trying to get into Stephen King (finally)…I started reading the Gunslinger and was very surprised by how poetic the prose was! I’m not entirely sure what’s happening so far, though, he kind of just drops you right in…we shall see how it goes!



      I found the prose and style in Gunslinger to be… interesting… LOL I wasn’t the biggest fan of them. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Gunslinger was a writing experiment for him? Either way, the writing gets back to normal here.

      It is totally natural to feel completely lost and feel that nothing makes sense. Everyone felt that way. Still a millions questions in the sequel, but story feels a lot more coherent and like there is an actual direction to the story.


  6. Reading the book felt like being run over by a truck that came out of nowhere. Weird that I didn’t liked it much after my first reading but King certainly poured out lots of energy in this book. It was an exhilarating experience.


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