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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The second volume in Stephen King’s #1 bestselling Dark Tower Series, The Drawing of the Three is an “epic in the making” (Kirkus Reviews) about a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies. “Stephen King is a master at creating living, breathing, believable characters,” hails The Baltimore Sun. Beginning just less than seven hours after The Gunslinger ends, in the second installment to the thrilling Dark Tower Series, Roland encounters three mysterious doorways on a deserted beach along the Western Sea. Each one enters into a different person’s life in New York—here, he joins forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, to save the Dark Tower. “This quest is one of King’s best…it communicates on a genuine, human level…but is rich in symbolism and allegory” (Columbus Sunday Dispatch). It is a science fiction odyssey that is unlike any tale that Stephen King has ever written.…

The Drawing of the Three

by Stephen King

Overall Book Review:

The Drawing of the Three, the second novel in The Dark Tower trilogy, is a worthy sequel to The Gunslinger. The book follows the continuing travels of Roland, the last gunslinger. This book introduces several new characters that add more life and color to the story. What began as a solo quest becomes more of a joint effort, and the relationships between the character make this book more interesting and entertaining than its predecessor.

The conflicts in this book are more personal and not as concrete as the first book. The story doesn’t have just one big bad caricature of a villain to plague the protagonists. Instead, each protagonist has their own inner demon to conquer, in addition to the exterior evil and violent forces that they encounter. This book is eloquently written and has more emotional bite to it than the first installment. I highly recommend it for fans of Stephen King or of dark fantasy as a genre.

(Note: This is the second book in The Dark Tower series. It follows immediately after, and will not make sense without first having read, The Gunslinger.)

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  73 religious profanities; 57 mild obscenities; 24 religious profanities; 96 derogatory names; 75 scatological words; 64 anatomical terms; 123 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Several verbal threats; characters threaten each other with weapons a few times; report of a fight for sport; a character considers ways another character might kill him; a few characters consider or plan to kill others; report of a plane crash; a few reports of murders (a few of which are children); speculation that birds will eat a corpse’s eyes; report of a suicide; report of injury in an accident; a few mentions of wars, both real and fictitious; report of a character badly wounded in war; report of drunk driving accident with fatalities; a few reports of people being killed by things such as assassination, shooting, medical conditions or accidents; report of an attack that left a character invalid; report of a character turned into an animal by magic; a character is nearly choked to death in an accident; a character is slightly injured in vehicle accident; a few instances of a woman accusing men of raping her or planning to do so; a fight with hand-held weapons and biting, in which some blood is described; a character attacks others, with no injury; minor property damage; a character cuts himself accidentally; a character suffers a bad infection from a wound; a character pistol-whips another; an adult intentionally drops a heavy object on a child, causing bad injury; a character chokes another with a noose and hogties him; a fight with characters knocked out; a few fights with guns and melee weapons with broken bones, burns, and serious wounds; a man’s genitals are mashed painfully; characters strangle each other a few times; monsters attack characters and are shot to death; a car chase with minor property damage; a character dies of a drug overdose; a gunfight with death and serious injuries; a character loses limbs in an accident; a graphic description of gore and body parts after an accident; a fight with a monster in which the monster is killed and a character suffers bloody wounds and the amputation of body parts; a fight in which a character is mauled by an explosion and by wild animals; a monster claws a character to the bone; a character uses a human bone to perform magic; a character commits suicide in a gruesome, dismembering way.

Sex/Nudity:  A man looks at a woman appraisingly; man thinks about how beautiful a woman’s smile is; characters hold hands; characters kiss a few times; a man is naked in the bathroom (not sexual); a character is subjected to an anal cavity search by law enforcement, and the description is somewhat graphic; report that a character had an injection near his privates; a character spends a couple of scenes naked because his clothes were taken from him (not sexual); report of people being naked/exposed to the elements as part of torture; a character suggests that two men sexually pleasure each other (as an insult) a few times; report of a sexually suggestive scene in a previous novel (no details); description that a male character’s private parts are shrunken due to being cold; the words “slut” and “whore” are used as part of a character’s title; a few references to masturbation; joke about “bare-breasted women” in a movie and book; a few mentions of animals mating; a suggestion that a man is looking for prostitutes; mention of oral sex (using a crude term); reference to homosexual sex in prison; mention of sexual intercourse; report that a character has a mistress; report that a man has slept with many women over the years; a few reports of a man and woman having sex; a few mentions of rape; a woman threatens to cut off a man’s private parts on a few different occasions; a young girl masturbates a few times, and it is briefly described from her point of view; a few instances where a character is sexually gratified by committing violence (even though the violence is not sexual in nature); a man’s genitals are mashed painfully.

Mature Subject Matter:

Rape (repeatedly mentioned); theft; mental illness; death (parent, sibling); drug addiction is a major theme of this book; drug smuggling; suicide (mentioned, considered, and carried out); hijacking (mention); assassination (reported); slavery (mention); homosexuality (mention); sadomasochism (mentioned).

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters drink beer and liquor; tobacco is used medicinally; characters smoke cigarettes; heroin and cocaine are mentioned; drug addiction is a major theme of this book; a fictitious hallucinogen is mentioned; a prescription drug, used correctly, plays  a prominent part in the story; report of children smoking cigarettes; drunk driving (reported). 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.