The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
Digital Audiobook narrated by Frank Muller
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 24th 1989
Series: The Dark Tower #2
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction
Length: 399 pages or 12 hours, 47 minutes
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • IndieBound
In the second novel of Stephen King's bestselling fantasy masterpiece, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doors which open - for Roland, and Roland alone - to different times in our world. He must draw the three who should accompany him on the road. In 1980s New York, Roland joins forces with defiant Eddie Dean. The second door leads to the 1960s and conflicted civil rights activist Odetta Holmes. The final door reveals Jack Mort, a deadly serial killer, in the 1970s. Mort is stalking Jake, the young boy Roland met in Mid-World.As titanic forces gather, a savage struggle between underworld evil and otherworldly enemies threatens to bring an end to Roland's journey toward the Dark Tower.
The next step of Roland’s quest has begun.
After his conversation with the Man in Black, Roland faces the long road to the Dark Tower. He’s starved, dehydrated… Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger of Gilead, is dying. The first door looms near and behind it, what possibilities may arise?
Behind the first, the Prisoner. Behind the second, The Lady of Shadows. Behind the third, Death (but not for you, gunslinger).
Meet the rest of the cast.
The Drawing of the Three is typical Stephen King style where you get a lot of exposition and character introductions before the story really gets going. Fortunate ly for King, he’s a master at this sort of approach and you are immediately invested in the new characters. We first meet Eddie Dean – a junkie from 1980s New York and one of two of my favorite characters in the series. Behind the second door is Odetta/Detta and behind the third? Certainly not what Roland expects.
The characters in this story continue to be raw and flawed and horrible in so many ways that they are likable. It is another strength of King’s to create characters you probably wouldn’t want to meet in real life, but you do want to read about. While this book is a bit thick to have very little forward movement, the background of these two characters provides so much context to the choices they make later in the series and I believe it is worthwhile.
Adults only, please.
If I haven’t mentioned it before about this series, now seems like a good time to say this book probably isn’t appropriate below a high school level. None of the series is, and some parents may flinch at letting their high schoolers read it. In The Drawing of the Three alone we’ve got two men plowing down a building until every is dead inside, and one of them is naked. We read about Detta’s public masturbation and her insulting male gentalia. These are things I’ve really come to expect from King – he apologizes for nothing and hides nothing in his writing – but it’s a shock if you’re not expecting it.
That said, I believe The Drawing of the Three has the greatest variety of “inappropriate moments” and after this book, with the exception of a couple not-steamy sex conversations, the series clears up nicely to only include the gore to be expected when the main character is a gunslinger.
Eddie Dean really makes this series for me.
As much as I enjoy Roland, it’s really Eddie Dean that brings this all together for me – makes it light enough so I’m not bored and keeps it going. Eddie is the kind of character with a constant internal monologue. He’s likable, for all his faults. The Drawing of the Three is an interesting character study – but I like Eddie’s story the best.
The pacing slips off a bit once we meet Odetta/Detta, whose story is told back-and-forth in several time jumps between personalities and different parts in her life. You really have to pay attention to keep up with it. Overall I’d say this isn’t the strongest book in the series (one of the slowest, actually), but it’s a necessary stepping stone to the story ahead. Bear with it, and you will be rewarded.