Friday, August 09, 2013

The Waste Lands, by Stephen King: a Review

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)The Waste Lands by Stephen King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Deus ex Machina, only more like Demon ex Machina in this case, is a plot device of which I'm quite weary. The items which make it difficult for me to say "I liked it," are the gratuitous rape scene, the puppet-like quality to all characters encountered by our ka-tet, and the utter lack of originality in terms of the nomenclature of rudeness. I still think Mid-World is some extremely distant future version of our own world, but that doesn't mean that cultures can't be far enough removed from the here and now, on occasion, that maybe a vulgar cretin addressing a woman rudely might not immediately fall back on slurs regarding her reproductive organs or the use thereof. When the same characters are talking to men in a similar tone, they're not referred to as, now I must stop myself, is there a word quite as vulgar and offensive as the "C Word" for describing the male anatomy. I suppose there isn't, and if the men in this book were addressed by it, I'd obviously have learned it. Similarly, the men aren't insulted by labels of sexual appetite, and I felt that even if the characters in this otherwhenly world are sexist jerks, King could have at least been more creative with it.
This book also stirred up some cognitive dissonance with the issue of equating mental illness with danger. That's an overdone theme, and an inaccurate one. Most mentally ill individuals are not dangerous. Yes, specific mental illnesses carry greater propensity toward actions which endanger others, King's series seems to be going quite overboard with this theme.
I want to know if Roland makes it to the Dark Tower. I really do. There were parts of this book that I found deeply compelling, but King is making it hard for me to like the journey.
One final criticism- Eddie's character, after they begin meeting other MidWorld inhabitants, seems hasty and sloppy. He seems to be falling apart, slipping from full bodied character down into illogically driven occasional plot device.

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