This novel is the second book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It begins a few short hours after the end of The Gunslinger.
Roland wakes up on a beach, and is quickly attacked and wounded by some lobster like sea creatures. His wounds begin to fester, and it seems like he isn’t long for this world when he comes upon a door. We learn that Roland must assemble a new Ka-Tet. Over the course of the story he comes across three doors, the first two introducing us to the new members of his Ka-Tet, and the third forging them into a team.
Through the first door we are introduced to Eddie Dean, a junkie and drug runner who Roland aids and after the death of his brother joins him. This part of the book started a little slowly, but quickly gained momentum. Eddie is a character I shouldn’t have liked, but King did a great job of grounding him with real human emotion, as well as giving him some redeeming qualities.
Through the second door, we meet Odetta Holmes, a wealthy woman missing her legs below the knees that also happens to have a second personality, Detta Walker. The two could not be more different. Odetta is a kind and caring member of the civil rights movement, and Detta is a violent kleptomaniac. To top it off, neither personality is aware of the other.
Once both are on the beach with Roland he enters the third door, and meets the man responsible for Odetta’s condition. The story ends with Odetta/Detta merging into a third, stronger personality, Susannah Dean, and the three of them preparing for the future of their journey together. Roland finds that he cares for both, but will ultimately sacrifice them if it means success on his journey.
All told, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun read, significantly longer than the first in the series, and while it started slow, once it picked up it was hard to put down. King has always been a strong story-teller, and one can tell that his style evolved in the five years between book one and book two. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story, and the storytelling continues to grow as I continue the series.