A Rose, A Key (The Waste Lands – A Book Review)

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3)
Author: Stephen King
Published: 1991

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The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

Rated P for paradoxical twists that’ll leave you mind-bent.


Then he realized that it was not blood he was looking at, but roses…

Some time has passed and Roland, Eddie, and Susannah are well on their way toward the dark tower. There is conflict within Roland. He is struggling with two alternate realities since he saved Jake from getting shoved into traffic and run over by a car. Now, he can’t tell what’s real. Is Jake dead from him leaving him to die and go after the man in black or is Jake truly alive because he’d never been hit? Roland must fix himself before he completely comes unhinged. They cannot continue onward to the dark tower until he does.


The Dark Tower series is one of the series on my New Year’s resolution and this is book 3 of 7 (technically 8, but I’m not including The Wind Through the Keyhole, though I will be reading it.)


This book really picked up the series’s pace. There was much more action than in the books before it. Roland struggled to fix what he’d done to Jake in The Gunslinger and it put a great strain on the journey to the dark tower for him and his companions. Eddie and Susannah were very helpful in guiding him, though all three of them weren’t sure about where they were going. They followed ka-tet and their guts blindly. It’s really crazy but always keeps me guessing. Nothing about this series is predictable.

My hopes didn’t let me down! Jake returned. Granted it was touch-and-go for a good moment, but Jake is back and I’m so glad. While it’s hard to pick a favorite character, the crew feels complete with him a part of it. I got really giddy when Jake created a bond with Oy, a billy-bumbler. They’re very strange-looking creatures and very much in the so-ugly-they’re-cute category but incredibly brilliant. This one is no exception.

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Charlie Choo Choo made his debut in this book. In fact, he was one of the major points aside from Jake. It was the main destination of this book actually and without Jake, they wouldn’t have made it. Learning of Charlie led them to Blaine the Monorail. He helped Roland and crew get to Blaine the Mono. Both Charlie and Blaine are super creepy. The kid’s book unnerved me and when Charlie made his appearance I swear I shuddered.

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Dark Tower Wiki

The world the crew was in this time is still crazy-wild. So desolate and dangerous. While they moved across the waste lands, there were strange doors, creatures, and crazy, psycho people. The detail is so deep and intricate. King didn’t spare a single sense useless. Sometimes the density made me slow down some, but I didn’t give up on it.

Also really admired the images created to help add to the story, such as Roland’s explanation of the dark tower and how it’s the pinnacle of all universes. It really does help and give better visuals for certain bits. Not only did it give me something better to go on, but I saw it how the characters did.

Scarlet Reader - Dark Tower
The Waste Lands



This book left off on such a cliffhanger! I can’t wait to get to the next one. I’m really glad I didn’t give up on this series. Incredibly inventive and creative and dark. I’m so living for it! While it’s uber twisty and sometimes a struggle to get my brain to keep up with all of the overlapping time paradoxes, I just can’t get enough.



“We are ka-tet, which means a group of people bound together by fate. The philosophers of my land sad a ka-tet could only be broken by death or treachery…” (Roland, p. 422)

“You’re a long way from Forty-second Street, sweetheart—hope is a great thing, no matter what anyone says, but don’t hope so hard you lose sight of that one thought: you’re a long way from Forty-second Street…” (Eddie, p.460)

“Old ways are sometimes the best ways.” (Roland, p. 471)


More to come soon…

  – K.


P.S. Song today? Behind Blue Eyes by The Who.


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Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below.

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