Which is not to say that this book isn't good. Oh no no no no no. The Wastelands is AWESOME. And I'll be honest- I've seen a few reviews of it before where people were like 'oh, it's my favourite book in The Dark Tower series' and I was kind of like 'really?' because apparently I didn't fully appreciate its spectacularity the last time I read it! Which isn't to say that it's instantly become my favourite of them all, BUT I definitely have a lot more love for it than I did before.
SO. The Wastelands starts where The Drawing of the Three left off, more or less, as Roland's teaching Eddie and Susannah how to be gunslingers, and musing on how they remind him so much of his old dead friends (it actually feels a little hinty, and book 4 is allll about Roland and his old friends. But having said that, I think King wrote it 6 years or so after this, and so maybe didn't even realise what he was hinting at in this. But I think he kind of did...) and they find their way to the path of the beam, and hence to the proper start of their journey. Only took two and a bit books, but still- world building my friends, world building.
And so, they begin their quest, only Roland, their leader and their almost-kidnapper-only-they-like-being-kidnapped, is going crazy because of this thing he did at the end of the last book that I can't really talk about but that affected his memories of things that happened in the first book that I also could talk about but don't really want to and, well, it all leads, through linked dreams and awesome wanderings in New York, to something else that I can't really talk about because it's sort of unimaginable but really awesome at the same time, and it leads to things that not only cures Roland, but cures Eddie of his mean elder brother's influence, and ALSO marks the start of this storyline that's one of the weakest in all the books and ends up being not so important in the end. So that's not so good.
But seriously, it's amazing, and THEN the second half of the book happens, and it's all action, all the time. The band of travellers end up in this city that's kind of broken (fun fact: the city is called Lud, and its inhabitants are luddites, and they have no idea how the technology [that's broken] works. I feel like this is clever.) and, whilst this is the longest section page numbers-wise, it also feels the shortest AND the most exciting. Seriously- there's so much movement and action and everyone's split up and there's so much happening, and I swear that at one point I didn't take a breath for about 3 chapters because, like 'ohmygoshwhatsgoingtohappenIcan'tbearit!!!' aaaand breathe. So, yeah, that was fun, and also tense, and even though I knew it would all be ok because I've read them before (and because there are like
Similarly, the ending has left me all tense too, because I really can't remember how the situation that King cruelly leaves them in resolves itself, and so, again, I'm slightly on edge. Where, I should add, I'll be for 9 more books (and that's just Stephen King books!) because the silly man just abandoned these guys for that many books before he went back to them. Which, I can't really say I mind now, because characters and basically everything in them are remarkably consistent, but I can't even imagine how annoying it must have been to have to wait for the next one and the next one to come out in the 90s/00s. Because these books are the big awesome, and you should really read them so you know what I'm talking about next time! (Unless you already have, in which case, let's discuss! Roland: friend or foe?!)