From The Cold Northern Wastelands He Came...
They say that internet surfers have short memories, and that if you don't update your blog frequently enough, people will forget it's there. Probably a myth, but I hope someone's still reading. Besides bilLy and my wife, that is.
Today, though, I did neither of those things, and instead spent the day reading proper books, you know, the ones without pictures (well, one of them did have pictures actually...).
I enjoyed The Gunslinger, but I wasn't motivated enough to read on. But both Alan and Rad claimed that the story got better with the second volume, The Drawing of the Three, and I have to agree. Actually, to be fair, King himself even says in the introduction to the first book that it used to be rubbish before he revised it for these new editions. Perhaps he didn't revise it enough? Not a lot happens in the second book, but it's much much better than the first, mainly because Roland is no longer the main focus, and interesting as he is, I just don't find him to be a compelling central figure. The only real problem is that the story is so relaxed and open that in terms of plot, nothing happens. All they did in this book was walk from one end of the beach (a long beach, yeah, but still...) to the other. Admittedly, this wouldn't be a problem if I was getting the cheap-as-chips mass market paperbacks, but I do so adore the lovely Plume trade paperback editions. My own fault, I suppose.
Also read The Amulet of Samarkand (I see that yet again the US cover pales in comparison to the stylish UK cover), on Rob's recommendation. It's another kids' book about magicians in an alternate Britain, but it's at once more enjoyably cynical and truthful than the Harry Potter monstrosities and more entertaining than Pullman's metaphysical jiggerypokery. It's one of those books that's so light on description and so heavy on dialogue that it could be written in script format and still make sense, which is not a style I generally like, but I enjoyed it mainly because of the humour in the writing (even though it's ripped off from Pratchett, footnotes and all), and the unpredictable plotting. The story didn't go the way I expected, nor did the ending, and I suspect that the trilogy as a whole will be similarly unpredictable. Recommended.
Oh, and I've got insomnia again, which is probably the only reason I'm writing (we need a new techno-savvy verb for this kind of composition-"typing" doesn't cut it) this instead of sitting in the bedroom/literal-drawing-room sketching away while listening to Kosheen or something. Not sure if that explains why I'm so laughably behind with the Spooky's Dungeon comic or not...