Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review | The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

The Gunslinger is the first book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

This heroic fantasy, set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace, features one of Stephen King's most powerful creations-The Gunslinger. The book opens with "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.".  (A favorite quote among Dark Tower fans.)  The Gunslinger follows Roland's journey across the desert searching for the man in black.

I have no other way to say it, but I didn't particularly like this book.  I felt lost, I felt confused.  I felt disappointed by acts I did not know would serve a purpose later in the series.

This book seems to be either the start or the end of most readers' Dark Tower journey.  I read this book about 10 years or so ago, and I didn't give it another try until just a few months ago.  I'll talk more about the second book in the series this week, but I will say I was glad to pick the series up again.

Michael Whelan - The Gunslinger: The Slow MutantsIf you would like to give this series a try, but you find you are just not getting in to or enjoying The Gunslinger - skip it.  That's sounds kind of crazy, but it's actually not crucial that you read it.  Book 2 begins with an "argument" containing the only information you need to draw from book 1.  My honest recommendation would be to read The Gunslinger's wikipedia page and start with book 2.  Someone suggested to me that The Gunslinger would be a good read at the end of the series rather than the beginning.  I find that to be a fair recommendation.

The artwork for this book was done by one of my favorite artists: Michael Whelan

2/5 Stars

Have you read any of King's Dark Tower books?  I'd love to hear from you!

Additional topics of interest:
Reading: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King
Fantasy Book Reviews


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  1. The Dark Tower is my favorite book series of all the ones I have tried to get into. I'm not into epic fantasy sagas, but the blend of that with western and horror elements really strikes a chord with me.

    I've noticed from other reviews, including yours here, that the first book doesn't resonate so well, and comes off as a bit of a mess. Personally, I had the opposite reaction and was sucked in immediately. And I'm very glad to have stuck it out through the series.

    I have yet to read the final book, The Dark Tower, because I don't want the journey to end. But, I've heard there is another book in the works, so I'll have to tear into it soon.

  2. I'm glad I'm giving the series another try. I'm up to Wizard and Glass now, and I will be sticking it out this time. I think I get a little bit more appreciation for The Gunslinger with each succeeding book I read.

    Another reader mentioned yesterday that King was working on another book. I had no idea. I'm glad I will be all caught up by then.

    I can relate to you not reading the final book. That sounds like something I would do to make it last.

  3. I haven't read any of the Dark Tower books but a number of people have told me I should. I actually bought the first book and to be honest it put me off a bit! So, given what you've said above maybe I'll pick up No.2 and start there. I have heard such good reviews for this although I have also heard that the end of the series is a bit of a let down? Don't know if that's your experience.


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