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Title The Gunslinger
Author Stephen King
Illustrated by Michael Whelan
Publisher Signet - 2003
First Printing 1982
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Title The Little Sisters of Eluria
Author Stephen King
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Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title The Drawing of the Three
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title The Waste Lands
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title Wizard and Glass
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title Wolves of the Calla
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title Song of Susannah
Author Stephen King
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Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title The Dark Tower
Author Stephen King
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Publisher ---
First Printing ---
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Title The Wind Through the Keyhole
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Category Fantasy
Warnings None
Main Characters The Gunslinger (Roland of Gilead), the Man in Black
Main Elements Wizards
Website stephenking.com




Click to read the summaryThe Gunslinger




I actually read this a year ago and waited to write up the review until I had read more of the series, which ended up not happening (wanted to do it before the movie came out, but the movie got such mixed reviews I decided I wasn't in a rush after all). I did read three other related novels (The Stand, Salems' Lot, The Eye of the Dragon) since nearly all of King's books have some aspect of The Dark Tower in them, but I focused on the three key ones as I didn't want to read the really horror stuff like It which only has a passing reference.

Now to be honest, not sure what the big deal about The Gunslinger was (though I was equally befuddled by the acclaim The Stand gets so maybe King's writing just doesn't resonate with me). In the first Dark Tower installment there is this guy, the gunslinger, who is wandering through the desert. He's following a man in black who manages to stay a few days ahead of him all the way. And that's pretty much it. Sure, the gunslinger runs into a guy who has a raven that quotes "Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot" which made me all happy because my Dad quotes that one too, so that was pretty awesome. Then there's a village that goes all zombie (and I'm no zombie fan). Then there's the kid that...well it's a spoiler but also a bit of a letdown. Finally, in the very end of the book, as the gunslinger finally catches up with the man in black, there is a glimpse that maybe there is something more interesting in store if I keep reading. It was basically the world's longest introduction.

But as an introduction I found it lacking. I got to learn a little bit about Roland and why he's hunting the man in black, but I have absolutely not idea about the world building. Is it our world in the future? An alternate Earth? Not Earth at all? I read the revised and expanded version of the book, but apparently King took out many of the hints as to what world this actually is, in the original version apparently it's more clear that this is some version of Earth after all (which I guess it must be since we run into some Earth junk towards the end). Anyway, I was not impressed that in an entire 300 page book I couldn't figure out where I was. Like I said, a giant introduction but without you know, introducing the setting.

It says something when my two favorite moments is the quote from a raven, and a brief glimpse of a bird-headed man in the distance (hope we run into him again!).

This was clearly not a series to spend money on buying new but I scrounged around and found most of them used so I will eventually get around to reading the rest of this, but it's not like I'll forget what I read in this one while I wait since, well, nothing happened really. Just need to revist the last 50 pages or so when I decide to jump back in.

On the other hand, The Eye of the Dragon is an amazing introduction to the man in black and I can see how it would tie into another series given how it ends. The Stand as well, if you skip the first 600-700 pages or so (which you could probably do and have little trouble figuring out what's going on). And Salems's Lot leaves us with an unresolved thread involving the priest who should show up eventually in the Dark Tower too.




Posted: December 2017

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