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The Gunslinger, Stephen King

I hated this book when I first read it.  Really did not like it.  This was about six years ago, when I acquired this book along with the next two in the series.  Then Stephen King went and finished the Dark Tower series and everyone was talking about it.  I resisted.  Well, I decided that resisting is over, and I went in for a reread.  This was not my first attempt at a reread.  See, I am convinced that if everything thinks something of King’s is brilliant, I must too, and obviously I was just missing something the first time.  The second time was a flop and I found my bookmark halfway through.  This time, I read it again, and I didn’t hate it nearly as much, to my delight.

In brief, the book follows Roland, the gunslinger, across the desert in search of the man in black.  In typical Stephen King fashion, there is gore, blood, eerie zombie creatures, and other trademarks of the horror genre.  On the other hand, there are flashbacks to a medieval-type atmosphere, Roland’s origins.  It goes without saying that these were my favorite part of the book.

On the whole, not really much happens.  There is a lot of walking and following.  There are some exciting moments, but mostly this one is dull.  I’ve heard that the next ones pick up the pace.  I’m looking forward to discovering that they actually do.  After I climb down from my mountain of ARCs, that is.  The style is fairly typical King, gritty and tense.  The characterizations aren’t there yet.  Roland is still a shadowy sketch.  I hope he’s fleshed out soon.  So I wouldn’t quite recommend this book yet, although you can check it out on Amazon.  I’d probably steer you in the direction of It or The Stand if you were looking for King.

So, have you read the Dark Tower series?  Is it worth persevering?

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3 comments to The Gunslinger, Stephen King

  • Whew! I thought it was just me, because I tried this a few years ago and thought it was awful too and I loved The Stand. Now at least I know I’m not the only one. I’ve skimmed through some of the others of the series and personally thought it was a pass.

  • >So, have you read the Dark Tower series? Is it worth persevering?

    Sort of and No. I enjoyed The Gunslinger and the follow-up book (I can’t remember the name – not a good sign). Couldn’t make it through the third book (Wizards and Glass). I think what really killed the series for me was an interview with King where he said he didn’t really know where the series was going and he wasn’t sure he would finish it before he died. There’s no way I’m going to suffer through some marginal book if there isn’t some guarantee I’ll learn how the story comes out!

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