Okay, before I dive into the dynamics of my measly three star review, let me just say that I LOVE Stephen King! (But who doesn’t, right?) He was one of the first thriller authors that I fell in love with the books. King has such a way with words, and it’s hard to even express the level of respect that I have for him as an artist, and of course as a philosopher. I have a list of goals for 2020. One of them were to read more King books, and one was to join more bookish groups. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful to Misty with Misty’s Book Space and Janel with Keeper of Pages for introducing me to and welcoming me into Janel’s King read along group. I feel like I’ve made one hell of a start in 2020 by killing two birds, and now to see it through! I’m thrilled!
MY REVIEW, 3 stars:
Now for Gunslinger, and my thoughts: I hate to start out a review saying that I was disappointed, but I’m going to. Yet, in the book’s defence, I can’t wait to read on further into the series. This is weird because I can’t for the life of me recall even one time that I kept reading more into a storyline that I didn’t particularly care for the beginning of. Here’s to busting down walls in 2020 though, because firsts are a beautiful thing!
Diving in I was intrigued to start such a strange roll up of genres. This really sounded one of a kind, which it is, and it’s by none other than King, who’s name really couldn’t be any more fitting for an artist! The Gunslinger is kind of like post-apocalyptic world that has regressed into some sort of western – gun slinging – fantasy place with demons, more than humanly humans, death itself as a being of sorts (which is also a little blury), and people who seem to have lost pieces of their memories, identities, and sense of time.
I was lost, pretty much the entire book. Which, in a strangely ironic way, is actually fitting. The main character Roland, AKA the Gunslinger is also basically lost. Much description was left out, leaving the reader to re-read and question an impressive amount of the book. The Gunslinger is after The Man in Black. Following him through an ungodly dry and seemingly inescapable desert, along with an impressive mountain.
He meets some strange people like the random dwellers and the doomed townsfolk of Tull (just wow on the Tull scene, that is one bloodbath that will likely stick with me forever). He meets some loveable people like the random dwellers and Jake. Jake is a kid that he picks up as a traveling buddy for reasons beyond his and quite frankly the reader’s understanding, but he’s an amazing kid. It’s really easy to fall for Jake, he’s such a loveable little fellow! Roland also comes across some extremely memorable settings along the way. It’s hit and miss who he comes across and the explanation of why these people, or beings, or illusions, or whatever they are is intriguing in some ways, heart wrenching in some ways, and impossibly confusing in others.
Basically the entire book is a foreshadow of what is to come in the series. You can’t read The Tower story as a whole (8 books, I believe, but don’t quote me on that!) without knowing the start of Roland’s tale along with the prerogative and mystery of The Man in Black. I don’t want to get into too much more detail, as I don’t want to give away any spoilers. At this point it’s honestly hard to tell what actually is and isn’t a spoiler… I suppose the books to come will let me know soon enough.
All in all, The Gunslinger is like an itch that you can’t stop scratching, and that you hope will eventually subside and heal itself sometime in the near future, because if not then you’re just going to keep scratching and scratching until your damn arm falls off or something. It’s a book that you have to read, and in many places re-read – kind of like looking at a train wreck that you can’t peel your eyes from – and then when you finally devour it’s last pages you kind of want to throw it at a wall because you feel like you’ve gotten nowhere… and you have to know what happens next with Roland the odd cowboy(ish) deadly man who seems to be the only person on the oddest planet ever to actually own a gun. Cheer to knowing what happens next! Bring it on, book 2 of the Tower series, if what I hear is true and you get better with each book then I’m confident that you’re worth the time!
Now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba
“An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King’s greatest literary achievement” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.
A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center” (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is “brilliant and fresh…and will leave you panting for more” (Booklist).