The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King

Date of Publication: 1982

Number of Pages: 304

Synopsis (from back cover): This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features once of Stephen King’s most powerful creations – The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages from ancient myth to frontier western legend. His pursuit of The Man in Black, his liaison with sexually ravenous Alice, his friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake, are part of the drama that is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, an alchemy of storytelling sorcery.

Review: After months of hearing about The Dark Tower series, and since I’m already a big Stephen King fan, I decided to finally read the first book in the series, just to see what it was all about. It took me until the last page to decide what I thought of it. All I can say really is that I liked it, and I’m planning to read the next one, but of all the Stephen King books I’ve read, this was the most difficult and unusual. The problems I had with this book were not stylistic; the book is very well written, and the characters, though mysteriously aloof from the reader, are well developed. The title character, known throughout most of the book simply as the gunslinger, is not easily identifiable as a hero and is deeply complex. There are mysteries surrounding his past, as well as the lives of most of the characters and the reality in which they live. I think it was these very mysteries that I didn’t really love. They distressed me unexpectedly. However, being the first book in a series, it’s understandable that there will be unanswered questions. Anyone who ventures to read this book should be prepared to read the rest of the series! I certainly will.

Rating: 8/10

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