Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Book Details
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Paperback, 264 pages
2003, Plume
ISBN: 0452284694
Series: Book 1 in The Dark Tower series

Filled with ominous landscapes and macabre menace, Stephen King's latest mass market novel features The Gunslinger, a haunting figure in combat with The Man in Black in an epic battle of good versus evil. A spellbinding tale that is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike.

The Gunslinger, the first book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, is a strange tale, a sort of post-apocalyptic western with magic. The elements are rarely seen together and I can't say that they mesh all that well.

The book bounces back and forth through Roland's life. The flashbacks to his childhood were infinitely more interesting than his present chase of The Man in Black. Seeing bits and pieces of what makes Roland chase this man beyond all hope of survival is the only thing that makes the story bearable.

Sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow and always too confusing, The Gunslinger is not an enjoyable read. As much as it pains me, I have to admit not liking this book. The afterward by Stephen King describing his writing the book and his plans (or lack thereof) for the series make the reading worth it. I've heard  many promises of good things to come in The Dark Tower and can only hope that struggling through this book will be worth it.


Stephen King's website


  1. It is definitely worth it. I am reading through the series now, and really like the second and third books. I didn't really care for The Gunslinger either.

  2. I picked this up and (are you sitting down?) it will be my first Stephen King book. Do you think I should be introduced to his writing with something else? Nothing too scary though!

  3. Keep going-I spent a wonderful month or so reading all of the books in a row, and 3000+ pages later I was so glad I had done it. Don't get me wrong-the series stays dark and gritty, but the characters are wonderful, as usual in a Stephen King book, and I was so sad to say goodbye to them.

  4. Your review makes me nervous, but the other comments are giving me hope! This book is on my TBR list.....

  5. @ Tara....I am an avid SK fan but would not suggest this as a first read. Insomnia,Cujo or even Pet Semetary would be great first ones.

    Stick with the series it gets much better and the ending is worth going through the first book, trust me it all makes sense in the end. This happens to be the best thing (whole series wise) that I have read by Stephen.

  6. as a total stephen king addict i want to say to you please read on! the series just gets better and better and by the end it's clear that everything he's ever been writing about is contained in the series. its brilliant.

  7. While I think that this series is his magnum opus, I think his best stand alone book is The Stand, and everyone should read it at least once.