Series: The Dark Tower #1
Published by Viking on 2003
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, General
Reading Challenges: 2016 Horror Reading Challenge
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy-what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus-has spanned a quarter of a century.
Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King's most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement. In November 2003, the fifth installment, Wolves of the Calla, will be published under the imprint of Donald M. Grant, with distribution and major promotion provided by Scribner. Song of Susannah, Book VI, and The Dark Tower, Book VII, will follow under the same arrangement in 2004. With these last three volumes finally on the horizon, readers-countless King readers who have yet to delve into The Dark Tower and a multitude of new and old fantasy fans-can now look forward to reading the series straight through to its stunning conclusion. Viking's elegant reissue of the first four books ensures that for the first time The Dark Tower will be widely available in hardcover editions for this eager readership.
“Go then, there are other worlds than these.”
As a child my favorite Stephen King novel was The Eyes of the Dragon. It’s not as popular as his other books, but I loved it because it was like a fairy tale. Later when I learned that the villain in that story appears throughout King’s books, I’d decided to devour everything King’s written. Then I got distracted by ALL THE BOOKS! Alas, I dropped the ball as I discovered other authors, and genres. Finally, a year ago I bought The Gunslinger with the notion of completing my King-a-thon, and left it to linger on my Kindle. Until now…
The Gunslinger took me a while to get into. I initially thought it was going to be a shoot ’em up western, with a hero chasing the villain across treacherous terrain. It was, but it was much more. Fantasy, science fiction, and fantasy mix with the horror to tell a tale that touches on many themes – love, time, morality, are just a few. I spent a bit of the book (maybe 1/3) of it confused about the plot, but once I got into it I was hooked. Maybe this is because I’ve built The Dark Tower series up so much that my expectations might have been blown out of proportion. However, I liked it enough to continue with the series, and know I need to soon so I don’t forget what happened in the first novel.
If you love westerns, loaded with philosophy, science, and a bit of horror, then The Gunslinger is definitely worth checking out. The horror isn’t too intense, so you don’t have to worry about sleeping at night. The action scenes are memorable, and help move the pace of the story along. The chapters are long, so I don’t recommend reading this if you don’t have the time. There’s not very many places to put it down, and the story is pretty dense. You definitely want to give you attention to this novel, or you’ll end up lost like me. Overall, I recommend this book.