Sep 16, 2007

The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower: I
by Stephen King

I didn't quite know what to make of this. The Gunslinger felt mostly like a western, but has elements of fantasy, mystery and horror all mixed into an epic quest. It opens with the protagonist, Roland the Gunslinger, following his enemy the man in black. The entire book is about his pursuit of this man, who will tell him information he needs in his greater quest to find the Dark Tower. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where everything is pretty much dead, and the Gunslinger is the last of his kind. He traverses a horrific desert and runs into many different characters who either help or hinder him on his way. Gradually some of his background is revealed, as he tells it to others. In the end, I still felt like there was a lot left unexplained.

It became apparent that this book is mostly setting up the scene for the six others that follow. Although I found the violence and lascivious women disturbing, I'm intrigued enough to continue reading the series. The prosaic descriptions makes interesting what felt like a rather one-dimensional story. King says that the Dark Tower series was inspired by Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Robert Browning's 1855 epic poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."

Rating: 3/5 ........ 224 pages, 1982

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