THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King [Review]

The Gunslinger Book

The Gunslinger is the first book in a 7 part series known as “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. He began the first book in 1970 and didn’t finish it until 12 years later in 1982. That’s just the first book. He didn’t finish book 7 of the series until 2004. So, if you haven’t read them yet, it’s a great time to start as you won’t have to wait over 20 years to find out what happens (unless you are a really slow reader). Another interesting point I’ll make about this book is that this series is the most near and dear to King’s heart. He got the idea for The Gunslinger in college when he read the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning. If you are a big Stephen King fan you’ll notice that he places characters from his other novels into the series. For example, “Flag” from the Stand makes a few appearances. Also, for those of you that saw the movie “The Mist,” the main character is painting a picture of Roland from The Gunslinger in the beginning.

So let’s talk about the book now. It starts off with our hero; Roland Deschain of Gilead, following “the man in black” through the desert. We don’t know who “the man in black” is (it could be Johnny Cash), what he did, or where he’s headed. Just that Roland has dedicated his entire existence to tracking him down. Along the way Roland has some adventures, the most notable is a boy he meets named Jake Chambers. We are also introduced to a little bit of Roland’s past, which is super interesting. I don’t want to give away too much more on plot but the rest of the book basically sets the stage for the 2nd book.

The Gunslinger is a great book but there are a few things you should keep in mind if you are going to start the series. The first is that this book was started in 1970 and finished in 1982. King’s writing matured a lot over those years. He’s even tweaked The Gunslinger since 82 and a newer version has updates to almost every page of the book. I would recommend that you read one of the updated copies so you can be sure you are not missing any good pieces of plot or back story. The second thing is, although this is an enjoyable read, I didn’t get hooked until book 2 or 3 of the series. My point is, if you check it out and think that it’s just okay, give another book or two a chance. By book 4 you’ll be staying up all night trying to finish.

Buy The Gunslinger by Stephen King on Amazon by clicking here.

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  • http://speakingjose.wordpress.com Jose

    I love this series. I started reading it about 3 months ago and am up to the 4th book! The best part about The Gunslinger is that you are immediately immersed into the middle of a story which you dont have all the details about. You know there is some kind of a backstory, but King basically tells the reader that they dont need to know that information and he doesnt have to spell out all the details to the reader. I agree that this book is a setup to the second one, but its a great story with wonderful characters.