Review – The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

Stephen King has always been one of my favorite authors.  It scared me to death and The Green Mile made me weep uncontrollably.  I’ve gone several years without reading any of his books.  Excluding him from my Currently Reading list wasn’t by design.  I was just going through a different reading cycle.
Lately, it seems that I have been reading a good bit of, let’s face it, CRAP!  Some of the books were enjoyable, some were painful and others were utterly forgettable – which is the worst in my opinion.  I needed something to get me out of the rut I was in so I thought that Stephen wouldn’t let me down.  I had never read the Dark Tower series and knew that King considered it one of his great works.  So, I went in to this with very high expectations.  The problem with high expectations is that you are bound to be disappointed.  And, I can tell you that I was disappointed for the first 50 pages.  “How can I rate a King novel 2 stars?  Everyone will think I am an idiot.”  Honestly, he would have only gotten the 2nd star because he is such a beautiful writer.  It had nothing to do with the story.  I thought that I might have lost my reading mojo.  Time after time, I’d read several pages and realize that I remembered nothing of the story they contained.  I re-read about every page in that section at least twice and some of them four times.  But, I persevered.  There was no way I was going to have  a DNF on this one.
I am so glad I pulled through.  This turned out to be a 4-star book for me (and I bet if I re-read it in a year or so it could be a 5-star).  Maybe you just need to be in a Stephen King kind of mood.  Whatever the case, I am excited to read book 2 (next on my list) and I hope to finish the series of 7 books by the end of the year.
I won’t bother with a full recap of the plot.  I’m not even sure I truly understand it.  All you really need to know is that Roland Deschain, the gunslinger, is searching for the Dark Tower.  The first book chronicles his travels over desert and mountains to find the Man in Black (a sorcerer.)  He meets some very interesting (i.e. strange, disgusting, heartbreaking) characters along the way.
A few of my favorite quotes:
  • “At nineteen, it seems to me, one has a right to be arrogant; time has usually not begun its stealthy and rotten subtractions.”  This is actually not from the book but from the Introduction.
  • “The gunslinger occasionally moaned with the wind.  The stars were as indifferent to this as they were to wars, crucifixions, resurrections.  This also would have pleased him.”
  • ” ‘Beans, beans, the musical fruit,’ the raven recited, inspired.  ‘The more you eat, the more you toot.’ ” I’m sorry but you have to love such a talented author who can work this into a story.
  • “The gunslinger removed one of the shells from his gunbelt and twirled it in his fingers.  The movement was dexterous, as flowing as oil.  The shell cartwheeled effortlessly from thumb and index to index and second, to second and ring, to ring and pinky.  It popped out of sight and reappeared; seemed to float briefly, then reversed.  The shell walked across the gunslinger’s fingers.  The fingers themselves marched as his feet had marched on his last miles to this place.”  Like Jake, I was mesmerized.  Beautiful.  I’ve thought about this for days after reading.
  • “Time’s the thief of memory.”  True that.
  • “I was made for light.”

 

There were a couple of things that were a little strange.  The song “Hey Jude” was mentioned multiple times.  I’m hoping I’ll understand the connection at some point in the series.  There is a reference to matricide that I don’t yet understand.  And, my e-book had a few pictures in random places.  I could have done without them.  They didn’t add anything for me.

 

Bottom line – READ THIS BOOK.  Life is too short to not read Stephen King.  And, you won’t be nineteen forever – be arrogant while you can.  It’s just obnoxious at 40.

3 thoughts on “Review – The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

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