The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, #1) by Stephen King

Published July 1st 1989 by Signet, Paperback, 315 pages, ISBN-13: 9780451160522

This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations – The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages from ancient myth to frontier western legend. His pursuit of The Man in Black, his liaison with the sexually ravenous Alice, his friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake, are part of the drama that is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, an alchemy of storytelling sorcery.

Review: Just about as I remembered it when I first read it almost two decades ago…

I can’t really write a review like I usually do, with a small rundown of what happens and then comment on it. The book is confusing, as I remembered it from long ago.

We see some background on Roland, the Gunslinger. We get his coming of age story, which is almost disturbing if not for the fact that his world is on different plane than ours. He is searching for the Dark Tower, compelled to search for it, and is after the Man in Black, the embodiment of evil. He wants answers, and only the Man in Black can give them to him.

Along the way, he meets a lot of people, who I don’t believe were originally evil, but are turned that way, as the Man in Black passed through town before him.

Then he meets Jake, a young boy from our plane, who had been brought over by the Man in Black. I still don’t really understand why Jake was even put in the Gunslinger’s path. What am I missing? If someone knows, please let me know.

And just when Roland catches up with the Man in Black, he has a difficult decision: lose Jake or lose the Man in Black. He chooses to lose Jake. I felt badly for Jake. He didn’t ask to be pushed into traffic and killed. He didn’t ask to be brought over to a different plane of existance. I felt just as confused as the kid. I was left with many questions unanswered. Once I read the Author’s Afterword, I did get a bit of a sense as to what King is up to in this series, and come to realize that a lot of those questions I have are just as much unanswered for him as well. Okay, so now I don’t feel like I’m swimming in the middle of an ocean with no hope in sight.

I will continue with the series, one book per month, along with some of the ladies in the group. I never did finish the series, and I’m determined to get it done.



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