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Great read but not the best of the series
on 17 March 2014
In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.
So along with the BookLikes crew (as I now refer to them) I have started a re-read of The Dark Tower series from Mr King with the first volume – The Gunslinger.
We’ll get the bad out of the way first – this is not my favourite of the novels in this series. In fact I will be honest and say the first time I read it I ALMOST did not continue, despite my absolute regard and love for the writing of Stephen King…I thought that perhaps his epic fantasy would not be for me. I was utterly wrong of course, so very wrong and I now stand here corrected.
The second reading of this gave me much more – possibly because I know what is coming, I absolutely think this is a must read – however I would still tell anyone coming at this for the first time, this was written when the author was young and whilst it has been updated and expanded, it remains in this readers opinion the weakest of the Dark Tower Series. That is not to say that it is bad, it is in fact extremely good. Still, you may be tempted, like me, to abandon the rest – don’t do it. Keep going. If only because you will then one day experience the sheer brilliance of Wizard and Glass.
In this volume we meet Roland as he crosses the desert in pursuit of the man in black – as we follow him on his journey we get hints of his past and possibly his future – and soon his quest for The Dark Tower will truly begin.
As usual its Mr King’s imagery that will get you – every single time. The bleak landscapes, the terrifying encounters and as always a strong and beating heart at the centre of the tale, this sets the scene for a truly magnificent quest that will take over your life until you are done.
All in all a decent read, see the caveats above and dive in. Ultimately this is a journey worth taking.
Happy Reading Folks!