Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Driven by vengeance, Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger, must catch the man in black. The pursuit leads the last gunslinger across the Mojave desert to the end of the known world, for he will allow nothing to deter him from discovering the secret of the Dark Tower. Or will he?

My synopsis will join the ranks of thousands of variations on "The man in black flees across the desert, and the last Gunslinger follows." And there's a reason we've all used that line to build from: you just can't say much of anything else about the story without giving things away. It's quite short. The Gunslinger is the first part of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which he regards as a single long work, rather than a series. It is part Western, part fantasy, part horror. But don't think Cowboys and Aliens; I did say it was part horror.

The first half of the story introduces us to the last Gunslinger and his quest, by giving us flashbacks to his youth and past encounters with the works of the man in black. King's excellence in world-building draws readers into Roland's past and propels them into the second half of the book, where most of the physical journey takes place.

The story is characteristically dark, with an intriguing mystery or three, but I didn't find the story to be very compelling. There was a beginning, middle, and end, but it felt much more like an introduction than a complete story. Which makes sense, since that's what it's supposed to be. However, as an introduction, it hasn't done a bang up job either, since I'm only mildly curious about what comes next. I don't think I'll seek out book 2, The Drawing of the Three immediately. I'll probably read some of his other (probably gorier) works first.

View my suggested books by Stephen King

Copy source: personal library
Genre: fantasy
Format: e-book

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