The Gunslinger by

1 November 2008

Rated :

ISBN: 0340829753
Book 1 of The Dark Tower series.
Read for the RIP III Challenge

Image of The GunslingerThis is the first book in King’s seven book series, The Dark Tower, which I’ve been meaning to get started on for a good while now. It is labelled as a fantasy series, but with King you always[1] get some form of horror. And for that reason I decided to add this to my RIP challenge reading list.[2] The Gunslinger introduces the reader to Roland of Gilead, the gunslinger of the title, and the world in which he lives. It echoes many things of our world, maybe at some point in the future, after the world has “moved on”

With a title like The Gunslinger you’re probably thinking that this has a fair amount of Western in it. And you’d be right. The majority of the book is set in an arid desert as Roland chases his nemesis across it. Flashbacks fill in much of the back story. And we begin to learn why Roland is chasing the man in black. But we don’t get all the details. And we certainly don’t learn exactly what The Dark Tower is.

To be honest I didn’t really find all that much to rave about in this book. I wasn’t overly enthralled by any of the characters. Roland is the stranger of Western cliché. And we never really get inside his head, even if he is the character through which we experience the world of the book.

The world itself is fairly interesting. Creepy and familiar. Uncanny even ;) But that isn’t enough to make me love the book. Although I probably will read the others. So I suppose it works as an introduction to the world.

Maybe that is the problem with this book. It is very much a first book in a series. It is short and has a lot to do, so I suppose it isn’t surprising that it doesn’t achieve everything that you might hope for in an excellent read.


  1. of course by always I mean usually. There are exceptions.
  2. I had listed two Meyer books, but after reading them I figured that they really really dont fit in with the whole horror genre. At some point I’ll get around to reviewing them

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7 Responses

  1. samulli says:

    It is interesting to read such a different take on one of my favorite books. Somehow it is always hard for me to imagine that anybody could not enjoy a book I love so much. LOL

    I'm curious to hear what you think of the next books in the series. They do get progressively less westerny in feel (well, except for the 4th one, which is mostly a flashback to Roland's youth) and Roland becomes a much more multidimensional character as the story progresses. Well, at least I think so, but then again, I had a crush on the guy since I was 15 or so, so I am probably a little bit biased. ;)

  2. Fence says:

    I liked the westerny feel to them. But I'm a big fan of characterisation in books and felt this one was lacking that. If as you say Roland becomes more of a proper character then I guess I'll just have to keep reading on :)

  3. samulli says:

    Well, to be honest I can't really read The Gunslinger (or any of the other parts of the series) without bias anymore. I just know Roland inside and out, so I can't make myself experience the book like a first-time reader would. I think he is the most character ever written by King, but I might be wrong. ;)

  4. Fence says:

    There are a few books I'm like that with. I've read them so often that I know them inside and out and just can't remember what it is like to read it for the first time. Sign of a really good book, or series. Now I'll have to read on

  5. jean pierre says:

    hmmm… yeah, i guess i'll see what you make of the others then. the hype also got me curious.

    i'm rather scared of king, though. but as you say, this is a little different, so it might be a non-terrying introduction to him.

  6. Lightheaded says:

    I feel the same way about the first book. It wasn't that riveting and yet somehow I wanted to learn more of Roland and the world he came from so I picked up the second book and was eventually reeled into it.

  7. Fence says:

    JP it isn't a horror. But there are horrific elements. If that makes sense :)

    Good to know that other people feel the same way Lightheaded.