Gunslinger introduces Dark Tower series

David Rudy

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When most people think Stephen King they usually think of his horror works like The Shining, Cujo and It, but Stephen King also writes fantasy and sci-fi series and novels. The Dark Tower series was a blend of horror, sci-fi and fantasy and starts with The Gunslinger.

In the Gunslinger, the reader follows the protagonist, Roland of Gilead and his quest to find and catch “the man in black.”  This novel takes place in a world that blends sci-fi, fantasy and westerns,

The novel is great but not perfect. While Stephen King creates an amazing world, this same quality does not apply to some of the characters. While Roland is a great character, sometimes his actions appear very cold and ruthless. While this may not be a problem for a side or background character, this is the main protagonist of the story. While the revised edition did fix many of the issues with characters; it did not fix them all.

Stephen King does a great job creating a world that feels like a western with sci-fi and fantasy elements. Also the way Stephen King blends this world into the book’s world does work most of the time and when it does work it makes the setting even better. For example there is a gas pump named Amoco in which a group of people worship as a god.

The plot I pacing was good for how the story was being told. Also Stephen King gives the reader small looks into Roland’s past because it gives more information on how a gunslinger came to be in the book’s world. While most of the plot and pacing is great, there are some elements of it that never needed to be in this book. Throughout the novel, in some moments Stephen King uses alternate timelines. While the use of alternate timelines are not inherently bad, but this book feels forced and does not really fit the tone of the book at all. While other readers may enjoy the use of alternate timelines, this reader would have preferred they were eliminated.

Overall The Gunslinger, is a great introduction to the series and does a great job getting the reader to want more from the series . There are two versions of the book, the original 1982 edition and the 2003 revised and expanded edition. Grab the second edition if provided the option since it was an improvement for sure.   

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