52 Books a Year: #48 - The Gunslinger

Posted by Brian Wed, 23 Dec 2009 18:43:08 GMT

The Gunslinger
By Stephen King


My brother is a big Stephen King fan so when I was out of reading material on a trip I grabbed The Gunslinger, the first book in King’s Dark Tower series, from him. His version is the revised and expanded edition, which contains 35 more pages than the original and some changes to be more consistent with the plot of the later books. King started this series without knowing where he wanted to go with it and mistakes were made.

Explanations as to what the hell is going on are slim. The book jumps right in with the protagonist, Roland, chasing after the man in black for unknown reasons. The next 300 pages start to fill in the details about who Roland is and why he is chasing the man in black, although the full reasons for the latter are still unclear. Along the way Roland picks up a child, who ends up getting caught up in his obsessive pursuit.

King was young when he wrote this and it shows in parts. The writing can be rough with a disconnected feel, although this may be just frustration from not knowing much of what is going on. The Gunslinger proves that it is possible to write a 300 page book that feels like a prologue. You finish feeling like nothing much has happened. After finishing this one my brother told me not to read the next without reading some other King’s book. Apparently the rest of the Dark Tower series ties in with his other novels meaning I will most likely embark on a massive Stephen King project next year.


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