Stephen King, The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Review

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suthosharko's review of Stephen King, The Dark Tower: Gunslinger


“Well, feel like I will be swimming against the tide...”

Written on: 03/06/2006 by suthosharko (1 review written)

Well, feel like I will be swimming against the tide with this review. I was very much a fan of Stephen King's earlier works but had not read much in recent years. Last was Dreamcatcher which was great.

Had seen the Dark Tower series in recent times on the bookshelves but wasn't really motivated to buy into it as I didn't really see Stephen King as a fantasy series writer, which is what I thought this was. My wife however, bought me "The Gunslinger" (the amended versions with the forward from Stephen King himself) so I decided to give it a go.

Well ... have to say I was very disappointed. Was tempted to give it away several times but persevered, thinking that it just had to get better. It didn't.

I found the style of writing difficult to read, with rather long and whimsical sentences. Almost an attempt to impress with literary artistry, which is something that I thought King deliberately tried to avoid in his story telling. This might have been ok if the story itself had been interesting, but I really struggled to understand what was going on.

Roland's our gunslinger and the story starts in a Western setting. He's pursuing the man in black. Don't know why. Fair enough maybe we'll find out as we read on. We get many flashbacks to Roland's childhood, which seem to be set in some sort of middle ages environment. I say "seem to" because I couldn't really work it out. Then to top it off, we have the arrival of Jake seemingly from modern times. OK well I'm really quite lost now. Where the hell are we, what time is it and what is the point of chasing the man in black and seeking the Dark Tower?

Without giving too much away, the ending of the book gives no answers to these mixed setting questions and the encounter with the man in black results in more questions than answers. As for the Dark Tower there is more flesh put on the bones of this mysterious plot object, but it has a Science Fiction taste. So again I am confused about what genre this book is trying to be. If it is trying to be a mixed genre, then ok, but give us some more meaning so we can understand this.

I can deal with a certain lack of explanation and understanding, but I'm afraid this book is way out there. So, very sorry to say that this is the first Stephen King book that I have not liked. As a result I just don't have the motivation to read the next book in the series, because I fear that it will be much of the same.

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