Why: Despite our best efforts we (Evan) gave this novel a try in our youths and failed somewhere just after “The Way Station”. This is insightful given the fact that we had a slight (and by slight we actually mean enormous) obsession with Stephen King. Not quite sure what went wong.... Fifteen-ish years later we decided to take the plunge again and within a matter of three months, we’ve already completed book 4 in the series. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves...
Roland of Gilead is on a quest to find the dark tower. Not just any dark tower – THE dark tower. Armed with his considerable skill as a gunslinger his first order of business is to catch the man in black. Intrigue, mystery and a whole lot of freaky stuff surrounds the first phase of the epic pursuit. Success requires every bit of Roland’s cunning and single-mindedness and in the end, merely catching up with the man in black turns out to be the least of his problems.
There’s really no other way to say it; The Gunslinger is an impressive novel. While it’s not our favorite Stephen King novel (Bag of Bones please stand) or even our favorite in the Dark Tower series (review for The Wastelands coming soon), the reader has the sense that something momentous is happening. This novel does an excellent job setting the stage for so much more to come. We were left dripping with enough intrigue and unanswered questions, that continuing on with the series was an easy choice.
Stephen King has never had any problems writing characters and the cast of The Gunslinger could very well be his best. Roland, in all his cold hearted splendor, was such a deep character; and Jake, in all his trusting naivety, provided the perfect compliment. The setting of the novel was also top notch. The reader is asked to accept so much as reality yet we found ourselves questioning little due to the confident and colorful manner in which the setting is described.
With 7 total volumes currently in the series and another one waiting to be released next year, there’s never been a better time to begin The Dark Tower journey.
Editor’s Note: Make sure you take note of the content rating... Very little is left to the imagination.