Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Gunslinger (Dark Tower series, #1)- Stephen King

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1982 (2003- revised & expanded edition)
Pages:  300
ISBN:  9780451210845
Genre:  Series, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Start Date:  July 10, 2011
Finished Date:  Aug. 4, 2011 (26 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list; I also devour anything by Stephen King

Read For:  Stephen King challenge (4/6), 1st in a Series challenge (6/6)

Summary:  In the dystopian world of Gilead, a wandering rebel, Roland, seeks the mysterious Man in Black in the vast desert terrain reflects on his prior and present encounters that alter their memories and fates.


I don't believe it.  I never thought I would meet a Stephen King book that didn't quite meet my expectations.  As exciting as it is for a favourite author to dip a toe into a different kind of genre, the western-dystopian subgenre was just too uneven a match for the master of horror fiction for this fan. 

While I commend King's attempt (the dystopian angle of the story was actually intriguing and the prose, as usual, was interesting and cutting edge), but the western is better suited for the helmsman he cites as inspiration in the introduction--Sergio Leone.  Or maybe Louis L'Amour (though I've never read his work, but he is the only novelist in the western genre I can think of at the moment).  The genre is difficult to write and keep reader interest alive.  There is much lingering tension, self-reflection, and travails both on the mind from one's past and on the horizon in one's future.  It won't leap off the page and keep them turning without a masterful hand.

As much as I've heard that King's later books in the Dark Tower series are better than the earlier installments, this one failed to keep my attention, and plodded along to the end, leaving me perfectly willing to forego continuing on with the series to find out Roland's fate.  I honestly did not find him all that interesting a character.  Oh win some, you lose some.  I'm still a huge Stephen King fan nonetheless and will continue to read anything else he writes.  Just not this.

Rank:  (C)- Just Okay


  1. I've never read any of the Dark Tower series. My husband did and liked them, though he also said they weren't as good as King's usual stuff. Maybe it's partly a matter of taste - my husband loves western movies and dystopian plots. I read that King meant the series as a sort of homage to the old serials that ran in managzines.


  2. I'm a huge King fan -- but I've only read the first one in this series -- I agree -- it just wasn't my thing, didn't grab me...

  3. I was just thinking about this series and wondering if it was worth a shot. I may still give this first one a try... I haven't read any Stephen King in about a decade, so my expectations definitely won't be too high.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. I've heard that this first one is pretty bad, but the rest of the series INCREDIBLE. It's what has put me off of this series for so long ...

  5. Oh no! I love the Dark Tower series more than most other books in the world... The rest, I think, are all pretty different to The Gunslinger, because King brings in a lot more influence from things we are familiar with already, and basically it's just the best thing in the world ever! So I'd definitely recommend giving the second book a try...

  6. Sue~ That's pretty much my feeling too (it's a matter of taste). I like some dystopias and some westerns (movies, not books so much) but this just fell flat for me.

    Sarah~ I think it might be worth a shot if you know the premise. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Sam~ That's what I've heard, too, and exactly my feeling about trying the next book.

    Laura~ Sorry, I know it hurts to read a negative review for a book you love. I've heard that the other books are better but I'm not quite ready to commit to it yet. Maybe in time...

  7. So sorry you didn't like the book. I really did. I've read ALL the Dark Tower books, including the graphic novels (except the most recent one). Maybe part of it is that the edition of the Gunslinger you have is the "revised" one. I read it when I was a teenager, so it was the original one. I kind of want to read the revised edition out of curiosity.

    That said, I enjoyed all the books. The second one is great and the third one is probably my favourite in the series. I hope you give it another try.