Go then, there are other worlds than these
Now that I’ve read a few Stephen King books I am aware of a couple of things. He has gone through some significant and very different life stages, and depending on which stage he was in when he wrote a book, it’s going to be a very different reading experience. His thoughts on this book began in college …..
The Dark Tower series gets a vast amount of praise from readers across all genres and I figured it was about time I check it out. Number one, The Gunslinger, is short and felt rocky at times, which can be explained by the fact that it was originally 5 short stories!
There are ideas, there are flashbacks, there’s action in the present day, and there’s certainly a lot of room for King to move forward. My main impression is that I don’t think he knew it was going to turn into a giant epic series when he first wrote The Gunslinger. After doing some research I found that after the other books were written King went back and did some serious revising to the first to make it more consistent with the other books, and this is the version I have. It’s interesting though because you can see where the five stories are and while each has its own individual flavor, they mostly fit well when pieced together to create Roland’s adventures.
And there you have it from Wikipedia. So what are my impressions of the book? I had no idea if I was reading fantasy or dystopia or what. They should have left the Whelan cover to make it clear at first! You’ve got lowkey demons, a sharpshooter, a talking raven, throwbacks to something like Arthurian times in a castle court, with guns, and an overarching Old West feel.
It’s bizarre and brilliant and I’m keenly interested. I have so many questions about how the world’s fit together, how Jake ended up in this wasteland, how 10 years can pass in a moment, and so many other things!
If nothing else King has me hooked lined and sunk as far as continuing to read on because I want all the answers.
I don’t know where this thought fits into the rest of my thoughts but there’s this whole over current of weird hormones and sexy situations haha I think King had some issues to work through at some point, as also indicated by the Bill Hodges trilogy and “honeyboy”🤣
It’s also no secret that Roland is considered a hugely iconic character, so let me look at him quickly. He’s obviously a badass sharp shooter on one level, but when he talks about his past he seems ancient. How did he get from a beautiful green world of castles and courts to a dystopian desert chasing the Man in Black? His interactions with Jake Chambers shows that he has never heard of our Earth, even though his world mirrors Earth in many ways. Roland isn’t fearless, he has deep feelings where the boy is concerned, but he’s also quite singleminded in purpose at this point in the series.
And if that spiel on time and size at the end doesn’t blow your mind, nothing will 😂
One penultimate note is that Michael Whelan did the original cover! That makes it a legitimate fantasy as far as I’m concerned
And the last note – it was recommended to me to try the audiobooks because the narrator adds a lot of fantastic personality to the text and I couldn’t agree more. Most of my King reading has been on audio because of Will Patton narrating quite a few books, but George Guidall is absolutely phenomenal as well. Would highly recommend to fans of thrillers and fantasy.
Here’s the Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Gunslinger
- Series: The Dark Tower, #1
- Author: Stephen King, narrated by George Guidall
- Release: Originally 1982, there are so many versions this is confusing to me now
- Length: approx 7 hours audio, around 280 on page
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ heck yeah to thriller and fantasy, weird western fans
Here’s the synopsis via GoodReads:
The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.