I was never a fan of Stephen King's first book in the Dark Tower series; in fact, I stopped reading the book twice before finally pushing through to the end. Every book since has been great. This revised and expanded edition helps tie the first book to the rest of the books in series and is not as choppy as before. George Guidall is a good reader, but I would have preferred a "younger" voice for Roland; still, it's definately worth listening to.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
In the Dark Tower book 1 we are thrust into this future post apocalyptic world with a man name Roland. What is revealed in the beginning is simply that Roland is a "gun slinger" and is in pursuit of his enemy, "the man in black", who has lain obstacles in Roland's path for vengeance. This is a very dark fantasy world full of magic, mutants, demons, and many mysteries. You really need to pay attention in this book or you might get lost. The author skips around the main characters past and present and this transition may be one of those things harder to follow for the audio listener. The book starts off with very little information and the listener is forced to discover and come up with their own conclusions during the course of events. The listener is pulled along with an assortment of questions and although I found Roland's conflicts engaging for a time, I did start to get a little tired of the chase and ambiguousness of the story near the end. Questions like "what is the dark tower?" and "who is the man in black?" follow up with incomplete answers and bring up even more questions like those involving what encompasses the universe, creation of life, and God. Since we end with so many questions this book felt incomplete to me. I liked the narration and will consider getting the next book in a future sale.
I read this years ago, and was immediately drawn in by the atmosphere. While it's true there isn't a lot of story, the mood and characters are so interesting you don't really notice. I love Guidall, he makes everything sound like a western. In fact, his voice is reassuring, sort of hints that everything will be OK in the end, and when you're aware of this and know King, it ratchets up the suspense in a weird way. You can ride along with the story knowing there will be some rough patches but in the end it wil be a satisfying trip. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
The world of the Dark Tower is every bit as vast as LOTR or Star Wars or any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy I have read.
It is not so easy as a turn off your brain and read series. Some of it is crude, but that's King's style for you, and it works.
The character of the Gunslinger is one of the most amazing hero/anti-hero characters I've known. He kicks butt, he's gruff, he's got a kindness but he can be as hard as steel. his single minded quest for the Dark Tower make him interesting.
Perhaps the series is not for everyone. Some people don't like anything no matter what is said. Either they don't get it, or it's not their taste.
Those that read Gunslinger need to remember it was written by King before his first book Carrie was big. The rest of the series is written more recently. Give them a try. I listen to them over and over.
One thing that I have noticed after reading all of the reviews that are posted on this site boils down to the same thing. 1 Yes this is a long series after al it is a work of love. 2. As the series progresses you learn to know and love the characters. 3 you need a brain to understand the path of the beam and relate it to history, ( using metaphors) 4 This series is not for the “Brain Dead Drones” I have read the entire series and now have it on audio and I come back to it time after time.
The Gunslinger series is responsible for getting me hooked on Audio Books and Audible. This first volume took some time to catch on, but I've listened to it several times now and always enjoy it just a little more than the last. Be warned... I couldn't hold out for my regular scheduled monthly downloads and needed to buy a couple of the books in the series before I planned to. Most addictive.
This is the first of the Dark Tower series of stories, but it was written by King in the early 1970's. He had yet to acquire his incredible visionary writing style that he is most known for, so this story, however amazing, is not his best work. However, the Dark Tower series absolutely is his best! So in order to read the remaining stories and understand everything about them, The Gunslinger is a must read.
The Dark Tower Series is one of the best I have ever read. Unfortunately, you have to read this book in order to get the background information for the rest of the series. The first half of the book is fast and confusing. (I always go over something a second time if I don't understand it the first time. Don't bother, it is not important in the rest of the book/series.) You don't really understand what happens until the end when everything is tied together. The second half of the book goes slower and gives more explanation as to who Roland is, and why he acts as he does. (You finally understand him in book 4, 'Wizard and Glass') Basically, Roland is in a world that is parallel to ours. It seems like he is in the days of Billy The Kid, but then he talks of music playing on a juke box. (I'm not giving away anything significant, just something that throws the reader off) So it is hard to place him in a specific time frame. This is something that is important to me (I have no idea why) and I was frustrated by it.
In the very end of it all, I really didn't like the book and considered not finishing the series. I had already downloaded the rest of the books on a recomendation of a friend, so I picked up the next one. It was worth reading this first one so that I could enjoy the rest of the series.
So my recomendation is this:
Download the book and spend the few hours listening to it. It may not make sense in the beginning, but wraps up well in the end. It will be worth it all when you read the next book, 'The Drawing of the Three'.
I found this book to be difficult to get through. The plot seemed slow and I just kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen (I wasn't sure what). But the reader is excellent, and that helped me to keep on listening. I AM SO GLAD I DID! By the end of this book, I still wasn't overly impressed, but I liked it well enough to give the second in the series a try. I have LOVED all of the rest of the books! I don't think you can skip this book and still appreciate the others, so I think this book is a worthy investment for many, many hours of great listening from the rest of the series.
One last note, I want to mention again that the reader (George Guidall) is EXCELLENT. I have listened to many books read by Guidall, and as always, the narration was wonderful.
Stephen King's Dark Tower series is his finest work ever. Mr. King has a storytellers gift. If you are fan of his other work you will like this series.