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.
Ahhh...yes, THE GUNSLINGER. What fond old memories I have of this novel (and of its far superior sequel, THE DRAWING OF THE THREE). I still recall how much fun reading these books was for me. Of course, that was some time ago, near the end of my SK phase. Would the books still satisfy? With a strong portion of sentimental fervor, I decided to find out. I therefore downloaded THE GUNSLINGER with some degree of warm fuzziness already accumulated in my subconscious literary lint trap; I imagined that rereading it would be just like visiting an old friend.
And it was sort of like that.
But, really, it was more like revisiting grade school. Everything that had once seemed grand and important could not be taken seriously now. I read somewhere that King wrote this book while he was in college. That sounds about right. As I recall, I was about that age when I read it. So it makes sense that I would have enjoyed it then -- just as I used to enjoy riding my Big Wheel when I was five but wouldn't enjoy...hmmm. Never mind. I would probably still enjoy riding my Big Wheel, that is if I could still fit behind the tassel-adorned handlebars. But anyway...sadly, like the world in which the Gunslinger dwells, I, too, have moved on.
But, ah, the memories...
Oh I guess it was not an entirely bad experience revisiting THE GUNSLINGER. At first everything was fine. A gravely voiced narrator was there to greet me warmly. No problems there. I seem to remember his gravely gravely-ness from THE GREEN MILE. And so, smiling, I settled in for a listen and was immediately impressed by how oddly exciting it was hearing Sir Gravely utter that wonderful first line of the novel. How does it go again? Come on; say it with me:
"The Man in Black fled across the desert. And the Gunslinger followed."
Soon after, however, my excitement faded, as did most of my enthusiasm for following along with The Gunslinger on his long, weird, fanciful quest after The Man in Black.
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.
Stephen King's series about the Dark Tower is epic. It has spanned decades between release of this first book and the most recent which comes out Nov. 4th. This is a slightly expanded version of the original and I believe makes it a much more stand alone book. This series is far and away my favorite of King's work. The character Roland is very powerful. I am sure if you get this book you will be drawn to the rest in the series, which audible has recently added along with "Wolves of the Calla" which is coming soon. The sheer scope and volume of the completed works even so far are awesome, each book leaves you knowing more about Roland and his "ka-tet" but wanting to know even more. I highly recommend this book and the rest of the series. I sincerely hope that Audible plans to add the final two volumes as they come out next year.
I just finished listening to the third book in this series and I must say that so far this series is (in my opinion) rivaling The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I recommend these books to anyone who loves action mixed with fantasy. It is written in a way that will keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting to download the next book. I hope that everyone loves this series as much as I do. I cant wait for the last book to come out.
Go ahead. Allow yourself to be sucked in to the Dark Tower series.
The first book takes a little while to get going, but you have to think of it as an investment in the epic series that it is.
This is a great story. By the time you get to the 7th book, you'll be really disappointed that your time with these characters is up.
Two thums up. Both of 'em.
The Book Conjurer
I'm probably the only person on Earth that dislikes Stephen King and still manages to read one or two of his books a year. He certainly knows how to craft a page-turner and he shows occasional brilliance in character development, but most of his work is chock-full of ham-fisted imagery, ill-fitting pop culture references, and over-moist sex scenes. That said, "The Gunslinger" is Stephen King at his best with little of the mediocrity that plagues many of his other books.
Roland's relentless pursuit of the man in black echoes events and characters from Browning's Childe Roland. It combines the desperation of Elliott's Waste Land with the imagery and violence of a spaghetti western. But most importantly, it works! The Gunslinger has the gravity of an old myth and is grittily satisfying.
The other Dark Tower books are nowhere near as subtle or well-crafted. Take for example, the asinine antagonist of the third book: a sentient, evil locomotive ("Blaine the Train is a pain"), or the Wizard of Oz rubbish tacked onto the end of the fourth book. These grotesque elements are garish lipstick smeared on a corpse by an over-eager mortician. How can the Roland we have come to know and love in "The Gunslinger" maintain his dignity in the face of such laughable adversities?
If you're a fan of King's early work or even if you've tried later Dark Tower books and disliked them, you should absolutely give this book a listen, but I recommend you avoid later books in the series.
Wow. Worth it!
Well, this is my first Stephen King novel and I am nothing less than completely satisfied.
The Gunslinger is a vague and atmospheric character that will hold your attention and help set the mood of the world he travels. His is a world of what seems to be a post-apocalyptic earth, but there are also traces of magic and the supernatural, a dusty and nostaligic dream world...it made me want water!
The story seems to wander a bit, it scatters and goes in different directions, takes on different moods and dilemmas, yet as the pages turned, I found the randomness gripping my attention and not letting go. It is like moving through a western movie set that had been abandoned and reinhabited with King's subconscious fragments...you'll love it! You are in good hands with this story and character.
I couldn't wait to get to the end. When I did, I realized it was, after all, only the beginning!
Can't wait to finish Book II...heard its even better!
Random utterly disturbing things would creep up that really weren't necessary. I am scarred for life.
Well, I defiantly won't be picking up another Stephen King novel on a whim. That guy obviously has a sick mind.
It was lifeless. He didn't string the words or sentences together smoothy so it was awkward.
All of them!! There was not one redeeming character. In my opinion, this book should have been re-worked entirely.
Needless to say I deleted this book from my computer.
I will admit this book is by far the hardest read of the Dark Tower series. However, it does give an excellent introduction to the character of Roland and give you a basis for understanding the Dark Tower. Kings revisions have made the book flow much better than the original version and you will find this a very entertaining read that prepares you fully for the real adventure that starts in the second novel.