Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is unlike anything you've ever heard. Here is Stephen King's most visionary piece of storytelling, a magical mix of fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievement. Don't miss the other volumes of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.
©1982 and 2003 Stephen King; (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks and Recorded Books, LLC
"Brilliant, fresh, and compelling...will leave you panting for more." (Booklist)
"An impressive work of mythic magnitude. May turn out to be Stephen King's greatest literary achievement." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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.
Ah, <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B>, finally available from audible.com. Being lucky enough to have been listening to <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B> since 1988 when the original NAL Penguin audio version of <U>The Gunslinger</U> was released, unabridged and read by the author on 4 cassette tapes, I have been in its grip for about 15 years now. I have been happy there and one of the very many "constant readers" frustrated by the fact that it has been so long in coming.
<B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B>, which a young Stephen King began writing in 1970, will finally conclude in November 2004 with the publication of the 7th and final volume, <U>The Dark Tower</U>. When it is complete, it will be the measure of the career of one of the finest authors in history. It will include not only all of its own strange and wonderful landscapes, but also reveal the author's humanity through its imperfection and his genius, especially with in how he manages to interweave, to a greater or lesser degree, almost every other story he has ever written!
<U>The Gunslinger</U>, both the original version and the version wholly rewritten by King for the June 2003 re-publication, is the first book in the series but really is a "way station" smack in the middle of the road to the Dark Tower. Short and brutal, <U>The Gunslinger</U> introduces us to Roland of Gilead, the last in a line of knights sworn to protect a realm of lawfulness and light. He is on a quest to put right a wrong that not only has destroyed his world, but threatens all worlds. We get glimpses of a past that is orderly and beautiful, if still post-apocalyptic and still "moving on."
Borrowing heavily on other sources for inspiration: Robert Browning's poem <U>Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came</U>, T.S. Elliott's <U>The Waste Lands</U>, and Clifford D. Simak's <U>Ring Around the Sun</U>, <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B> is <I>the</I> epic tale of the 21st century.
Review continues with <U>The Drawing of the Three</U>...
Subtle but great improvements on (what I concider) his greatest story. I have the audio and paper version of the previous version and have loved and abused them for years. This new version ties in more of the full story and leaves you yearning for more,... more than ever. A great book, well read, simply the best.
I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus
This saga is astounding, compelling, moving and fun! Though the story drifts into occasional tedium, and what King story doesn't, the quest for the rider in black draws you in with its clever interplay of similar (though markedly different) worlds, well-drawn characters and King's ability to spring the unexpected on the reader in an acceptable manner. I have listened to all the volumes and rate this one the best and can't wait for the next installment due soon. The narration is masterful. Don't miss this one! I rate this 5 stars (only the third I have given in over 200 Audible titles).
Two credits a month is only gonna get me to Tuesday.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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