The Gunslinger – Dark Tower 1 Review

In 1982, Stephen King began navigating toward penning his own epic series, The Dark Tower series, with the first novel in the series, . Part Western, part fantasy, part science fiction, The Gunslinger begins an epic that would be nearly a quarter of a century in the making. Finally releasing the last installments of the series, Song of Susannah in 2005 and the final installment, The Dark Tower, in 2004, the series has finally come to its conclusion and those fans who’ve waited until the series was finally complete to begin reading can now do so without reservation.

begins as our protagonist, Roland of Gilead, begins his pursuit of the Man in Black through a world that is not our own, but more like that of a forgotten American West. It is on his journey to capture the Man in Black that Roland encounters a young boy by the name of Jake Chambers. Murdered by the Man in Black in the world we know, he found himself in the waste lands of a world that seems as if it were tossed away like an old toy. For while it would seem that this is a world long gone, perhaps even a forgotten past, we see the present day world peeking through. From the sounds of “Hey Jude” wafting from a saloon piano to a gas pump that remains a mysterious and unusable item among the people who inhabit this strange world, it is clear that this odd corner of the universe is more an enigma than a location on a map or a point in time.

As Roland makes his way across the battered landscape, he becomes closer to Jake, becoming somewhat like a surrogate father to him. Never faltering from his desire to catch the Man in Black, Roland makes the ultimate sacrifice when he must choose to either pursue the Man in Black or sacrifice the boy to which he has grown so close.

Leaving a cryptic message with Roland as he dies, Jake informs him that there are other worlds out there. Both Roland and the reader are left with only vague ideas of what the message might mean as Roland continues his pursuit of the Man in Black. The mystery of the novel only becomes more confusing and intriguing when Roland finally confronts the Man in Black.

is the jumping-off point for King’s epic fantasy tale that you’ll either love or hate. Some readers will enjoy the trademark King desolation of the novel while others will find it hard to take the leap into the series. Either way, there is a story here worth reading and, if you take the leap, you will almost certainly be justly rewarded.

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