Rating: I'M (sadly) INDIFFERENT
Series: The Dark Tower #1
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Horror
Published by: Penguin
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
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Book Blurb: In 1978 Stephen King introduced the world to the last Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Nothing has been the same since. Over twenty years later the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar as the road to the Dark Tower extends beyond its own pages. A classic tale of colossal scope—crossing over terrain from The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, ‘Salem’s Lot and other familiar King haunts—the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page.And the tower awaits… The First Volume in the Epic DARK TOWER Series…The GunslingerThis heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations—The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages, from ancient myth to frontier western legend.The Gunslinger’s quest involves the pursuit of The Man in Black, a liaison with the sexually ravenous Alice, and a friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, here is stunning proof of Stephen King’s storytelling sorcery.
Sigh … I tried, I really did.
So I’m going to openly say that I’ve tried Stephen King on numerous occasions and I just can’t get into his books. I can’t really say why. He reminds me of Tad Williams, or vice versa. It seems long-winded. I can’t connect with the characters. I’m at a distance from the story. In no way am I saying he’s a poor author. His style just isn’t to my personal taste.
So Gunslinger has a key element I look for in a book: A brooding character. I love me a nice brooder. Gunslinger is a brooding guy in search of the man in black. His journey takes him across a desert-like setting where he takes time to reflect on what makes him a brooder and why he’s doing what he’s doing. We also get some peeks at a larger storyline out there. When I boil it down, I really should have enjoyed this book.
I will say that King can weave a sentence. He’s got some great lines in there and I can fully admire his skill. I understand why he’s so popular and I can appreciate his storytelling. But oddly enough, with all that mad talent, I don’t feel anything when I read his works. I’m completely indifferent. Why? I wish I knew. I guess it seems like he’s telling me a story in a very descriptive manner, yet he’s not placing me completely in the mind of his character. There are times I am, but for me, I mostly feel like an outsider listening to a campfire tale. It might be a case of too little too late. I admit, I was skimming quite a bit there toward the end.
Then again, my indifference could have had something to do with the setting. I liked the grittiness of the towns and the hopeless feel of the world. It reminded me of scenes from the video game Fallout. Not when you’re exploring demolished cities, but more of wandering the wasteland and coming across a few crazies and scary towns. It’s not my standard love, and I did struggle sometimes with getting my bearings in the world. That might have kept me at a distance.
Of course this could all be a mental thing. I went in to the book thinking I wouldn’t like it, and perhaps I didn’t want to disappoint myself. I’m fully open to that possibility. Even if this were the case, I don’t think I’ll be picking up a King book again. There are so many books I want to read that I don’t feel the need to keep trying to fall in love with an author because he/she is popular. I’ve already found that I’m not a fan of certain beloved authors, and that’s nothing against the author’s skill. It’s just my finicky taste.
So overall, if you like King, I recommend this book.