The Dark Tower I (The Gunslinger)

by Stephen King

Rating: 3/5 stars

Date completed: March 12, 2016

I am revisiting one of my favorite book series, "The Dark Tower" by Stephen King. I am pumped for the upcoming movie and the casting of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as the main characters. I wanted to reread the series before it hits the big screen. The first book in the series is called "The Gunslinger" and is the weakest of the seven.

Fantasy And Science Fiction magazine published it as a series of five short stories, beginning in October 1978 and ending in November 1981. I own all five of those magazines (in the photo above), first editions. They are my prize possessions.

The book follows Roland Deschain, the last of the Gunslingers, a samurai-like group of warriors, as he pursues a mysterious "Man in Black" across the desert.

I've read a lot of Stephen King and "The Gunslinger" stylistically fits in with his early novels, especially "The Stand." It is a great story that is bogged down with flowery descriptions, overuse of adverbs and a fantasy world that is too big for its britches. The second book in the series came out seven years after the last short story of "The Gunslinger" was published. In between, he published several novels, wrote a few screenplays and dozens of short stories. Stephen King evolves as a writer and the series eventually grows into itself. But as a stand-alone novel, "The Gunslinger" just isn't that good.

Still, I found myself loving every second of it. The story will draw you in if you can get past King's amateur writing. I recommend this book to all fans of Stephen King and anyone who is interested in starting what is the most fun fantasy series I've ever read.