Book Review: The Gunslinger

Have you ever read a book that you knew was good and yet you had no idea what it was about? That’s kind of what reading the The Gunslinger (Book 1 of the Dark Tower series) was like for me.

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I don’t like it when my authors “abandon” their genres. It’s the reason I won’t read anything by J.K. Rowling that doesn’t have to do with magic. I’m weird like that. So, when I saw that horror-writing legend Stephen King was writing fantasy, I figured this book was not for me. I’m surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The book follows the mysterious  Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, and his pursuit of the even more mysterious man in black. The man in black has answers about the (I’m gonna use this word again) mysterious Dark Tower that holds…something. I think the Dark Tower links the worlds together, but that’s just my theory at this point. I’m not sure what Roland is looking for exactly, answers, power, love, revenge?

Anyway, he chases the man in black through a world that’s kind of like the Wild West. There are a lot of real-world religious references, specifically Christianity.  He even meets a young boy who died in a world that’s pretty much exactly like ours (he watched TV and got hit by a car), Except at the same time, there’s magic, specifically when it comes to the man in black. And there are these weird mutant things that are kind of like aliens. There’s a lot going on.

Roland is a classic cowboy character. He’s gruff, determined, and death follows him everywhere, but he had a soft spot for certain characters that he meets. He also has a sort of knightly air around him, mainly because his home world Gilead is pretty medieval, except they use guns instead of swords.

Basically, this book combines a bunch of different genres, which makes it like no other book I’ve ever read. It’s not a very long book, so I finished it in less than two days. It’s really intriguing, but as I said before, it’s also really confusing.

I think the mark of a good writer is that you can write a book where you don’t explain everything and still keep people interested. I think the Dark Tower series is going to be one of those where the more books you read, the more things start making sense.

Roland is a compelling enough character, and the (sorry to use this word again) mystery surrounding the Dark Tower is enough to keep me reading.

Also, if you want to explain the book to me…I’d appreciate it…


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