Reviewed by: April (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Tue, 14 Jun 2005 12:09:16)
Glad I finally picked it up!!
I have been holding "DTI: The Gunslinger" for a couple of years. I couldn't imagine getting into a book titled "The Gunslinger," but after reading it, I found myself wanting to read the rest of the series. As of now, I am working on Volume 6 and HOOKED!! I am so glad I took the first step and picked up this book!
Reviewed by: GSGil (email@example.com) (Fri, 12 Mar 2004 16:59:56)
King gets a good head start!
This book is what got me interested. Not hooked, but interested. It wasn't until the second novel my "must-have!" instincts set in. But even so, this book is an excellent start to the seires for King. The fight in Tull was intense and a rare find among books. The demons frightened and enthralled me. The man in black speaking to Roland at the end was amazing... it really makes you think, you know. Overall, the only flaw is it's holey-ness. Keep in mind that when King wrote this story he had no idea what eh was gonna add next. so watch otu for confusing plot holes!
Reviewed by: Nathan (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Tue, 20 Jan 2004 23:00:17)
It whets your appetite
I first read The Gunslinger back when I was in 8th grade (1990). There was just something about the book's title that mesmerized me. This book, to me, was not the best in the Dark Tower series, but it certainly took me in and made me want more. It made me want to know more about who Roland was, who the man in black was, and most of all what the Dark Tower was, and what was inside it. I have been journeying with Roland for 14 years now, and feel like an honorary member of his ka-tet. I look forward to reaching the Tower with him and would recommend this book to anyone who wants to begin their own quest for the Tower.
Reviewed by: Dan (email@example.com) (Tue, 02 Dec 2003 19:10:57)
It Drew Me In
I read this book 3 years ago, and since then I have been a Dark Tower Junkie. I quickly read books 2 thru 4 and awaited book 5 patiently for a year. Wolves of the Calla didn't disappoint.
Reviewed by: Patd (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Thu, 13 Nov 2003 12:17:01)
It was 1994, I was in sixth grade the one year of my schooling where I was homeschooled. English class consisted of 'read whatever you can get your hands on' or in the case of The Gunslinger it was whatever I could put in my ears. I had never, at that time been able to read a Stephen King novel all the way through. I came close with It and Cujo but something about King's narrative style just didn't work for me when reading it paper. So after listening to Needful Things read by the author, I orderd the first three 'Dark Tower' books from the library on tape. In 1994 the audio versoins were read by King rather than Frank Muller, who although he is my favorite audio book reader of all time, just isn't the same as King when it comes to The Dark Tower. For more on this see my forthcoming review of Wizard in Glass.
In those days the library would send you books in the mail but you had to go the local branch to pick up tapes. Which was great for me because I could take my walkman with me and listen to the book on way back home. Stephen King gave his introduction, a short piece found only on the tape, it dealt with the value of an author reading his own work. Then the master of sprawling tales launched me into the most incromprehensible first chapter of a book I had ever listened to. Even the 'sewer orgy' in It did not prepare me foor the fate of Sylvia Pitston and the town of Tull. I didn't like this first part of the book. Not at all. It didn't make any sense to me and I felt ashamed for listening to it. (please forgive me this and remember that I was only twelve) But I kept listening and thank god I did or I would have missed out on one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written. I was mesmerised by 'The Waystation' I was the same age as Jake and because no author writes better kids than Stephen King, Jake became my guide or 'dinh' through this throughly awsome book.
Such phrases as 'Go slow through the drawers, gunslinger, while you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul in this pocket.'
'Go then, there are other worlds than these.'
and 'Death, but not for you, gunslinger.'
Still ring loudly in my mind. I listened to the tape quite often and after my dad bought me copy of the book I read it least once a year, and I still do.
Reviewed by: Little Blaine (?) (Mon, 10 Nov 2003 17:19:57)
A Beginning of Mythical Proportions
I first read this book when I was 14 (this book was actually a birthday present). When I first skimmed through it, I knew it would be something special. From the illustrations, this looked like a grand, Indiana Jones-like adventure. When I finally read it, I discovered it wasn't exactly Indiana Jones...it was better. MUCH better.
By now, I've read this book several times, and each chapter is solidly engraved in my mind (and I never bore of any of them).
Dark, vividly bleak, mysteriously prophetic...this IS the beginning of Stephen King's greatest work ever.
Reviewed by: Adam (Aceofspades5903@cfl.rr.com) (Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:30:52)
I'm a big King fan and I'd heard all about this series so I decided to read the first book. It's like nothing I've ever read before. It started a little slow, but picked up quickly and I read it in at most two days. One of the best books I've ever read.
Reviewed by: Trevor (email@example.com) (Mon, 23 Jun 2003 12:07:57)
As Good As It Gets
Some people complain that King strayed away from himself with this book. The problem with that assessment is that this book was one of the first he ever wrote, and the only story that ever held his attention long enough to be worthy of continuation. King escapes his own reputation here, as a horror writer, but shows the beginings of the writer he will become over the next few years, with books like IT, Misery, The Talisman and of course, the rest of the Dark Tower Saga. As a story, The Gunslinger, especially after the recent revisions, is full and complete by itself, but also serves as a perfect opening chapter to one of the weirdest, most remarkable, and best written sagas since The Lord of The Rings. A beautiful fantasy, albeit in a distorted way, The Gunslinger is King at his best. While not the first King work I ever read (Night Shift holds that distinction) it was the most powerful, compelling, and inspirational. Highly recommended to someone wanting something new, whether from King or in general.
Reviewed by: B-real (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Wed, 11 Jun 2003 12:37:57)
Hooked 4 Life
I read, I loved, I can't stop! It wasn't long after reading The Gunslinger that I finished reading the following three books in the Dark Tower series, and I am anxiously awaiting the fifth book. There is a paradigm in modern literature where good is always pitted against evil and the predictable inevitably happens. King keeps you guessing which is which and who is who with the gunslinger vs. the man in black, and even Roland isn't sure at times. The duality of man is a presence that is prevalent in the this book as well as real life. Enough of this hero bullshit. Way to go King.
Reviewed by: Neo (email@example.com) (Mon, 12 May 2003 18:04:50)
Beautiful, thought provoking, confusing.
I had trouble following story line in the begging of the book. I actually had to read it twice just to understand it completly. The latter of the story line was fantastic. Actually if not for the latter chapters I feel the book as a whole was only as important to the tale of Roland as The Little Sisters of Eluria. It was just another tale of his life. I do feel Stephen revealed a little to much in the history of Roland in this book. This was probably becasue of the time period in his life that he wrote this book. It's slighty more thought provoking than two and three but doesn't quite leave you with the same furfillment. A brain full of questions and thoughts about your existance, but not quite chronilogical enough.
Reviewed by: Stevie Ray (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Thu, 10 Apr 2003 10:38:58)
Whats wrong with you people?
Frankly I read thru the other reviews and you people are IDIOTS!! Anyone who gave this book less the 5 should be ASHAMED of themselves. The Gunslinger is the most amazing book to ever grace gods green earth. From the opening line "the man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger folowed" I was HOOKED I didn't put it down till I was done. And since then I've read it too many times to count. How can you say that the beginning is slow? Did you not read the part about Tull?? For god sakes man, he killed a TOWN of people!! Thats so nuts!!! Enuf of my ranting. The Gunslinger = best book ever written in all of history!
Reviewed by: Chris (email@example.com) (Fri, 10 Jan 2003 15:22:50)
ALL HAIL THE KING
This may be one of the greatest set up books ever written, I finished this book in 1983 and spent every year waiting for the next instalement. Matt, another reviewer, mentioned "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed" was one of the most powerful openings to any book. YOU SAID IT MY FRIEND!!
Reviewed by: Josh (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Mon, 16 Dec 2002 07:26:54)
Slow Start=Strong Finish
Even though you find yourself wondering-Is this Stephen King writing this book? You won't be asking yourself in the end. I found it a slow start but the last chapter was by far, in my opinion, the best of the book.
Reviewed by: Skyler (email@example.com) (Sat, 07 Dec 2002 10:57:09)
A never ending quest
This is a book like none other I have ever read by Stephen King. The Shining thrilled me, Misery scared me, but this made me want more. It was also the first Stephen king book I read.
Reviewed by: Bob (Dj_pek@yahoo.com) (Fri, 29 Nov 2002 22:13:21)
This series is great to slip away from worries and troubles of reality. It puts you in a wonderful state where you don't know if you're in your room, the desert, Tull or the mountains. You're not quite sure whether your name is Roland or somthing eles... all you know is that you must get to the Dark Tower.
Reviewed by: Matt (Saintgoose@hotmail.com) (Wed, 6 Nov 2002 07:54:38)
"The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed."
I do believe that this is one of the best opening sentences i have ever read. It contains a power that is only fully understood when you read the other books and realize the scope of the story, but a hint of that power lies in the words themselves.
When I first read The Gunslinger, I admit that I was tripping on a hit or two of acid, and perhaps that skewed my perceptions, but the dream-like quality of the imagery found in this book is like nothing else I have every seen. The subject matter and the setting actually lend themsleves well to the psychedellic experience, and later when you find Roland using mescaline, this too seems appropriate.
In essence this story (and the larger story that it is a part of) is a tragedy, and that sense of impending doom hangs over everything, from the bleached sterility of the desert to the knowing gaze of Jake, the sacrificial son.
In short this book is a masterpiece, and I hope that in time it will be this book (and the ones that follow) that Stephen King will be remembered for, and that he might be recognized for the genius that he is.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Hudson (?) (Sat, 24 Aug 2002 21:29:30)
This novel and all of the other Dark Tower novels are without a dought the best books ever written. This novel is great because it is one of those very rare books that make you think and ask for more. My favorite part of the book is the end when Roland is sitting on the edge of Western Sea and looking into the fading light. That vision of Roland sitting there watching the sun fade and thinking of the Dark Tower has always made me shiver with excitment. This man is embarked upon a noble journey and I have always wanted to be part of that journey. This is a great book and a great introduction to the Dark Tower.
Reviewed by: Jure Matoh (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Sat, 8 Jun 2002 08:41:04)
Not the best DT story...
I think King didn't intend to let this story outgrow its size to what it is today when he first wrote it. I think he intended to leave it as a short novel (or novella). In spite of its shortness, it goes on and on and on... And then, sort of in the third quarter of the book, things start to move and happen. Good ending, though.
Reviewed by: Daniel Kloch (email@example.com) (Thu, 6 Jun 2002 19:32:45)
One of the best books ever written
I am a huge SK fan and Dark Tower fanatic. Recently, I've been trying to get my friends and family into the Dark Tower, but after getting a few of them to read the first book, they all put it down in frustration, saying they had (and I quote) "no idea what the hell was going on!"
I can't seem to understand this. I do understand that The Gunslinger is a little bit vague in many details, but that's the beauty part of it. The mystery. I think what makes The Gunslinger such an expressive and engrossing first stanza in the great saga is its mystery. You don't really know what you're dealing with...yet. It's true that when you first get through it, you don't know a whole lot about the gunslinger, his past, his true motivations, and the world around him, but that's the beauty part. The series leaves you with the motivation to make you read on and find out what all of it means.
I think this also goes to prove another point: American culture can't seem to get into a story--be it movie, book, or otherwise--unless they get every single detail spoon-fed to them or they won't be satisified or just plain confused. Have people really become that thick?
Reviewed by: dr sayos (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Sun, 10 Mar 2002 00:33:46)
The great gunslinger
I just finished reading it and im going out to order the next one tomorrow. WOW!!! I now want to read all of them because of that one book. Roland is the perfect character. He doesn't fall in love or anything like most of the good guys do. He does what ever it takes to get the job done and he is sure of his quest. He is the perfect hero. Yours gratefully, Dr Sayos.
Reviewed by: Adam (email@example.com) (Sun, 17 Jun 2001 10:48:07)
Despite slow start, King finishes strong
I think The Gunslinger was a great book and was definitely worth reading. Despite the slow start the book had for the first fifty pages or so, after that the book was great and caught my attention fully. And Roland is perhaps the best, most well-designed character King has ever created. Even though the book could have been longer (and perhaps that's just my selfishness because I love this series so much :) ), the book was great for what it was and did a very good job of convincing me to reading the following books in the series.
Reviewed by: Frederic Flament (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Who's that man?
Who's that man able to kill everyone around him in nearly a flash of light? King gives us part of a riddle about Roland the gunslinger. Where is he coming from? What is that waste world he is living in? So much questions and so little answers in that great book. I have been hooked to it nearly night and day until I had read the last word. As with many other King's book I couldn't wait to have it all.
Reviewed by: Robert Kabel (email@example.com)
Personally, I think this book is a great introdution to the series. The book does a great job of making you care about Roland and Jake. King draws you into the world and then refuses to let you go until the book is finished. However, you can't stop thinking about the quest. Basically, for me it boils down to the fact that this is the book that made me want to read the rest of the series.
Reviewed by: Derek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
King moved a little too fast with this first novel in the series. It was "good," don't get me wrong, but I feel that King wasn't really there in the head when he wrote this one. I'm the first to say that a novel of this sort shouldn't be a thousand pages, which I criticized King for with novels like The Stand. But I also think a novel should be that long if and only if it gives the detail needed to move along the story. The Gunslinger gives me the idea that King had some other novel he was working on and couldn't concentrate on this one. But nonetheless Roland himself single-handedly carried a novel that would've been dead without him. This is a "good" novel, but not one of King's best efforts.
Reviewed by: Chris (DnghyLvwr@aol.com)
Even though this is the first book of the DT series that King wrote in 1970, I feel it could've been expanded by almost twice its length. We get only fragmentary answers because at the time, King probably only had vague notions of what he wanted to do with the series. I personally believe The Gunslinger was written under the influence of psychedelic drugs -- it has that feel. Either way, the next volumes really bring the story into focus.
Reviewed by: Jeremy Sather (email@example.com)
Archetypes and Roland
Well, first off, this is one of the best books ever written. It is so dry and gritty, just like a dark western should be. And damn, if Stephen King did not pick a character that hit home for me. Roland is very close to me, and I want to see him reach the tower. He and his friends are archtypes commonly seen within any group of friends, but Roland is a tad different. More of the dark hero, willing to sacrifice all he loves and has to reach his goal. Not the typical hero I should say. He is directly responsible for the deaths of his closest friends Cuthbert, Alain, Jamie and more I'm sure. If that doesn't tell you how dedicated he is, well... Kings description and style of this book has captured my heart and I feel like I know this character and the others. The other books, except for 4 seem to get a little wierd and in my mind falter in the general sense, but whenever I read about Roland, I just can't stop...In other words, thank you Stephen King for this book, and please god, just finish them.
Reviewed by: Jessica (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you like good cliffhangers?
This book was able to keep me on the edge of my seat. Stephen King was able to pull you into the Gunslingers life and not let you go. I found that I wanted to know more at the end of the book. This stoic and dark figure becomes the hero of the book in a twisted way. The writing is not typical Stephen King. The environment is described well and gives beautiful images. But it is not too wordy. This is a must read if you like series tales.
Reviewed by: Ed (TURTLE8432@aol.com)
Worth getting through
It's a shame that this isn't the best of the Dark Tower series, because the rest of it is just great! I actually read this book twice, and the first time I only got through Parts I-II before I gave up -- it was too confusing and weird for me. But then I decided to give it a second chance, and I actually got to enjoy it, and by the ending I was really into it. But I can easily see how people can be turned off by this weird book, but I'm telling you if you like Stephen King or you like fantasy/adventure, it's worth getting through: the next 3 books are TRULY AMAZING!!!!! I couldn't believe it when I read The Drawing of the Three, it was the best book!! Then The Waste Lands was even better, and Wizard and Glass is one of the best books I've ever read, I didn't want it to end it was so good. Anyway, even if you absolutely hated this book and couldn't bear finishing it, give at least the next book a try, because it is completely different and far FAR FAR better.