Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Gunslinger Review

The Gunslinger is the first book in "The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King. "The Dark Tower" is King's magnum opus that has been written over the course of the last 25 years. He was inspired by Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came." The series ties most of King's works into a single universe. This book takes us into the realm of horror, as well as fantasy, westerns, and epic journeys.

When we meet are protagonist, he is "a man without a name", simply "The Gunslinger". The Gunslingers are a mixture of nobles and law enforcement. The titles are inherited, but must be earned through a trial of battle. We later learn his name is Roland. He is pursuing the man in black. The man in black has wronged him, and many others. Later we meet a young boy named Jake, he is crucial to the story as well.

King makes frequent use of flashbacks to develop the back story of Roland and Jake. King paces the story well, and is often vividly descriptive. King's words pull the reader into the events in many places, the paintings included in the first edition are also quite beautiful. This book is the back story, set up, for the rest of the series, but it is done in a way that doesn't make it feel like its exposition only. King even gives the reader a classic cliff hanger ending.