Book 52 – The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

Book – The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
Author – Stephen King
Year – 1982
Genre – Western/Fantasy

Stephen King reportedly regards his The Dark Tower series as his magnum opus.  It is a series that he is still writing twenty-eight years after the publication of the first volume.  King is an amazing writer, and as such if he considers a book to be his best, then it must be truly amazing.

I have read a couple of King books, and was thus excited to read this – lauded as his great fantasy work.  I was therefore pretty surprised to find that for all intents and purposes, it is a Western.  The lead character – the eponymous Gunslinger who is only given his real name about three quarters of the way through the book – is a dyed in the wool cowboy, and he trudges across a desert stopping at little towns where they have a honky tonk piano on tap, and everyone stares as he enters.  Not quite the fantasy I was expecting, but I perservered.

So being a Western, you would assume that it is set in America, probably around the 1800s.  Yet a few pages in, several people are singing Hey Jude.  It is all most perculiar.

All this seems a lot of preamble for a review here, but the problem is that the book becomes a little confusing because of the complete lack of being told anything.  Common enough for a fantasy book – nothing is clear till the end – but come the end of the book, I am still a little in the dark about lots of things.  There is an amount of tidying up, but I was still a tad perplexed.  The whole book reads a very long introduction to a story.

And therefore I suppose that makes it fine.  At around 250 pages, it is not a tiny book, but compared to the 800 page beast that is the fifth book that I managed to pick up, it covers a very small part of the overall story.  So I think I will carry on reading.  I do want to know what happens, and I believe that the whole thing becomes more cohesive as time goes on.  However, as a book, I can only judge it as mediocre.


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