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14 May 2014

The Gunslinger / Dark Tower Book 1
Stephen King
Publication Date
10 June 1982
Fantasy, Western


Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy -- what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus -- has spanned a quarter of a century.Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King's most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.
Book I
In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.

My review
There are two kind of Stephen King fans - the ones who love the Dark Tower Series and the ones who….just can't get on with it. I admit that I belong to the latter. 
Book 1 introduces us to Roland, the Last Gunslinger (think John Wayne-type Western). He travels to the vastness of an empty world which is not unlike ours, but in an alternate  / parallel universe. Roland is on a mission to find the man in black and the Dark Tower. Unfortunately, I never managed to get into the book. I didn't understand Roland's quest and even though the book is not very long, it seems to me not a lot was happening. 
There are parts in the book which I loved, most notably when he meets a boy called Jake who was killed in our world whilst going to school and ends up in this alternative world with the Roland the Gunslinger. This is when I felt 'my usual SK' was coming through and I was glad I stuck with the book, but it didn't hold for me. Maybe because the Western genre is not really for me? 
I read this book a while ago now, and I know that there are many King fans who are devoted to the Dark Tower series. Maybe I should give it another go.