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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

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“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

— Stephen King, The Gunslinger

    This is my first experience of Stephen King’s work. I am myself surprised that it isn’t one of his pure horror stories, but I also had a feeling I was going to end up exploring the Dark Tower universe before anything else. With an adaptation in the work, starring both Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba—two formidable actors, might I add—I vowed I’d get my hands on this series before indulging the movie. The first book in this series, The Gunslinger, introduces us to two mysterious figures. While their motives and their personalities remain ambiguous right from the beginning, you quickly get a grasp of who you’re dealing with as you tag along in their cruel and enchanted adventure. One thing ultimately drives this story forward and it all lies in the gunslinger pursuing the man in black through a desolate universe. Poetic and enigmatic, the first book in the Dark Tower series is a character-driven story that lays out a world that has yet to be fully understood.

    Talk about a book that fills your mind with more questions than answers. In all honesty, I started this book with a lot of expectations. Not for the first installment alone, but for the series as a whole. Having completed this, I felt hooked to a strong desire to find answers, similar to what the gunslinger Roland Deschain seeks from the Man in Black. What on earth is going on? Where the hell are they? Who is the Gunslinger and the Man in Black? It’s truly astonishing how every bit of information thrown at me was quickly snatched and gulped. The atmosphere was completely intangible, blurry and abysmal. Knowing that Roland Deschain has been following the shadows of a man in black for countless days gives you the impression that the history between the two characters must have been truly abhorrent. However, the most frightening part of it all is that catching up to the man in black is only the beginning of something much more grand.

    I was truly intrigued by the idea of a whole world within a world and how stories were told within the story itself. The universe in which the narrative takes place is fascinating, timeless (literally; you can feel the world stagnant in space and time) and purely mysterious. Something about facing the man in black to get the answers to all the questions that have been accumulated  and finding the mystical nexus of all worlds gave this first book a truly mouthwatering flavor. What I truly loved about the first book is the tone of a prophecy slowly unfolding that enveloped the whole narrative. It felt like every single character that crossed paths with the gunslinger had a role to play and a message to give. Jake, a little kid who finds himself in the same world as Roland, yet came from a place much more similar to our present days, is the perfect example. While our protagonist knew what Jake represented, his connection to the kid was inevitable. There are also some fantasy elements sprinkled around this essentially western-themed book. While these parts contributed to the lore and the world-building, their presence also reminded us that the reality in which they live is a world that has “moved on” and added a layer of complexity to the whole universe.

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    The Gunslinger should definitely not be the last stop for anyone’s expedition into the Dark Tower series. The first book (even if I got my hands on a revised edition that adds in some extra elements to make the story more fluid for newcomers) is definitely a prologue to something much bigger. While this is Stephen King’s epic fantasy saga, the little bits of horror that were present in the story were truly fantastic. The universe is spell-binding, completely mesmerizing. It shows that you don’t need to feed a reader a mountain of information for them to fall in love with the landscape. All you need to do is tickle the curiosity within all of us. The Gunslinger is Roland Deschain’s quest to uncovering the fine and fragile fabrics of his reality. I definitely can’t wait to see what The Drawing of the Three has in store for me. One thing is for sure. My first experience of Stephen King’s work has been an excellent one.


Thank you Trang for this awesome Christmas gift! 🙂

There are currently plans to adapt this series into a movie (and potentially a tie-in TV series) starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba. Two bad-asses in one movie. Holy sh*t! Who’s pumped for this? I just can’t wait!

Are you interested in The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)?
You are, you say?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below and follow us so you don’t miss anymore of our reviews!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆/

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.24.49 PM

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39 thoughts on “The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      If I stand correct, it’s actually the only series considered “fantasy” by Stephen King. It definitely makes me an odd one for having acquainted myself with his work by going for the one series that isn’t purely horror! Hahahah I hope you’ll enjoy this whenever you get the chance to read it! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  1. JJAzar says:

    I’ve heard a whole lot about this series, though I have yet to pick it up. It certainly sounds interesting though: Western with elements of horror, fantasy, surrealism, etc.? Sounds cool to me.

    Liked by 3 people

      • JJAzar says:

        I have “On Writing” ready to go, though I plan on hitting it at the completion of Draft #1 of my novel. I read “Insomnia” a while ago for a school report, though I haven’t read much else from him, oddly enough. I know King is highly regarded, and the man clearly knows a thing or two about storytelling and selling books, so I’ll be reading some of his stuff as time goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

          Ohh I’ve heard about Insomnia. Pretty cool that it was part of a school report. Sometimes I get pretty jelly about all those books y’all read for school. My required readings throughout my French education were… meh (for those English courses I had, I mean). I’ve never heard of On Writing though. But man, I’m not surprised by your interest in it hahahah Hope you enjoy it once you get to it. 🙂

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

          • JJAzar says:

            It was a report where I got to choose a book! We should read more contemporary stuff in school for sure! A random choice but it was an interesting read from what I remember.

            On Writing’s been professed as a Bible for writers. Is it THAT good? According to everyone, yes, yes it is. So I’m obligated to read it, and like I said, King has insight I don’t, so why not?

            Liked by 1 person

  2. rainandcheese says:

    I looooved The Dark Tower series. I zipped through the series a few years ago and was enchanted by it. Each book is so different from the other and it’s probably one of the strangest read I have experienced for a very long time. The Gunslinger took me awhile to finish. In the end, I loved it so much I had to read it all over again.

    Glad you loved the first book as well. The sequels are even crazier

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Now that gives me hope of a great reading adventure! I’m definitely curious now to see how much crazier it can get and where exactly everything will go. I mean, after The Gunslinger, I feel like I know A LOT more about the world, but at the same time, I feel like I know absolutely NOTHING about it. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the series though. Really looking forward to the rest! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bookstooge says:

    I like most King books. I couldn’t stand this one though, so I never finished this series. And after reading Bookwraith’s review of the final book, I’m glad I passed. Hope you have a better experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Bahahahah what a coincidence! I can definitely understand that the whole western vibe could hold you away from the series. I can’t say if the western-themed environment will often surface, but I don’t think you should the whole series as purely “western”. Besides the gunslinger who obviously emanates the vibe because… he’s a gunslinger, I think you could definitely find interest in the series without huge worries! 😀 I hope so though hahah! Having the movie come out soon is definitely a great incentive to starting the series too. 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Ahhh.. I started this so long ago and then moved during the middle of the read and did not pick it back up 😦 I fail. Especially since I love King. He occupies more space on my shelves than anyone. I cannot believe this was your first read by him… eeek! Shame on you 😉

    Thank you for this review. You have reminded me to pick this back up. You have a way of doing such justice to the titles you discuss. I love your process of really breaking it down. Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Oh noooo! Is there something that stopped you from pursuing the series or were there just other books who made you forget to continue? Heeeeyy, I initially thought Stephen King was an overrated author throughout my childhood because he seemed to poop out books every 2 weeks. It’s only about 2 years ago when I rekindled my lost love for literature that I realized how important his books were (and that A LOT of his books became movies that left their mark in the cinematographic landscape!). The Dark Tower series is the first series I wanted to read from him because it was going to be adapted into a movie with two great actors and the series had great praise surrounding it!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate comments on my review. It definitely boosts my ego (in a good way!) and makes me want to continue to share my thoughts in this manner! 😛 I’m glad to hear that I’ve reminded you about a series that you have yet to complete! 😉

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

        It was actually just all timing. I made a mive across country. So by the time I was finally settled with the kids and all, I felt I needed to start from the beginning (too much time passed). And I just haven’t. Definitemy not for lack of want. I have been sneaking and reading King since before I was a teenager. I used to check his books out at the library and hide them under my bed haha 😉 A devoted fan.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Yay! Hopefully you’ll find this interesting enough to complete the series! I too have plenty of books that have been gathering dust for way too long now. Buying new books and reading those before the ones on my bookshelf isn’t helping either… 😛

      – Lashaan

      Like

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      I’ve already went out to get my hands on the next three books. I’m honestly sold by the universe he created. The upcoming movie is probably another BIG incentive for me. I’m really looking forward to see where the story will go and how much better it can get. Thank you so much for checking out my review. Truly appreciated. 🙂

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

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