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The Gunslinger (1982)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Tower (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,277403169 (3.82)1 / 372
The first book of Stephen King's series introduces the haunting figure, Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger.
  1. 71
    The Dark Tower, Books 1-3: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, and The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Valjeanne)
    Valjeanne: While The Gunslinger Book 1 is not one of my favorite books by Stephen King, one should read it to provide the backdrop to the sequels. The Drawing of the Three (especially) and The Waste Lands are much more engaging and two of King's most brilliant novels.… (more)
  2. 41
    Insomnia by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Insomnia introduces the Crimson King, the big baddie from The Dark Tower series.
  3. 20
    Wizard And Glass by Stephen King (Morteana)
  4. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by Samara Abigail Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  5. 10
    The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith (fulner)
    fulner: The gun slignger starts an adventure where or protagonist must find where he is. The probability broach is based on a 20th century PI who accidentally stumbles into another demention after trying to find a usually murder with unusual weaponry.
  6. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  7. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
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English (383)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (402)
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
Well. The first book in "The Dark Tower" series. Are there some issues in this book? Yes. The pacing gets a bit draggy towards the end. But the world building is really good as well as the plot in this first book. It's enough to make you want to run out and read "The Drawing of the Three" or maybe that's just me.

"The Gunslinger" starts with someone just referred to as the Gunslinger following the man in Black. You don't know what's going on between them, but you realize that the Gunslinger has no intention of stopping until he catches up with the man in Black and they will finally have a confrontation that has been a long time coming.

I think King is smart to show that you may not like the Gunslinger. He shows you early that catching the man in Black is all he is focused on. Stopping in a town that appears to be on it's last legs, he sleeps with a woman he doesn't care about one way or the other. While there he runs into someone from his past and you realize it's probably best when the Gunslinger is indifferent, because when he's angry, that's a sight to see. But we also get to see his brutality while he is there, and you start to wonder should you even be rooting for this man.

Besides the Gunslinger (Roland) we also have Roland coming across a Boy (Jake) that has somehow come from another world and dropped into Roland's. Roland and Jake fit together for some reason and Roland has affection for the boy, but still has no intention of not doing or using anyone to get to his goal. You start to worry for Jake and there's a pivotal scene between the two that may have you hate Roland. Or maybe that was just me.

The writing I thought was good. It may be hard to understand some dialogue since King has the character's using High Speech at times that reads as broken English (see thankee sai). The flow as I said was good until we got to the end. Then we got a big dump of information on Roland that didn't really fit the book. It helps set the stage for "The Drawing of the Three" though so I can see why King did it that way.

The setting of Roland's world is similar to our world in parts, but different enough. He is a descendent of Arthur Eld (similar to our world's King Arthur). The gunslingers are similar to knights, and our Roland is off on a quest. Instead of the Holy Grail though all he wants is The Tower. I loved that the world building wasn't so explicit .You are given hints and guesses about what has occurred, but thankfully no information dumps by random people (one of my pet peeves).

The ending leaves enough for you to want to continue the series. I plan on rereading this series throughout the year in memory of my dad. He was a huge King fan, and because of him I am too. The Gunslinger was the first book of King's I read and loved. Thankee sai. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Better than I thought it would be! Looking forward to book 2. ( )
  ReneeNL | Jun 29, 2020 |
I don't remember a lot about this one, beyond the fact that I definitely read it as a teenager.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
There are some brutal moments in this novel. King creates a world that is both familiar and utterly dreamlike. The mini stories within the quest expose their roots as standalone short stories and perhaps this is what makes the central character's behaviour inconsistent. ( )
  Georgina_Watson | Jun 14, 2020 |
There's something about reading King that is like chain smoking generic cigarettes while drinking warm beer. It's been a long time since I read one of his books, and I guess I've read a lot of great stuff since then, because reading this somehow made me feel like rather than being inspired, I regressed.

That's about his style, though. He's got a skill for stories, for chains of events that you truely can't guess where they will lead, and for bringing the metaphysical in to scare you in a way that you can't quite put your finger on. I feel like a sucker, but I want to read the next book in this series even though I won't much like the writing.

I'm giving this a low rating, but I wouldn't say it sucks. The Road, now that sucks, and I would whole heartedly recommend that anyone planning on Reading the road pick this up instead. King's post-appocolyptic desolation is much more emotional.

BTW, this book is light on descriptions of characters (outside the main one), but you'll be sure to get a description of every female character's boobs, even the 14 year olds. ( )
  mitchtroutman | Jun 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a leaf, a stone, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb, we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?

...O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
--Thomas Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel
Dedication
To Ed Ferman, who took a chance on these stories, one by one.
First words
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
Quotations
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel follows Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.
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Average: (3.82)
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