The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  209,877 ratings  ·  6,575 reviews

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 Dar

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Paperback, 231 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Plume (first published 1982)
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Stephen
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INTRODUCTION :
A few things you should know before deciding how helpful this review will be for you.
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*** I think the Dark Tower series as a whole is a staggering achievement and belongs in any discussion without qualification of the “Greatest Fantasy Series of All Time.”

*** There are no spoilers in this review but I have read the series twice all the way through and am doing a third reading as part of a group read this month. Therefore, my review is colored by my knowledge of how...more
Dan Schwent
The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.

Roland Deschain, the last of the Gunslingers, is on a quest for the Dark Tower, a mysterious edifice that is the axle of worlds and holds all existence together. In this, the first volume, Roland pursues his nemesis across the Mohaine Desert. He follows the man in black's trail to a little town called Tull, then through more desert, encountering a boy named Jake from our world, and then into the mountains. Will Roland finally c...more
Taylor K.
Jul 22, 2014 Taylor K. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure seekers, people who like stories centered around a hero
Recommended to Taylor K. by: Tim
Dear Stephen King,

I'd like to apologize for the times that I've made fun of you in any way, shape or form, including the kid in my English 2 class sophomore year who would not stop raving about you as if you were the only person to ever write a book.

It's not that I think that kid was justified for only ever reading your books and no-one else's, and it's not that I thought you were a horrible writer and now I think you're amazing.

But, this was really quite a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure what...more
Kemper
The Dark Tower series was one of the great joys of my reading life. However, it also frustrated me to the point where I often wanted to bludgeon Stephen King with a hardback copy of It.

I was baffled by The Gunslinger when I first read it way back in my high school days. It had been an unobtainable limited edition that had popped up in the title card of King’s other books, and when it finally went into wide release I couldn’t wait to snatch it up. But then I couldn’t make sense of it. There was a...more
mark monday
Jun 13, 2014 mark monday rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to mark by: Dan, Kemper, Stephen
A Gunslinger, a Man in Black, a Child Out of Time & Space, the Beginning of a Cryptic Saga...

A Second Read. the first time: unimpressed, bored, agitated, gave up. the second time: so much better, a lot to consider, an enjoyable experience...

A Strangely Sparse Narrative, perhaps too much mystery, perhaps too much of a tease and not enough action, perhaps too much to think about, a frustrating lack of detail...

A Tarot Card: THE HANGED MAN...
Sacrifice... Renunciation... Contemplation... Waiting...more
Jason Koivu
Gloriously moody and atmospheric!

The Gunslinger is high plains, lonely traveler, John Wayne-in-a-post apocalyptic dystopia goodness.

With a survivalist main character and a dependent boy at his side, fighting mutants and what were human beings against all that wealth of stark nothingness for scenery, it felt very akin to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I'd read somewhat recently and loved. Mysticism and Biblical references abound and at points threaten to muddy the narrative waters, but never...more
Mike (the Paladin)
King is a gifted writer and has constructed a sort of intertwined "multiverse" (thank you Albert Einstein and Michael Moorcock)for his novels. It is compelling, detailed, gritty, and flawed. I have observed before that I can't really call myself a King fan. He seems unable to conceive of what I might call "actual good" or "altruistic good". His protagonists are usually terribly (even fatally) flawed in some critical way. In this I don't mean the in the "I'm human with feet of clay" type of flaw...more
Lou
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The Gunslinger
"The Interloper, The Lord of Flies, The Man in Black cometh!"
Stephen King our modern day Charles Dickens takes you on beginning of an epic journey with Roland 'The Gunslinger' in this poignant tale. The story takes us through the past and future and the coming of age of a man and a boy in search of The Tower.
'The more you eat the more you toot!' or should I say the more you re-read it the more you will appreciate it, that's what I felt second time round reading the novel and als...more
Wendell Adams
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The Gunslinger is one of those books that evokes strong reactions in readers. You could simply say that people either love it or hate it but that is really too simplistic. Rather Stephen King evokes such a myriad range of different emotions with this science fiction/fantasy western that it is perfectly normal for an individual to feel both awed by its brilliance yet completely unhappy with its conclusion. I realize that is strange to say, but it is abso...more
David Sven
What do you get when you mix the epicness of Tolkien, exalt in the cool of “The Good The Bad and The Ugly,” are partial to Arthurian legend, and possibly (some have suggested) have overindulged in too much weed? You get “The Gunslinger” the first book in Stephen King’s Magnum Opus “The Dark Tower Series.”

This will be the third time I’ve read “The Gunslinger,” and each time I read it the more I appreciate it. Not for its plot structure, which is often times as broken as Roland – but more for its...more
Jonathan
It was okay with flashes of some fantasy brilliance underneath. I have been informed by a friend I trust that this is one of the weakest books so I will push on and read others in the series. I just wasn't overly impressed by this as a novel.

The juxtaposition of the book was not great as an entry into a series. It jumped all over the place chronologically and didn't provide an easy smooth ride. I like to think of writers as pilots (well I just made that metaphor up then but I shall think of...more
Zan G
I have heard a lot of hype about this book and a lot of my friends are really into it. I saw the paperback cheap at a used book store and decided to pick up the first two in the series. I am probably never going to touch the second book.

I have never been a fan of Stephen King, I don't really like horror books and I really don't understand how many times you can read about a car killing people before you get bored of the man. The reason I read this is because the Marvel comic version of this is r...more
Amanda
Recently, my comrades in literature featured a Dark Tower conversation on (prepare for shameless plug) Shelf Inflicted. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because I had not yet read the series. It felt a little like being the uncool kid who gets picked last for kickball. I decided it was time to remedy this. I was going to prove I could kick that damn ball.

Now I have made vague promises for years to them and to others that, yes, I would read the book and I was sure that I would love it....more
Brian
I feel very, very guilty about my 25+ years of smug dismissal of Stephen King. It took GR friends with impeccable taste in lit to show me the errors of my ways. Mr. King, I apologize. You really know how to write a brilliant page-turning story.

I read this book aloud to the misses and it was only the second book I've read to her that she simply wouldn't let me stop (the other: Hyperion). The rich, relatable and broken characters; the unfolding world that seems recognizable, but isn't; poignant wr...more
Jacob J.
I read the first half of this when I was in seventh grade. I bought over a dozen Stephen King books at a garage sale and laid out a plan to complete the entire Stephen King catalogue. This was even more foolish than my more recent attempt to read the entirety of In Search of Lost Time in one year. Not, of course, that it can’t be done, only that I have proven myself—over and over again—incapable of following through with my grandiose plans, however comparatively-to-others’ modest they may be. I...more
Kathryn
The Gunslinger is unlike anything I have ever read. Upon reading The Gunslinger, I really did not know what The Dark Tower series was about, and the first installment to The Dark Tower series really gives you an idea of who the Gunslinger is, how he sets out on this journey, and finally, what his mission is.

I really enjoyed several parts in this book. I've seen a lot of negative criticism about The Gunslinger, and quite honestly, I'm the type to give a book a chance and not let anyone else's fe...more
Chris
This book is something of an oddity. That being, the first time I read it, I would probably have given it 3-stars, and felt quite generous doing so. It was really "meh" and though I was a King fan, I wasn't pleased with it after the hype. I even delayed reading Book 2 for awhile because I was somewhat turned off. I didn't hate it, but it left me ambivalent for the most part.

But this is definitely a book that gets better with time, with re-readings, and with the rest of the series. The second tim...more
Darcy
Jan 25, 2012 Darcy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
Let me say something first. There's really no point in reading any Stephen King story if you don't read "The Dark Tower" series first. I'm very serious about this. Every short story, every sentence in one of his huge novels will resonate so much more if you read these novels outright. Because King is a geek of the best kind - he writes for his fans, who are as obsessed, if not more, with the world of the Dark Tower. And so every story has a shout-out - whether it be momentary, or whether it prac...more
Nichole (Dirty H)
Well... the jury's still out on this one. But my overall impression was "Uh...."
I decided to read this book because one of the executive producers of Lost (which I love) loved this series. And I tend to like the fantasy quest type thing... so I had high expectations for Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
But this book was... weird. And icky. There was a lot of sex in this book that I found completely unnecessary, unenjoyable and kind of gross. And the protagonist is not particularly sympathetic......more
Jonathan Cullen
My impression of Stephen King's magnum opus, The Gunslinger, went through the entire gamut of human emotions. My initial feelings were as follows: confusion, utter and total confusion. Yet it had a cool vibe, so I felt compelled to continue. Then sprinkle on some happiness, sorrow, further confusion, boredom, and indifference. Blend thoroughly with awe, surprise, additional confusion, inspiration, confusion, massive excitement and hope. Finish with confusion.

It was a short read and my friends ha...more
Shovelmonkey1
Apr 27, 2013 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: King fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: Dan Schwent
I approached this series with some trepidation because it's a bit of a commitment and I have long standing issues with commitment. I've gone some way to curing that by managing a semblance of dedication when it comes to GRRM's A Song of Fire and Ice series (or GoT if you will) although that said, the last two books in the series are currently languishing unread at the side of my bed.

There are quite a lot of books in the series - I believe the count now stands at six - and also there are many peo...more
Primrose
Jan 02, 2014 Primrose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: stephen-king, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sesana
I know that it's taken me a long time to get around to this book. I can explain. Back when Wizard and Glass came out, I was on a major King spree. I read nothing but King for over three months, nearly everything he'd written to that point. I overdosed. And I excused passing over this series because it wasn't finished yet. Maybe King would get hit by a van and wouldn't be able to finish it. Since then, King has both been hit by a van and finished the series, so I have no excuse. And after reading...more
Lou
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An awesome fan based movie trailer @ my webpage along with the review>>>http://more2read.com/review/the-gunslinger-the-dark-tower-1-by-stephen-king/

The Gunslinger
"The Interloper, The Lord of Flies, The Man in Black cometh!"

Stephen King our modern day Charles Dickens takes you on beginning of an epic journey with Roland 'The Gunslinger' in this poignant tale. The story takes us through the past and future and the coming of age of a man and a boy in search of The Tower.
'The more you eat...more
Christina White
The imagery in this novel is awesome. The bulk of the story is in a western style post apocalyptic desert. There's saloons, gun fights and creepy abandoned towns. The Gunslinger also had flashbacks that took us to some kind of medieval-style fantasy world and we even meet a character that took us back to current time New York. I couldn't figure out how they all fit together though. I spent most of this story trying to piece together details to help me figure out the plot. Roland, The Gunslinger,...more
Jess Michaelangelo
This is probably the most difficult book review I will ever have to write. I want to recommend this and tell you all to read it. But this book is hard. It's hard to make sense of, hard to get into. So I recommend this to you with my highest praise, but I'm warning/advising you--stick with it. It will be worth it in the end. I promise.

Anyhow. To my review.

I've read The Dark Tower series before. This series and I have a history. I read the first 3 books, and then I went back to the start and rea...more
Brad
I am not a fan of Stephen King's writing (though I am a fan of the man), so I have purposefully stayed away from The Dark Tower series.

King's books always seem to follow a simple pattern with me.

The first third of the book I find myself excited, joyfully surfing the book on the wave of King's pure inventiveness (no matter how I feel about his books in the end, it is hard to deny that his crazy mind is full of interesting ideas). In the second third of the book, the wave invariably begins to los...more
Tfitoby
“Do any men grow up or do they only come of age?”

or for that matter do they even come of age? Some boys never learn to be men, Steven Spielberg for example. But that's irrelevant unless Roland, the titular gunslinger, fails to learn anything through the remaining 6 main volumes and 2 half volumes. Stephen King has set it all up right from the first short story for this series to be an epic multiple genre blending bildungsroman. But do I care enough to carry on?

Probably not to be honest. I have...more
Nermin
I realize I'm a bit too generous for giving the Gunslinger four stars because to tell the truth, I didn't like the book all that much. And the reason for my not enjoying the book as much as I'd like to is probably because it is too full of mysteries and is too vague. We never know enough about the Gunslinger, or the Man in Black (who is the villain, I suppose?) or why exactly Gunslinger is chasing him or what's in the Dark Tower. And it's a little bit difficult to connect with the story when you...more
Angela
Nov 02, 2010 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: stephenking, ebooks
UPDATED REVIEW: I finally returned to the beginning of The Dark Tower and re-read The Gunslinger, and it is incredible. I stand by my review that it may be less incredible on first-reading, but as a completion to the cycle (as in read 1-7... and then 1 again), it's pure genius, as only King could manage.

Previous review:
My 3-star rating is based on what I remember thinking about the book when I read it nearly four years ago. I was not all that impressed by the Gunslinger nor by his endless quest...more
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I find this book boring. Help? 8 33 1 hour, 43 min ago  
Who do you see playing the characters in the movie? 44 360 Jul 18, 2014 11:15PM  
Is the Dark Tower series worth reading? 104 397 Jul 18, 2014 11:14PM  
Dragons & Jet...: BR - The Gunslinger (July 1-12) 8 16 Jul 14, 2014 10:39AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: The Gunslinger--Finished! Spoilers allowed... 18 47 Jul 13, 2014 06:25PM  
REIGN of Books Po...: The Gunslinger (Dark Tower #1) 1 1 Jul 11, 2014 03:42PM  
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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“Go then, there are other worlds than these.” 1184 likes
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” 869 likes
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