This is the book which first catapults us into Roland's world, introducing us to the enigmatic gunslinger and his rather strange world.
This revised ed...moreThis is the book which first catapults us into Roland's world, introducing us to the enigmatic gunslinger and his rather strange world.
This revised edition was published in 2003, to coincide with the release of the final books in the Dark Tower series. In his introduction, King compares this to the expanded edition of The Stand, only on a smaller scale. Generally, a few alterations have been made so that the book, originally published back in 1982, ties in more nicely with the later books in the series. I own, but have yet to get around to reading, the book in its original form so as yet I can't judge as to whether or not the revised edition was necessary.
The most common complaint I hear about this book is that people have found it boring. It seems a strange complaint to make; here we are, introduced to this compelling and mysterious character, a gunslinger capable of wiping out the entire population of a small town in just one afternoon, yet you can sense that he is inherently good. You immediately want to know more about this character, why he seems so dead set on catching up to this Man in Black, and why an eleven-year-old boy from New York City could end up in the middle of the desert in another world. With so much to think about, it seems odd to think that a person could get bored reading this.
If you are familiar with King's other work, then this book will seem a little strange at first. Unlike the other books in the series, it doesn't read quite like a Stephen King novel. Perhaps because it was one of the first books he wrote, or perhaps because its protagonist is a character who has never heard of America, let alone the state of Maine. A Clint Eastwood-esque gunslinger who grew up in a castle and whose coming of age was marked by a bloody fight with his teacher, Cort. In fact, for the first portion of the book we're not even told the gunslinger's name. That, along with the title of the novel, is symbolic of how mysterious this character is. We read an entire novel about him and come away realizing that we actually know very little about him. Throughout the whole series there's something enigmatic and distant about Roland. By the end of book seven we've come to care for him deeply, yet we still don't really know him.
A point to note is that you should definitely re-read this after completing the series as you'll be amazed at the little references you missed first time around (which I presume do not exist in the original text). I was also quite delighted to find a Watership Down reference in there too.
For me, The Gunslinger is a fantastic introduction to the Dark Tower series and I would highly recommend it to everyone.(less)
The second book in the Dark Tower series picks up right where the first left off, and it's a whirlwind ride straight from the beginning. I adore readi...moreThe second book in the Dark Tower series picks up right where the first left off, and it's a whirlwind ride straight from the beginning. I adore reading, but I have to say that there are few books which I've found truly unputdownable. This was one of the few, and reminds me of lying awake at night in a hostel room in Sydney, not really caring if my bedside light was disturbing anyone trying to sleep because I needed to know what happened next. It really just sucks you in, you don't want to put it down and you feel a real sense of disappointment when you realize you're halfway through the book already.
The book is very dramatic for the most part, but also has some hilarious moments. I found myself in hysterics over Eddie's altercation with airport security, Roland's first taste of Pepsi, and the fact that he holds a drugstore pharmacist at gunpoint...for some penicillin. Eddie, in fact, may be the reason I'm so fond of this book. I fell in love with Eddie right from the start, when we meet him, a heroin addict from Brooklyn, smuggling drugs into New York. He may not sound promising, but it's impossibly not to fall in love with him and his wisecracks. The moment when security bursts in on him in the airplane's toilet is priceless.
Really, I was just hoping for more from Jack Mort. I was hoping Roland would bring him back into his own world, because it would have been fascinating to see how the two would interact. As it is, we really don't get enough information on who he is and why he does what he does.
King does get a little rambly in this book. One stream-of-consciousness sentence in particular runs on for about two and a half pages but if you stick to your guns (no pun intended) then you should be just fine. Annoyingly, Odetta is referred to throughout as suffering from schizophrenia when there is no indication that that is the case.
DOTT reads more like a Stephen King novel than The Gunslinger did, which should keep Constant Readers happy. There are a few little creases which still need to be ironed out in the book, but in general it's a fast-paced read which you'll have a hard job putting down.(less)
Mort was my first Discworld novel, if you don't count The Colour Of Magic, which I started several times and have never yet managed to finish. I have...moreMort was my first Discworld novel, if you don't count The Colour Of Magic, which I started several times and have never yet managed to finish. I have to admit, I really like Terry Pratchett's style. His books really are laugh-out-loud hilarious and filled with an absurd but...well...logical kind of logic!
The book gets its three stars based almost entirely on how funny it is. With the exception of Death, every character in the novel annoyed me to no end, especially the whiny Keli. By the last 50 pages or so I found my attention dwindling, because I just couldn't care what happened to the Princess or to Cutwell or anyone else. I just wished Mort would leave that hole in reality to close up, because that definitely seemed like the best course of action.(less)
Monument is one of those books you pick up when you're looking to break away from cutesy fantasy filled with elves, dwarves, and men with swords. It's...moreMonument is one of those books you pick up when you're looking to break away from cutesy fantasy filled with elves, dwarves, and men with swords. It's a somewhat bleak tale, but if you're looking for something different you may like to consider it.
Ballas is in every respect an anti-hero. Ballas is a liar, a thief who kills indiscriminately and cheats everyone and anyone to accomplish his own ends. One particular act of thievery leaves him the most wanted man in the country. It's another tale of a wanted man hunted down across a vast land, the difference being that this time we're seeing things from the bad guy's side (not to say that there actually are any good guys in the novel).
Ballas appears to be motivated by greed, self-preservation, and little else. He is a despicable person, with a cunning intelligence which demands respect even though you'll be wondering why you're rooting for such an evil man. Just as it seems that Ballas may be having a change of heart and may even do something vaguely honorable, he disappoints us again. However, I have to admire the author for this. A change of heart and redemption would have spelled disaster for this novel.
I got no real sense of place in this novel. The cities and towns came to me vividly, but I have few remembrances of country areas. Towns and cities are all bleak, dirty, disease-ridden, crime-filled hellholes. The lack of a map was a disappointment to me, as I'm a geography nut who has to know where every place is located, even in a fictional world.
Definitely check this book out if you're tired with the ordinary fantasy formula. It's not a book to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end but it is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale genre.(less)
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS BOOK I GET A WARM AND FUZZY FEELING IN MY BOSOM. THIS BOOK IS BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE....moreI LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS BOOK I GET A WARM AND FUZZY FEELING IN MY BOSOM. THIS BOOK IS BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE. THAT IS ALL.(less)