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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
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Archive: Other Books > The Gunslinger, by Stephen King- 2 Stars.

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message 1: by Joi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Let's preface this with some facts. I AM NOT a fantasy reader. I am not a big fan of suspended disbelief. I really WANTED to like this because my fiance loves this series. But all factors pointed to this just not being a good match for me. I wholeheartedly believe this is probably a super awesome book and series- but damn, I really disliked it.

So 'The Gunslinger' is following the 'Man in Black' around. Through a desert. The majority of the book was flashbacks, visions, dreams, and world building. He meets some people, they die. (view spoiler) THE END. I did the audio of this and at often times felt confused to what was going on- is this now or a flashback? I didn't see the point of the majority of the flashbacks and stories.They got jumbled, there was no flow. I didn't like any of the characters. I didn't root for Roland (whose name we didn't even learn until halfway through). I didn't like the supernatural aspects- why does Jake have to be dead? Is he a zombie? WTF. Why do the spiders have to have weird stick eyes? So much of this seemed unnecessary.

Will give the book credit for it's descriptive writing. And the beginning (in Tull) was intriguing (when there were more than 3 characters around).

I get it- this book is a giant set-up. This is the introduction, the world building, and if you read the whole series "everything will make sense". But no. This series is obviously not for me, and I probably shouldn't have even tried reading this in the first place.


message 2: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2666 comments I see ‘Stephen King’ and run for the hills, so there was next to no chance of me trying this. Even less now - totally doesn’t sound like me (even if the rest of the series is better, which I think some PBTers have said it is)


Cora (corareading) | 1453 comments I am a fantasy reader and have no problem suspending disbelief and I did not enjoy this book.


message 4: by JoLene (new) - added it

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments My husband hated this book as well. He has been told by many folks that he should just have skipped the book and moved onto the next one in the series.


message 5: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3673 comments I read this last year and had the same experience. I am not really a fantasy reader, but I am a Stephen King fan. My friend loves this series and this first book in particular. He has read it several times, so lent me his copy.

I enjoyed parts, but was often confused and found it a chore to get through unfortunately.

However, I found myself wanting to go on to the next book sometime, because I wanted to know what happened with the Man in Black.

But, it is not a priority to read more of the series right now.


Elise (ellinou) I love this series, but I rarely recommend it to others. In my opinion you already have to be a fan of SK and used to his style to enjoy the Dark Tower, plus having to enjoy a bit of fantasy and sci-do, so I feel it's very niche, even more so than his usual books.


message 7: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3673 comments That was the strange thing, I love Stephen King! So, I am guessing it was the sci-fi / fantasy elements that I struggled with.


message 8: by Joi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments So glad to know I'm not the only one who didn't care for this.

Since this was my first Stephen King, I definitely want to give the author another chance with something I'm more "prone to" liking. Thinking maybe the Mr. Mercedes series since it is more thriller-y?

Any suggestions?


message 9: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I liked the first two of the Mr Mercedes trilogy but HATED the third. The Stand is probably my favourite of his, and it fits next month’s tag.


message 10: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3673 comments Stephen King has a really wide variety of stories to offer, but as a horror fan I tend to gravitate to his straight horror novels.

I think I would recommend his short stories - like Selections from Skeleton Crew or Full Dark, No Stars because they are shorter and a good sample of his writing. Carrie, his first published book (right?) is a shorter novel that could be a could 2nd King read.

I think Mr. Mercedes is a quick read and not as epic in length as The Shining or It, so that would be a solid choice.

I perused your book shelves, but realized my King knowledge is limited to more horror. Those mentioned above are still horror but shorter so not a lot of wasted time if it isn't your cup of tea, and in my opinion great examples of his talent.


message 11: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 3099 comments I don't usually care for horror and/or thrillers, so I thought I would never read Steven King. But I was totally sucked into 11/22/63 and I enjoyed Hearts in Atlantis. Joyland was a bit spooky, but not to any alaming degree, so I had fun with it. I don't think I will ever read It, but I do own The Stand. I might try to read it next month.


Rachel N. | 1607 comments The Shining; Duma Key; and 11/22/63 are my favorite books by Stephen King. I foundThe Stand to be a bit of a drag but a lot of people like it. If you are into more straight horror I'd recommend The Shining, 11/22/63 isn't really horror it's just a great story. The Gunslinger is among my least favorite of his books so I'm not surprised you didn't like it.


Elise (ellinou) I just finished The Outsider, his most recent, and loved it! It's a mix of his new detective style and his old-fashioned horror style. It's a small brick (560 pages), but it's very easy to read, I got through it in just over a week (believe me, my neck is glad I'm not carrying it around in my bag anymore!)

And of course The Shining is a classic starting point. It's the first one I read, and clearly it was enough to hook me!


message 14: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen | 1545 comments Overall I really liked this series but I didn’t like book 1. I would give
It another chance by reading the second book. But I hated the ending so I’m not sure I’d recommend it. I loved the middle of the series and became really attached to some characters.

I’m not a huge Stephen Ling fan now. I did read a ton of them when I was a teenager but then my tastes changed. I do like The Shining.


message 15: by Joi (last edited Jun 26, 2018 12:42PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Thanks guys. I really appreciate the input. No idea when I'll puck up another King, but now at least I can refer back to here for a basis.
I've definitely had 11/22/63 on my radar because of the hulu show- but it's 900+ page count scares me away.

I actually don't know anything about any of the books- I've never seen any movie that a King book is based off of , so I don't have any preconceived notions or spoilers. Which I think is a good thing?


message 16: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3673 comments I didn't read King for a long time because his film adaptations were so ubiquitous when I was growing up...

You've never seen Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, or The Green Mile!?

I think that is a good thing because you could read the book then watch the movie. I always prefer that anyway so the movie / actors don't influence my own imagination as I create this world in my head.


message 17: by Joi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Never seen any of those movies!
I'm not a big movie person, so I'm permenantly "catching up" with movies. My fiance likes to say he's giving me a "movication".

Stand by Me is particularly terrible that I haven't seen because it was filmed locally where I live! We have hiking trails that have information boards about the movie pointing out film sites- but I've never seen it!


message 18: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3673 comments Oh wow, that is awesome! You'll have to read the book, see the movie then tour around the filming locations.

Yeah, I could see that, I have a friend that immediately falls asleep as soon as she watches a movie. :)


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