Book Reviews

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (Volume 1) by Stephen King

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List Price: £8.99

 

Paperback: 304 Pages.

Published: 16 February 2012 by Hodder Paperbacks

ISBN: 1444723448

EAN: 9781444723441

In this first novel in his epic fantasy masterpiece, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice, begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York, and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Stephen Found

Welcome to Rolands world

The first volume of a series of seven. The Dark Tower is a fantasy story, set in another world.

The purpose of ths volume is to introduce us to Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger in his world who is on a quest to find the Dark Tower. What the Dark Tower actually is we do not know and more importantly, neither does Roland. Roland just knows how to find it and that he has to do just that. We meet Roland while he is tracking the Man In Black who is a sorcerer whom he must catch in order to find out more about the black tower.

From the outset of the book, it is clear that there is some link between between our world and the world that Roland inhabits. Very early on, Roland remembers that he was sung to sleep as a young child by someone singing 'Hey Jude', which was of course released by the Beatles in 1968.

The story follows Rolands adventures while tracking Walter (the man in black) and his interactions with people he meets along the way. More links to our world are discovered along the way and we are given some insight into Roland's childhood and his training as a gunslinger.

This is an extraordinarily well written book which poses just as many questions as it answers about the characters you are introduced to during its course and leaves you hungry to read the second volume in order to find some answers.

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

Unusual and satisfying

Roland is the gunslinger of the title. He is crossing the desert of a post-apocalyptic world in pursuit of a Man in Black for the whole of this book and you don't find out a huge amount more about him (there are future books in this series which I sincerely hope will fill in the gaps). On Roland's journey he meets some other people and befriends a young man from another world called Jake. As he faces the Man in Black he will have to make a sacrifice to ensure that good triumphs over evil.

I found this novel absolutely compelling. It is a fantasy novel which reads like a spaghetti western. There is no way that I could not imagine a young Clint Eastwood in the role of the gunslinger. Much of the imagery and description of Roland's journey, the people he meets and the places he visits is that of the American West yet when we hear about his childhood it is very much that of medieval Europe, The fact that Roland is searching for the tower is obviously a reference to Byron's poem (although you don't have to have read it to understand the book).

The author cleverly weaves these strands and traditions together and produces a unique voice for his story.

By the end of the book an epic struggle between good and evil has taken place but you are still unaware of the nature of the battle and have no idea of why Roland is seeking the tower. Nonetheless it is a very satisfying read with some excellent description and a great use of tension to build to a climax. The author plays with the traditions he evokes and the result is satisfying and very different from anything else I have read in this field. The writing is spare and graceful - no wasted words here as there are just enough to create atmosphere and tell a basic story.

I really recommend this for the fantasy fan as it is so very different from anything else I have read in the field - and I can promise you that despite the author's reputation for horror novels this is not in that genre at all.

 
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