Book Review – The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The blurb slings:

This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations—The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages, from ancient myth to frontier western legend.

The Gunslinger’s quest involves the pursuit of The Man in Black, a liaison with the sexually ravenous Alice, and a friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, here is stunning proof of Stephen King’s storytelling sorcery.

I sought this book out because it’s famous (or rather it’s the first book in a famous series).  I didn’t really know what to expect other than a tower and a cowboy.

Considering it’s a fantasy series it’s quite Stephen King – there aren’t many fantasy tropes and there’s an unusual amount of unexplained creepiness.

The story is mostly told in flashbacks (at one point recursive flashbacks three levels deep).  There’s nothing really wrong with this, although it’s a bit much to keep up with, but it leaves the main plotline pretty straightforward because so much of the writing has gone into the flashbacks.

The description of the desert was very vivid and the descriptions of the future (alternate?) Earth culture were interesting, although I think that was mostly for the mystery of wondering what’s going on.

This book reminded me a bit of Dune in that it has flashes of greatness but overall doesn’t have the same effect it would have done when it was first published.

As it’s the first book in the series it predictably doesn’t wrap everything up, although it does basically resolve its main plot arc.