The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

This is another bonus review. One I’ve made time for on my own, between takes, and I offer it here, for you to enjoy.

It’s about time, isn’t it? I claim to be a fan of Stephen King’s work–of all of his work, yet I’ve never read a single one of his books. I didn’t even read this one, I listened to it as an audio book. I started reading IT once, ages ago, but I never finished. I promise I’ll get back to it.

But of course, I’ve seen a lot of the movies. It’s weird, for even though I could name probably a dozen of King’s movies, I hadn’t heard about The Dark Tower series until a few years ago.

It was such a strange revelation. King wrote a series? A dark western-mystery? Why have I never heard of this? Where has this been all my life?

But as soon as I heard of it, I knew I had to read it. I put it on my list. It was happening. And now it finally did.

I’ve had a lot of time for myself this year at work, driving a lot. So I decided to sign up for audible and give it ago. I’ve never been a big fan of audio books. Maybe because in 2009, I totaled a car while listening to Dan Brown. (No offense Brown). It had nothing to do with the audio book, I ended up on the edge of the shoulder and couldn’t get back onto the road. I drifted into a ditch and straight into a mountain wall. I was fine–we both were, me and my girlfriend. But CD no. 6 of Brown’s book didn’t make it. It was lodged, and died with the car. I still probably have all the other CDs somewhere.

I listened to a few audio books since then, but not many. I made the mistake of listening to Silmarillion on audio book. Yeah–I know. Not a clever choice. I don’t retain any of that book, at all.

But let’s get back to The Gunslinger. To begin with I was very confused. I’d seen the movie beforehand, and for some reason I thought the movie was the first book. I realize now, having done some research, it’s not. The movie is supposedly set after the novels. Fine, doesn’t matter to me. At least The Gunslinger makes more sense that way.

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I wasn’t aware that this is five shorter stories, later combined to a novel. I liked that, I felt it made it seemed like I knew a lot more about Roland, about Mid-World about everything than was actually ever told to me. As if these were all stories I knew well, having been told countless of times before, hearing them again as an adult.

I can finally honestly say I’m a fan of King, (finally having read something of his). I like the way he writes, the way he words himself, the little… tricks and tools he uses. I recognize some of my own writing in it, which obviously is extremely motivating. It’s like knowing that someone like King does a thing, makes it okay, regardless of what people say.

I’ve already started the second book, and I plan to listen to all of them. The second one is better, in my opinion, nearly from the start. It’s a bit more coherent when it’s not several smaller stories. Also there seems to be more action, more stuff happening right off the bat, compared to the wandering, storytelling and philosophizing in The Gunslinger.

As soon as I’m done with The Dark Tower series, I plan to keep listening to the classics, IT, The Shining, Dreamcatcher, Carrie–as many of them as I can. I know I’m late to the party, I’m trying to make amends.

What’s your favorite King story?

Read my review of book 2 here.

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