Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Gunslinger Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   This is The Gunslinger by Stephen King, the first book in his Dark Tower series. This synopsis is from Goodreads:

In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.

     Stephen King is one of the most recognized authors to date. If you haven't heard of him, either you lived before the first half of the twentieth century and have been underground since, or you live under a rock. Or both... Stephen King is--well lack of a better word--king of literary horror and suspense and I was always hesitant to read his stuff because I'm not a fan of the horror genre. However, in one of my english classes in college, my teacher had us read some chapters in his book On Writing and I absolutely fell in love with his style; enough for me to read one of his books. So I went on my trusty website Goodreads and browsed through the many novels he's written and I discovered one called Under the Dome. The synopsis sounded really interesting so I bought it and sad to say, I stopped about half way through because it just wasn't intriguing enough to continue. I'll get to finishing it one of these months and I'll give you guys a review.
     How did I get the first book of his Dark Tower series then? Well, I have other works by him on my To-Read list on GR and my sneaky sister went on my computer while I was away and saw it was one of his highest rated books. She got the first four for me for Christmas and has given me grief ever since for never starting it. So Valerie, this is for you. ;D

(safe for those who haven't read this book)
   Alright, clearly I'm not a Stephen King fan. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about what I've been reading lately and I told him this book The Gunslinger by King and how I think King is great teacher of writing but to leave the actual storytelling to others. I'm sorry but I just don't feel a spark with his style. I mean--style is the wrong word, his storytelling. It's vague and reminds me of Hemingway who tried to give the reader as little as possible. Yeah, I guess I'm not really a Hemingway fan either. This is the second book of Stephen King's I've read (well I technically never finished Under the Dome...) and I was hoping for a better outcome. Hey not all books by an author can be the best piece of literature ever written, y'know?  I read this book for my sister so Valerie, if you're reading this, I finished the first one. I'll get to the rest later!
   Anyway, so this book is about the Gunslinger Roland-- a name which is not revealed until like 5o pages or so in (I think)-- who is chasing after this man in black. It seriously took me 50 pages to get into this story, and it didn't even last long. However I will commend how Mr. King can make 5 ultimately boring and uneventful places seem interesting and have something happen. There are 5 chapters in this book, each ranging from 30-90 pages long and it's surprising how much happened in those places. I won't tell you what happens, but the main settings in this book are a small town named Tull, a way station/the desert, a forest, a mine/underground cave, and a mountain side. I apologize if I'm way off, I really don't know the settings of some places like in the final chapter because I felt King was very vague in describing the more important details. I always hear that his style of writing is just something you need to get used to-- but seriously, it shouldn't take long to adapt. 
   This is a sort of alternate universe/western/sci-fi world which gives me the ambivalent feeling of confusion yet intrigue. One of the main characters that joins Roland is a young boy named Jake who compares a lot of things he experiences or confronts to things in our world, specifically things he's encountered in contemporary (or 1970s since this was when he wrote this book) New York. It's clear--since King states--that Roland doesn't know half of what Jake talks about, but their relationship isn't based off of their differences or opinions of one another, which is admirable in an enigmatic character like Roland.
    One of my favorite parts of the story was at the end--no it's not because it was almost done--but how the man in black and Roland discuss what Roland is chasing him for in the first place. Also the man in black describes the universe in a real existential and almost empirical sense that made me stop to think about it. Maybe it's just me, but whenever people or characters in a story begin talking about how large the universe is and how small humans are, I really just stare with big eyes and sort of exist in a trance. Like a cat chasing a light. I don't know why I chose that analogy, it was the first thing that came up though.
   I'm sorry, I feel there isn't a lot I can say because this book was just meh to me. Maybe I'll come back and add some more opinions on it, but for now I'm not coming up with much. It may be that it's past midnight and I am incredibly tired.

I give this book 3/5 stars. I want to give it two because I only thought it was okay, I didn't necessarily like it enough to be a solid 3 stars, however there are books I'd rate in the 2 star category and I don't think this book deserves so low of a rating. Ergo, 3 stars. I might reread it again, to see if I missed something the first time around. And I will definitely finish the series, just not anytime soon >_< [Valerie...]

Author's Quote:
“Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you'll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding.” 
― Stephen King

If You'd Like to Check Out My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   Okay, I was getting a sense that the world the Gunslinger was chasing the man in black through was some sort of life after death world. Purgatory-- since it isn't heaven or hell, it's the middle. If I'm right, I would like to slowly rock my fist back and forth in epic bossness (bossness? I don't know it's almost midnight).
    Did anyone guess that Roland liked Jake a little more than what it looks like? I mean, clearly he cares for the boy since he constantly stays by him even when Jake tries to leave him multiple times or when he insults him and such and throws temper tantrums, but that is just more evidence his secret feelings toward the boy.
    I don't like the gun trick/magic or whatever the hell you want to call it that Roland does. It saves him in the tight spot in Tull and also in the chapter of the Slow Mutants. I mean, c'mon-- when does he have time to reload?? Unless this is some sort of magic gun that never runs low on ammunition. This is clearly fantasy. This made my opinion on Roland's character iffy and I would have liked him without that weird magical talent.
    The part I really don't know what happened was the flashback when Roland is retelling his coming of age moment or becoming a gunslinger tale with Cort and Cuthbert. Also when Jake dies, I definitely don't remember reading that. All I know if that he just wasn't mentioned anymore. I'm horrible I know.
     Anyone think there's an importance of the numbers nineteen and three? I'm a very meticulous reader-- I read waaay too much into books sometimes and always think the author chose details for a reason, so I wonder what those numbers might suggest. Three I could guess has something to do with Christianity-- since he intertwines Christian stories and names throughout the story. Nineteen, it was discussed in the introduction by King in my edition (though I didn't read it) but I can't think of anything else important about it.
     I just need to reread the whole book. But not for a while, I have many other books to read which will fancy my attention more. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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