The Gunslinger by Stephen King
(The Dark Tower, Book 1)

73%

21 Critic Reviews

In all honesty, it can be hard for readers to commit themselves to The Gunslinger at first blush...However, if the reader pushes on and follows the tale to the end, this first book suddenly becomes wildly exciting to re-read. To see the roots of it all, to see Roland’s memories and the foreshadowing of events to come...
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea. Roland is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange singlemindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape. The people he encounters are left behind, or worse—left dead. At a way station, however, he meets Jake, a boy from a particular time (1977) and a particular place (New York City), and soon the two are joined—khef, ka, and ka-tet. The mountains lie before them. So does the man in black and, somewhere far beyond...the Dark Tower.

 

About Stephen King

See more books from this Author
Stephen King, the world's bestselling novelist, was educated at the University of Maine at Orono. He lives with his wife, the novelist Tabitha King, and their children in Bangor, Maine.
 
Published January 1, 2016 by Scribner. 340 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Gunslinger
All: 21 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 6

Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Meg on Oct 13 2007

In all honesty, it can be hard for readers to commit themselves to The Gunslinger at first blush...However, if the reader pushes on and follows the tale to the end, this first book suddenly becomes wildly exciting to re-read. To see the roots of it all, to see Roland’s memories and the foreshadowing of events to come...

Read Full Review of The Gunslinger (The Dark Towe... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Ronald C McKito on Aug 04 2005

The Gunslinger is more of a surreal fantasy than a horror story, which King is most well-known for. There are some spooky elements, but just enough to spice it up. Imagine the wild west with supernatural elements and an atmospheric mood, and an underlying metaphysical quest to tie things together. If that sounds good to you, check this book out.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Josef Hernandez on Aug 12 2012

“The gunslinger” is one of the first books written by Stephen King...Upon reading this revised version, I found myself enjoying it more than I have in the past... If you are looking to enter into this world for the first time...“The gunslinger” will serve as the doorway into the mind of Stephen King as he chases his elusive dreams.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on Jan 22 2011

This epic tale of Roland the Gunslinger and his pursuit of the Dark Tower stands on its own as an exciting tale that is full of mystery and told in rich and descriptive language --- this alone is worth the price of admission...So skip that afternoon Starbucks fix for a couple of weeks and get your new and improved copy of THE GUNSLINGER.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by scootsa1000 on Feb 15 2011

The Gunslinger sets the basics for the massive story to come. It tells the tale of Roland Deschain, last of the gunslingers from the Kingdom of Gilead...This book is mostly a set up for the second in the series...but sets a good pace and draws a detailed picture of our hero...

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SF Site

Good
Reviewed by Matthew Peckham on Jan 23 2016

Whatever category you fit into, give this book a look -- it will be the series he's remembered for, and the final three volumes are just around the corner.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by MattDonRoth on Jan 10 2016

The book, while very well written features a few flaws in the clarity...However this drawback also shows one of the stories greatest strengths. The drawback shows the stories ability to allow the reader to escape from reality. King’s really shows why he is one of the best writers and story tellers in the world in this novel.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by towerjunkie019, on Jan 10 2016

One of King's best works, I highly recommend it to anyone with a mature reading palate (you may need a strong stomach too!)...A survival-of-the-fittest tale like nothing you've read, this book is full of surprises and keep you guessing.

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Curled Up

Above average
Reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing on Sep 28 2004

Still the beginning of a long tale of flawed good versus shadowy evil, of fate and choices and consequences, this Gunslinger has obviously been honed by an older, more experienced hand...On balance, The Gunslinger in either version is still a fantastic book in all senses of the word.

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Fantasy Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Floresiensis on Mar 01 2012

Few books can grab you and draw you into them quite as quickly and completely as The Gunslinger...The Gunslinger is a relatively short book, around the 200 page mark, and absolutely perfect for those wondering if the Dark Tower series might be for them.

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SF Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by TC on Sep 28 2014

A word of warning: Some people in alt.books.stephen-king, find this book long and boring. This is one of the great mysteries that I would like to understand before I die, but I doubt that I ever will (understand it, that is). I truly do not understand how anybody can help being captivated by this story.

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Shelf Love

Above average
Reviewed by Teresa on May 25 2011

As fans of the whole series, we’re going to naturally view this book as an exposition to a larger story, but there’s some darned impressive storytelling in this single volume.

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Booking in Heels

Above average
Reviewed by Hanna W on Aug 28 2012

It's a very, very slow book...I really can't decide how I feel about this book. I didn't hate it, although I know it seems like I did. There are some wonderful descriptive scenes and some interested concepts, but not a whole not happens. It's very disjointed and very scrambled...

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The Book Lover's Boudoir

Excellent
Reviewed by pamelascott30 on Aug 04 2012

The characters of Roland and Jake are very vivid and really bring the novel to life. King makes you care about them in a few words...I love everything about this book. I just wish it had been longer.

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https://www.sfsite.com

Above average
Reviewed by Matthew Peckham on Jan 22 2016

Whether it transcends itself, bats average, or flops altogether remains to be seen, but for now readers of speculative fiction owe it to themselves to see another side of the inimitable Mr. King.

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https://www.sfsite.com

Above average
Reviewed by Matthew Peckham on Jan 21 2016

Whatever category you fit into, give this book a look -- it will be the series he's remembered for, and the final three volumes are just around the corner.

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King of the Nerds!!!

Good
Reviewed by Mike on May 14 2010

Sci-fi horror fantasy post-apocalyptic westerns that tie together a single author’s (with at least one pseudonym) fiction in its near entirety are hardly a common occurrence and the scope of the Dark Tower series really is something to marvel at so if you’ve yet to experience this series I highly highly recommend giving it a try.

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Darlene's Book Nook

Below average
Reviewed by Darlene on Oct 10 2012

Parts of the book really dragged for me and, even though I finished book, I still feel a bit lost! I will continue on with the series and hope that I get hooked with the next one. This is definitely my least favourite King book, and I much prefer his horror books to this fantasy series so far.

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The Oaken Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by ANGELYA on Sep 20 2012

I did quite enjoy Stephen King’s storytelling style and this first instalment in a much longer journey has really whetted my appetite to read more of this series.

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Unabridged Andra

Above average
Reviewed by Andra on Apr 30 2012

It wasn't bad. It was amazingly well written and captures ideas and thoughts that you've never realized you have. The ending is what changes the book from a waste of space to something that just might intrigue you enough to go on to the next one.

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Shepherd492's Blog

Above average
Reviewed by Shepherd492 on Nov 26 2012

...the little tidbits we do get concerning our main character and his purpose are quite tantalizing and have managed to keep me engaged in the book. There is a lot of potential for enjoyment of the series, so Gunslinger merits consideration despite its various flaws.

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Reader Rating for The Gunslinger
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5624 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Ralston Hough 16 Apr 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

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Leiah Cooper 22 Jul 2013

The Dark Tower The Gunslinger

"The Man In Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed. The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like et...

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Michael Manley 19 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

Marco Negri

Marco Negri 30 Jan 2016

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