Dark Tower introduction: All things serve the beam...

Sunday, June 29, 2014
I was trying to decide how to start this blog -- and then I realized I should just start with what I am currently reading -- and reading obsessively! As someone who reads a lot, I've started making goals for myself at the beginning of each year. This year, I decided to make an annual goal of reading a published sci-fi or fantasy series -- and this year's selection was Stephen King's Dark Tower series. 

The Dark Tower series is set in a weird (but awesome!) world that combines spaghetti Western and Arthurian legend. It follows Roland Deschain, the world's last gunslinger, in his pursuit of the Dark Tower which is the heart / nexus of all worlds. Stephen King has claimed that the Dark Tower series is his magnum opus, and many other works of his contain references to the story. (If the Dark Tower books themselves are not enough, someone has even made a reading order of other books surrounding the series!) And I am quickly becoming OBSESSED with it. Without further ado, I'll start my reviews off with the books of the Dark Tower. 

The Gunslinger:

Rating: 4.5/5 -- Goodreads

The first book in the series, The Gunslinger is a somewhat difficult and misleading entry into the series. You are only introduced to two of the main cast of characters of the series, and you have no sense of the real reach King is attempting with the universe he has created here yet. 

I have read this book twice: once a few years ago and then at the beginning of January this year. Many suggest that if you are going to give the Dark Tower series a try that you don't give up after reading this first book because it is written so differently than the rest of the series. I would fully endorse this recommendation! 

To me, my second reading of the book was a far better experience than the first, and now that I am halfway through the series I can appreciate all that King set up in this first novel. You are introduced to Roland and his post apocalyptic world with fantastical yet gritty elements. You also meet Jake, but I don't think you can appreciate his character fully until later in the series. 

Overall, this book can be a little jarring in its weirdness, but it is worth the effort if you are interested in the much raved about Dark Tower series or a fan of Stephen King. I believe one thing King does best is invoke the reader's emotions -- horror, impending doom, sadness, triumph. He managed to make this reader feel all these emotions in this first book of the series.

Stay tuned -- reviews of the rest of the series and some related works to come!

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