At DragonCon this year, we had a panel on The Dark Tower. I have a love/hate relationhsip with Stephen King.. oved The Shining, loved The Stand, really hated Gerald's Game.. and so I've never started this series, even though I was curious. But my friend Van Allen Plexico, who is not ordinarily a King fan at all because he doesn't like horror, said that he really love the series, and so did a lot of other people. Listening to them talk about it convinced me to give it a try, and I bought the first book, knowing the next few are at the library and available to me.
At the panel, several people warned that the first book is hard to read at first, and I found that to be true. (Even Stephen King said so, in the foreward.) In fact, I was thinking, "I don't know if I'm going to like this at all," for quite a while.
But then, somewhere between page 100 and page 200, something gradually happened. I looked up after page 200 and said to my husband, "My god! this is a good book!" And I was hooked.
King becan writing this book in 1967, when he was 19 years old. He finished the last book in the series in 2003. So, between the beginning and the end was a space of 36 years! There were long pauses between the first four books, and then there was a very long pause (from 1998 until 2003, according to King,) before the 5th book. Then, he finished the rest of them fairly quickly.
But I feel for all those people who got to the end of book 4, and had to wait. I'm glad I don't have to do that!
The Gunslinger introduces us to the character of Roland, The Gunslinger. It is set in a post-apocolyptic world that seems unstuck in time in many ways. It's a lot like the Wild West, with medieval overtones in Roland's backstory.
Roland is chasing a man in black across the dessert, hoping he will lead him to a mysterious Dark Tower. He travels through a land of desperate people, mutants, and devastation. Along the way, he finds a boy, Jake.
That's about as much of the plot as I want to tell you. Suffice it to say that this is an epic quest, a dark and violent one, but it will suck you in if you stick with it. And I'm told that every book after this is even better.
I can't wait to see what happens next (although I fully intend to read a couple more books before I get to the next one. I refuse to give up all control to these books!)