Roland Deschain is the Last Gunslinger and is on a quest, to find the man in black.
This is the first book in a series that is intended to be read as one long novel. I think that is important to know this going into the story as this is very much about getting to know the Gunslinger, and a lot of time is spent in flashbacks that explain how he is the man that we see today. I think these breadcrumbs will be important as the story progresses, but there are a number of outstanding questions at the end of the book.
I had really high hopes for this book before I started. Not only do I love all books written by Stephen King, but I know that this series is particularly well-loved. Overall this feels like such what it really is – the start of a really long series. You are introduced to three main characters, the Gunslinger, the man in black and Jake. Other than the Gunslinger it is not clear what part these characters will play in the ongoing story (if any).
Some of the flashbacks are really long – there was a point where we came out of a flashback and I had almost forgotten what had been happening in the now of the story. The number of flashbacks did mean that the narrative jumped around a bit, and I found this quite jarring at times. These flashbacks do provide an insight into the history of the Gunslinger, but it is unclear how the characters he interacts with will be involved in later stories, if they even are.
Overall, you can sense that there will be an intricate web of stories that will continue to develop over the series. Had I expected more from the first book? Yes, I really did – but I have learned to be patient when it comes to Stephen King as his novels do include a large amount of world building and scene setting before the real action begins.
I struggled with the rating for this book, and it may be that I revisit this when I have read more of the series. This is the first in the series, and sets the scene for the story that follows – this is not the book to read if you are looking for a complete story arc. I wanted to finish this story desperate for the next book, but whilst I am confident that I will continue, I do not have a urge to run out and buy the next book anytime soon.
Have you read The Gunslinger or the rest of the Dark Tower series? Have you read any other books by Stephen King? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
See you soon