12 Following

Leah's Bookshelf

Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic


I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.


My ratings system:

5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.

4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.

3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.

2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.

1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.

0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.

Currently reading

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Willa Carter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Nath
Progress: 225/768 pages

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

The Gunslinger - Stephen King

Rating: 3.5 of 5


Book One in the Dark Tower epic offers fast-paced fantasy with moderate action and few answers. Its focus, though, is on the introduction of the story’s hero, his initial quest, and his world.


The Gunslinger follows Roland, the last gunslinger, on his quest across the desert of a ruined world to find the Man in Black. Along the way Roland meets Alice, a lonely but tough broad, and Jake, a frightened Earth boy, both of whom play an important role in his finding that which he seeks. Ultimately, Roland must decide whether he’s willing to sacrifice everything (and everyone) in order to satisfy his vengeance.


Few first lines are as compelling:


“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”


Once I started this book, I could not put it down. The sad thing is, I’ve owned the book for over 20 years. Why did I take so long to finally pick it up and give it a read?!? When I finished, all the seedlings – the quest for revenge, the dying world, magic, fantastical beings, a prophecy, and the Tower – sprouted into my overwhelming need to know more.


Roland’s world was quite similar to our own with subtle (and not so subtle) differences. His language, at times, was confusing; a mix between “High Speech” and 70s – 80s American lingo. I wasn’t sure if that was to demonstrate Roland’s lifespan of hundreds of years, the similarities between his world and ours, or simply to make him relatable.


The novel’s structure maintained the balance between pace, forward motion, and backstory. Throughout the story, there were flashbacks to Roland’s childhood and training as a gunslinger, which illustrate who he is (or was intended to be) and hints at potential motives for his relentless search for the Man in Black. At no time did I feel like King needed to hurry up and get on with the story.


There were many unanswered questions that I’m sure King will explore, if not all-out answer, in the rest of the series. But I still felt satisfied with this book’s story and resolution. Overall I’m quite pleased with Book One and cannot wait to start Book Two in October for the Dark Tower read-a-long.


Interesting tidbit: The series was inspired by a ream of green paper, silence on a winter’s day, and the poem, “Childe Roland,” by Robert Browning. (That’s what Stephen King wrote in the “Afterword,” anyway.) The story’s evolution as well as where King intended to take readers in the Dark Tower series were also explored in the “Afterword.”


** First published on my blog, Unleash the Flying Monkeys! **