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The Gunslinger by Stephen King – Review by Saul, Teen Blogger

The Gunslinger - book coverAlthough King is often known for his chilling horror stories, I believe some of his best work can be found in the fantasy genre. I am part way through this series now (the full series is called The Dark Tower), but thought I would take some time to recommend the first book.

The Gunslinger is a novel like no other. It exists in a fantasy universe, but not a Tolkien cliché that many would expect from these types of tales. Instead, King has created a dead world that hints at a past glory and filled it with a wonderful cast of characters that attempt to scrape through life in a harsh landscape. I could best describe it as a fantasy-western. A world in which magic and guns exist as the tools of good and evil.

What makes this novel truly great is the main character. Described for a portion of the novel simply as The Gunslinger, he is the remnant of a time gone by. One could describe him as somewhere between a cowboy and solemn knight. He is a rich and complex person that acts as a powerful anchor to the strange world in which the story takes place.

Although the start is slow, the plot quickly picks up its pace in a masterful way. I found myself becoming genuinely excited during certain scenes, as if watching an action movie. The sections of action, although sparse, feel very real.

This novel is certainly not for the faint of heart. It deals with heavy themes of morality and the nature of good and evil. There is lots of death and lots of killing. Despite this, the violence is not included for the sake of violence, as every action is meaningful and has a place. What is created is a powerful story about a man on a quest deciding what is worth sacrificing in order to complete it.

The Gunslinger is a fantastic novel with an amazing world and great characters. If someone is looking for a fun fantasy story filled with happiness, this is not it. However, if one is looking for something with darker themes, something that questions morality in a complex way, then I would highly recommend this book; you can pick it up at several library locations.


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