• Audiobook: 463 pages
• Publisher: Penguin Audio, 2003 (originally published in 1987)
• ISBN: B0000T7YX2
• Genre: Fantasy/Horror
• Recommended For: Any serious Stephen King fan who wants to truly understand the Stephen King universe via reading the Dark Tower series; fans of fantasy.
Quick Review: Earns an 96 %, or 4.8 stars out of 5. Check out my rubric for my detailed assessment. The Drawing of the Three Review Rubric
This book truly kicks off the awesomeness that is the Dark Tower series. Action-packed, full of quirks, the best characterization, and engaging narration by Muller. Highly recommended!
The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis
While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, The Last Gunslinger, is drawn through a mysterious door that brings him into contemporary America. Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.
My Analysis and Critique:
I forgot how much I loved this book, the second in the Dark Tower series. The plot is just so well done! As I mentioned in a previous post, I love so many of the plot elements–the horrific lobstrocities, the mysterious doors, and Roland’s attempts at understanding our world. On top of that, this story is just so action-packed! There are scenes in this novel where King literally keeps you on the edge of your seat (I know that’s cliché, but it is true!).
King is one of the best character writers in fiction today, and he proves it in this novel. Roland develops into less of a stoic loner as he befriends Eddie Dean. Eddie Dean, the heroin junky, develops cleanly throughout the novel and will grow to be a gunslinger in his own right as the series develops. Odetta is a multi-faceted character (boy, ain’t that an understatement!) who has much development ahead. Along with these main characters, King creates a bevy of diverse, well-drawn-out characters to support them. The hoods at Balazar’s Tower bar, the creepy Mort, the pharmacist who encounters Roland near the end–all are life-like and come to life through King’s writing.
Other notable highlights of this novel include the expertly illustrated settings–I saw the beach, I saw the interior of the plane, I saw Balazar’s office, I saw everything! Also, King made good use of symbolism and parallelism between characters. Finally, ongoing themes in the Dark Tower series surfaced here with the ideas of continuity/connectivity between our world and Roland’s, addiction in Eddie and Roland, and different forms of weakness and strength.
Overall, again, I highly recommend this book and the entire Dark Tower series! Don’t forget that The Wind through the Keyhole, the new Dark Tower novel, is coming out on April 24! If you haven’t read these, get on it!