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Why can I NOT get into these Dark Tower books?

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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2011, 12:02:27 AM PST
Mark Silver says:
I'm a huge Stephen King fan. I love his books, I have read them ALL, and re-read many.

Except the Dark Tower books. I have tried, several times, to make it through The Gunslinger. I fail every time. Just can't get into it! I don't know if its the heightened language or what.

What am I missing, fellow SK fans? Any thoughts? I feel like I'm missing out, but I just cannot seem to plug into this world!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2011, 2:39:28 PM PDT
Tarheel5 says:
The gunslinger is very slow compared to the others. It's almost like an entire prequel book. As I recall (I read the entire series in 2009) it starts to pick up in the last 1/3 of the book or so. Early in book 2 the action and dialogue really kick in and the series takes you from there.
So I would say at this point to stick with it. If you make it halfway through the second book and don't think it's starting to get really good, then you may not like it, but I bet you will. Without giving too much away, I will say that there are 3 other protagonists in this series and I liked the story much more once they came into it.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 3:33:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 16, 2011, 3:35:55 PM PDT]

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 4:19:19 PM PDT
Mark Silver says:
Thank you, Tar. I actually am trying The Gunslinger again - for the fourth or fifth time - an am getting into it this time! Maybe reading it on my Kindle is making the difference. Thanks for your kind input!

Posted on Apr 27, 2011, 7:22:21 AM PDT
Definitely put in the effort! This was actually my first SK book ever - took it from my dad's bookshelf and read it at school in the 5th grade, lol. Its very very prequel-ish, and even tho it starts slow in comparison to most King books, it had me from the first line. The mystery of the Main in Black, the loneliness of the desert, his compulsion to find the Tower and not really knowing what or why but knowing that human existence may be riding on him finding it?

There's so much built up in so few words, that as a boy I was hooked. Now after reading the series its probably only my 4th favorite or so, but still very good in my opinion. A little over halfway through it really picks up I think.

Posted on Jul 30, 2011, 5:05:53 PM PDT
S. Taylor says:
I am right there with you. I have read and enjoyed many of SK's books, but I cannot seem to read past page 75 or so of Gunslinger. I have tried three times now and get a little further each time, but still end up giving up.

Posted on Jul 31, 2011, 5:15:48 AM PDT
Terriermom says:
I just started this series. I absolutely hated the first book. I read some of the reviews that said it was a prequel and the series would pick up in the second book. It does. Just force yourself through the first book. The second book is so much better.

Posted on Jul 31, 2011, 4:20:55 PM PDT
Mark Silver says:
Thanks for your responses! I made it through The Gunslinger (finally) and am going to start the next book. Cheers, SK fans!

Posted on Apr 26, 2012, 11:07:22 AM PDT
C. Graber says:
The first book is probably my favorite of them all. I don't see how anyone could not "Get into" it. I was hooked from the first sentence, "The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed." How is that not immediately gripping? You have your hero and the adversary immediately, and the the journey to the meeting fills in the missing parts and sets up the rest of the 6 (now 7) books. Man, I must understand and view writing in a far different manner than some of these reviewers. I find the ambiguity and mystery in this volume to be the best part. It left me wondering and anxious to devour the rest to see what this tower was, who Roland really is, why must he pursue this quest?

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012, 7:41:06 AM PDT
Lionel Hutz says:

I too was stuck on "The Gunslinger" for a long time. I tried to read it several times, but ended up putting it down. It bothered me too, because it was so short in comparison to other works of his I read (IT, The Stand). What I eventually did was download the audiobook as well as the updated version of the novel.

King admits to writing this first installment when he was a young novelist trying to impress people. Because of this, he made it more "artsy" and less "easily-understandable" (in my opinion). It is also hard to grasp because you are left with so many questions. Who are these people? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? I too, felt the same way when I read it. Finally I sucked it up and finished it and was so glad I did. The end of "Gunslinger" is amazing and leaves you wanting more. "Drawing" is also very good, but "Wastelands" might be one of the best I have ever read. It's pace is magnificent and the story keeps getting better and better. I am only on "Wizard and Glass" now, but the books take no break.

Trust me, muscle through the first book and you will be so glad you did. The story is amazing, and I feel some of his best work. I used to be in the same position as you. Didn't even want to give it a shot, never saw myself into fantasy novels. This is much more than that. It's incredible. It's like The Stand on steroids.

Hope this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012, 8:25:29 AM PDT
Mark Silver says:
I *totally* agree with you, Richard, and thank you for your reply! Happy to report that I did just as you suggest and finished "The Gunslinger" enjoyed "Drawing" and am now on "The Wastelands". I'm now into The Dark Tower series and I'm very happy about it!

Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012, 2:36:46 PM PDT
Stuart says:
I had the same issue Mark. I made it part of the way through the audiobook a few years ago but stopped listening to it. I just picked up the latest edition on Kindle and made my way through it. I gave it a 4/5 stars as I think the philosophical questions the Man in Black posed towards the end of the novel were really intriguing. The story was a slow burn but worth the effort for sure - I'm hoping the subsequent novels are more rewarding. I'm about to dive into book 2... wish me luck!

Posted on May 9, 2012, 5:12:56 PM PDT
Mark Silver says:
Stuart, you will love the second book "The Drawing of the Three". So great and super-entertaining.

Posted on May 10, 2012, 1:13:06 PM PDT
Stuart says:
Thanks Mark, I'm about a tenth of the way in and already I find myself much more engrossed than with the first book!

Posted on May 17, 2012, 5:42:07 PM PDT
The first book is a masterpiece. I don't know, maybe your reading the revised one? It's not very hard to understand, he has a couple flashbacks, but that's normal and they explain how he became a gunslinger. If chronology bothers people, I hope they never watch Pulp Fiction.

Posted on Sep 15, 2012, 1:51:22 PM PDT
I bought the first three books of the series years ago when I worked night shift at a hospital switch board. At the time they were the only three that had been published. I absolutely loathed the first one when I started reading it and threw it down after only a few chapters and didn't even want to finish it. A few weeks later I went back to it. Hated it just as much as the second time and the only thing that kept me going was that I was determined I wasn't going to waste the money I had spent on it by not finishing it. The last third of the book was a little better than the first, but as I closed it I looked regretfully at the other two and wished with all my heart I had not made the purchases.

I opened the second book grimly and prepared myself for more forced reading. Within minutes I was hooked and could not put it down. I blew through the second one and then the third and when I finished those I despaired of the fact that there was no fourth one. When the rest of the series was published over the years I made my way to the book store and bought them hard copy...there was no way I could wait for them to come out in paperback. This series overall was absolutely amazing and I am so glad I read it. However I hated the first one and still do to this day. It was a necessary read though to be able to appreciate the rest of the series. So I would say absolutely read them all. You might be one of those people that love the first book and I hope you do. If you find yourself hating it though....don't give up because the rest of it gets so much better.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2013, 5:17:07 AM PDT
007 says:
You can't get into it because it's bad. Just--plain--bad. It never should have been published. If anyone but King had tried, they'd have been ridiculed by the publisher and flogged on the spot. It's just that bad. I'm going to force myself to read the second book, because all of the fan-boys swear it's miraculous. I'll give it a shot because it's the "great" Stephen King, but if this the type of writing I have to look forward to, I am just shocked that he makes any money doing it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2013, 5:18:10 AM PDT
007 says:
The opening line was fantastic--I agree. Unfortunately that was the only good sentence he assembled in the entire book.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2013, 9:12:11 AM PDT
Stuart says:
I agree. Had it not been King, I doubt it would have ever seen the light of day. Give the second one a shot though and post again with your thoughts. Book One was a struggle for me. I found it boring but I have enjoyed the subsequent efforts.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2013, 5:24:47 PM PDT
Marcus says:
^^^ This ^^^ Same with me, "The Gunslinger" just didn't do it for me, and I really enjoyed, "Drawing of the Three" which I accidentally read first (didn't know it was part of a series, back when it first came out - just saw it on the shelf and bought it without research), and actually borrowed the audio-book version of the 1st book from my local library - it was all on cassette tapes - about 15 or so tapes total.

I STIlL couldn't get through it! The narrator's voice was a drone that put me right to sleep everytime - I had to listen to it over and over again, and only retained some of it - but I might give it another go after I finish this last book, since he did a re-write or whatever.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2013, 8:33:39 AM PST
I've read every SK novel, except for the Dark Tower books (although I did skip over the two he co-wrote with Peter Straub). I can't get through anything in the Dark Tower series, unfortunately. Some say they get better after #1 in the series, but I disagree.
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Participants:  14
Total posts:  21
Initial post:  Mar 11, 2011
Latest post:  Nov 12, 2013

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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King (Audio Cassette - May 1, 1998)
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