My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Stephen King is one of those authors I've loved since I was a young teen (I even visited his house during one summer vacation.) However, being a young teen with a short attention span - and King having the tendency to pen some rather thick tomes - I never finished any King novel I started. Pet Cemetery; Gerald's Game; It. I even wrote an 11 page book report on Cujo my freshman year... having not read the entire thing. So King and I go way back, sorta. We've shared some good, albeit truncated, times.
Well, I have finally got around to finishing my first King novel; the trick was apparently that I needed an audio book. The Gunslinger introduces us to Roland Deschain, the titular Gunslinger, as he traverses a barren desert in search of Man in Black, a shrouded and intriguing antagonist with God-like abilities to possess the minds of people and even raise the dead. Along the way, Roland meets a young boy, Jake Chambers, whose strange past causes Roland to think heavily about the world he lives in, and whose companionship is just another woeful test set forth by the torturous Man in Black.
The Gunslinger is a somewhat disjointed narrative - a Fear-and-Loathing-esque head-trip - one that jumps from present to flashback to alternated reality. But for me this form does a good job at putting us in Roland's own disoriented mind. King's description are spot on without being insensate wordy and his characterization is excellent. All in all I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my trek through Mid-World, and narrator George Guidall was a fitting and entertaining companion. I look forward to continuing the journey.