Monday, August 04, 2008

The Gunslinger

I just finished up reading The Gunslinger series by Stephen King. It was a long epic, 7 books.

I started reading it around the early 1990s. I read the first three right as they came out. I bought them right at the bookstore. It was sensational, King's best work [along with the original The Stand]. Then he stopped writing them for a long time. I was hoping for the later books but they never came out. Some years passed and I kind of forgot about it a bit.

Then I heard this story that King would resume and finish the epic. At the time I didn't pay much attention to it though I heard he did finish it. I wasn't as much into reading at that time in the early 2000s.

Last fall I was just in the library and I happened upon it again. And there it was, the gunslinger all finished. I started out reading book 3. I couldn't remember if I'd read the first 3 earlier or just the first two. Around 50 pages in I realized I'd read it years ago. I also realized I needed a refresher and I went back and reread books 1-3 after all these years.

Then finally onto books 4-7. The truth is the second part of the series, especially books 4-6 is not as good as the original books 1-3. In 4-6 it labors a bit. Plus it gets a bit strange as the author King inserts himself as a prominent character in the series! I didn't really care for that side trip. I kept waiting for King to get out of the way so it could get on with Roland's story.

Nobody claims that the stuff in the later part of Kings career is close to as good as what he did in the earlier years. And this is true of the gunslinger as well. Still he finishes pretty strong in book 7 so that was good. The ending was kind of a surprise.

No comments: