DP: The Man in Black Fled Across the Desert…

 "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Maybe it’s no “Call me Ishmael,” but the above sentence starts the beginning of an epic journey (for once, the term “epic,” applied appropriately, and not uttered from the mouth of an emo teenage dirtbag,) the tale of Roland of Deschain’s journey towards the Dark Tower.

I wouldn’t say the aptly named first book/novella, The Gunslinger, was my favorite of the seven (now eightDark Tower series.  In fact, I have a hard time separating the novels in my mind, let alone choosing a favorite.  This series transported me in the way any good novel should, but through the series, I also developed a deep attachment to most of the characters, including the non-human ones (Oy! Oy!)

Oy the billybumbler

Oy the billybumbler

As an added bonus, King’s magnum opus included both oblique and more obvious references to at least a dozen of his other former novels, such as The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon, as well as some of his short stories (Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual.)  Some of the references are small, almost name drops, while others manage to reintroduce interesting characters from previous novels.  You get answers to questions, and back-story to characters and events that you never knew existed.  While the length of the series may seem daunting at first, by the last page you’re mourning the end of the story and wishing there was more.   A story that effects you emotionally and whose characters you come to love  is not as common as you might think, but that is what the Dark Tower series represents for me, everything that is good about reading!

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