A friend and I are tackling this series once again. We've both already read all 8 books but with the new movie coming out in February, we wanted a refresher. Plus, this is such a damn good series, how could we not??
I believe I read The Gunslinger first in either 8th or 9th grade and then I just eagerly awaited all the books as they came out. The first 3 books are paperbacks so I'm guessing I grabbed them all at once? Who knows. My mind has blotted out middle and high school for the most part.
Roland Deschain is our intrepid gunslinger. The first book introduces us to Roland as he crosses a desert in search of the Man in Black. The Man in Black is pure evil with the ability to bring the dead back to life. If you are a fan of King, the Man in Black appears in other books as well. The gunslinger was raised in a world that is no longer. Once his world, and those he loved, were destroyed, he set out for his destiny of destroying the Man in Black.
Along the way, Roland comes across Jake, a young boy of 9 who is mysteriously and suspiciously set in the middle of Roland's path. Jake was killed by the Man in Black in his world (basically OUR world) and ended up in Roland's world. The gunslinger comes to love the little boy but his pursuit of the Man in Black can't be stopped, even if it means the death of Jake.
Re-reading this book reminded again of King's lyrical storytelling. He's not being funny or creepy or disturbing here. There's bloodshed but not in the way King is known for. This is a story unfolding into another story with flashbacks into more stories. THIS is storytelling. This is amazing characters on an adventure in a world that is unlike any other. This reminds why I adore this series so much.