It was okay with flashes of some fantasy brilliance underneath. I have been informed by a friend I trust that this is one of the weakest books so I will push on and read others in the series. I just wasn't overly impressed by this as a novel.
The juxtaposition of the book was not great as an entry into a series. It jumped all over the place chronologically and didn't provide an easy smooth ride. I like to think of writers as pilots
(well I just made that metaphor up then but I shall think of them as pilots from now on). Their job is to guide you from point A to point B while helping you relax and focus on the sights. You don't want to be caught up wondering where you're actually going and whether the writer is taking you to your desired destination (or even: whether there's a fire in the cockpit; whether turbulence is ahead; whether you have a full tank of petrol). Actually maybe writers are meant to be more like tour guides... Yes, writers are tour guides of the imagination!
Either way this was not a smooth ride. It was like seeing a gold nugget still coated in the rock. every so often the gold would shine through and keep me entertained but then I'd notice the bulky nature of the rock rather than the gleaming gold. That is when I'd wonder where on earth the pilot was taking me. Apparently he was meant to be taking me to the Dark Tower with a side-trip or two along the way.
I'm sure it didn't help that our hero was somewhat amoral and had no qualms with killing whoever happened to be a liability. Not cool.
To quote Terminator 2:
John Connor: You just can't go around killing people.
The Terminator: Why?
John Connor: What do you mean why? 'Cause you can't.
The Terminator: Why?
John Connor: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this
And I don't think our gunslinger fully grasped the concept. I can't help but wondering what kind of chaos would ensue if Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy got together and wrote. Or at least collaborated. You'd have gore in the extreme!
Still I'm curious to see what Stephen King makes of this multiverse containing series. This is my first King book and I want to see whether I can find something better of his to read that is non horror. (I will not read pure horror books or watch pure horror films with no more plot than scream and run). Anyway this was just not my book but I'm sure others may like it more.