4 Takes the First Book and Drives ForwardFleedleflump | 20/06/2007 | See all Fleedleflump's reviews (58)Top 100 Reviewer Top 100 Games Reviewer Top 100 Music Reviewer Top 10 Books Reviewer Anyone put off by the first book in the Dark Tower series (The Gunslinger) needs to read this one (and even more so the third installment "The Wastelends").King's writing style has truly come alive between this book and the last. He retains his gift for macabre description and haunting diction, whilst writing a book with far more sense of purpose. The Gunslinger had panache, but this also has intrigue.It's very clear that King is no "fantasy author" in the strictest sense. This makes his forays into the genre both surprising and interesting; there are no staples to fall back on, no predictable outcomes. There's just the characters and stories born in the mind of a man with a rampant imagination and the ability to collate the whole mess and write it down in a way that's(mostly coherent)coherent.In this book our hard-bitten gunslinger Roland makes forays from his (fantasy) world into our (real) world and retrieves the companions who will join him on his quest through the rest of the books in the series. It's a well executed, fascinating novel unlike any other I have ever read, and whilst the writing style is still a little obscure it's a country mile ahead of The Gunslinger in terms of accessibility.This is the book where you'll start to get really interested, and believe me they get better from here.PS: It's worth noting that these recent editions of the paperbacks come with a foreword and "thus-far-synopsis" by King, where he sharesd his inspirations for the Dark Tower books and some of his thoughts on writing, the universe and everything. They make for intriguing reading, and certainly improve the novels as a whole.