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Here begins the saga of Roland Deschain…

What to Expect

In this first installment in King’s The Dark Tower saga, readers are introduced to Roland Deschain, the gunslinger. Roland is looking to reach the Dark Tower and find out its unreachable secrets. The journey he goes on to try and get there is one of King’s best stories ever told.

Written in eight installments, the first, The Gunslinger, is the reader’s introduction into the world where Roland operates. This first novel is crucial in understanding the Man in Black and the role he plays in Roland’s search as well as the world Roland moves through. Jake, a crucial character, is also introduced in this first installment.

Paperback Edition of The Gunslinger

The Ruling

While I do believe this novel sets up many characters and ideas that travel throughout all of the Dark Tower novels, it is easily the least exciting and page-turning. This novel is one the reader must push through the get to the good stuff. As you can see from the Goodreads synopsis, I rated this novel 3/5 stars. It is the least riveting of all eight Dark Tower novels. However, it lays a lot of the groundwork for later events.

Pushing through this boring first novel will yield much adventure in the future, dear reader. Push through you must. I am admittedly not a huge fan of King’s work — except for the Dark Tower series. The Dark Tower series gives us characters we care about, adventures we feel a part of, and events that spook the heck out of us.

Movie Cover Edition of The Gunslinger — we’ll get to that later

Who Should Read The Dark Tower Series?

The saga and story throughout the series is epic, similar to that of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. Around every corner, the reader is surprised, worried, anxious as to what comes next. This series is King’s masterpiece. If you enjoy sprawling stories that traverse thousands of pages, this is definitely the start of a journey for you. The Gunslinger is the shortest novel in the series, coming in at only 224 pages.

Give it a shot, and push through the find the gold on the other side of The Gunslinger.

If you want to check the book out, feel free to click on below via Amazon. Remember, if you buy, we do get $.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms. You can find her on Instagram @wellreadredhead18.

Book Reviews

What Have We Done: Alex Finlay Produces Another Hit

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  • Jenna: A stay at home mom with a secret assassin past
  • Donnie: An alcoholic rock star
  • Nico: An executive producer of a reality television show

They all have a past, but who is out to get them?

The Plot

Jenna, Donnie, and Nico share a troubled past. They were all orphans who lived at Savior House — which is much less savior, much more terror. When their friend Benny, a famous judge, is murdered and the FBI comes looking, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico must race against the clock to figure out who is targeting them.

The Verdict

From the author of The Night Shift, which I reviewed here, I would expect nothing less than what Finlay has delivered. Finlay notoriously creates stories with palpable thrill and spine-tingling revelations.

I particularly enjoyed the character of Jenna. She is a reformed assassin living a normal life as a new stepmom. When she is called in to make a hit and her family is threatened, she goes badass mom on ’em. While I still thought Donnie and Nico as characters were engaging, it was nothing for what I felt for Jenna.

Also, major props to Finlay for creating a character that kills with a very unique weapon. Read it to find out more!

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Book Reviews

“The Writing Retreat” Gone Bad: Julia Bartz’s Debut

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Keeping it all in the family, Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat is the debut novel of the sister of Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, which I reviewed here.

I was much more impressed with The Writing Retreat than I was We Were Never Here.

The Plot

Five up and coming female writers under 30 are invited to a writing retreat hosted by the reclusive and acclaimed horror writer Rosa Vallo. Rosa reveals the details of the retreat: each writer must complete a full length novel from scratch over the next month. The best novel wins a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Rosa.

Suddenly, the retreat turns into a nightmare when one writer goes missing in the snowy terrain outside.

The novel hinges on friendships in turmoil and has a focus on LGBT+ representation as well as interpersonal female relationships. The novel explores the dark publishing world and the search for fame and the Great American Novel.

The Verdict

This novel is atmospheric and intellectual, page turning, and the English major’s required reading. I absorbed this novel and found Julia Bartz’s writing and conceptual chops to be leagues above her sister’s.

Ths novel releases on February 21, 2023 and it should be in your cart right now.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Buy it here!

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Book Reviews

A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”

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The Plot

“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?”  — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.

The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.

Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.

The Verdict

This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.

It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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