I had heard great things about The Dark Tower series, and even tried to read this once before, long ago, but abandoned it. Tried again with the audiobook version and made it through … but I’m still not a fan and will probably not be continuing. For most of the book I was pretty lost – there isn’t a lot of backstory or explicit “world building” to let the reader know what’s going on. It’s mostly a lot of flashbacks that the gunslinger Roland has on a journey to find the man in black. The best part was towards the end when we get some answers on what the Dark Tower (which for unexplained reasons is the gunslinger’s real destination) really is.
Somehow the Dark Tower is a link between universes; not only parallel universes to our own, but also up and down in scale. We can observe down to a subatomic particle level; each atom is like a cluster of galaxies itself. If we go up, our own universe may exist on the tip of a blade of grass or within a grain of sand existing in a higher-up universe. Somehow the Dark Tower pulls all these things together. There are things and people from our own universe somehow teleported or stuck into Roland’s wasteland; for instance there is a boy Jake who the man in black killed, or saw being killed in our world (hit by a car) and then he was transported alive and well into Roland’s path.
The universe thing is kind of a neat idea. Also in the book is kind of a hint of an interesting post-apocalyptic world that has “moved on” – everything is dirty and dreary and mostly miserable in Roland’s world. But despite this, the storyline in this first installment was hard for me to follow and didn’t really draw me in; I was barely able to make myself finish the thing.