Wolves of the Calla – Stephen King
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World on their quest for the Dark Tower. Their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis. But beyond the tranquil farm town, the ground rises to the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is stealing the town's soul. The Wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to. Their guns, however, will not be enough . . . .
This is a review of book #5 in the Dark Tower series. The review is spoiler-free, but you might want to check out my thoughts on book #1 (The Gunslinger), book #2 (The Drawing of the Three), book #3 (The Waste Lands), and book #4 (Wizard and Glass).
Review: On their way to the Dark Tower, Roland and his band of gunslingers find themselves in a town where almost everyone is a twin. Once every 20 years, creatures called Wolves come out of the east and kidnap one child from every set of twins. No one knows why this happens, but the townspeople need Roland’s help to make it stop.
I don’t want to admit that I was bored by a Stephen King book, but . . . I was bored by this one. Wolves of the Calla is over 700 pages, and it’s very bloated. It seems like a bridge book that connects the first half of the series to the second half. Nothing new or surprising is revealed about the main characters. They feel stagnant. They’re just going through the same gunslinger routine that they’ve gone through in previous books. I understand that this novel is setting up the events that happen later, but it was still difficult for me to get through.
There are some elements of the story that I love. As always with Stephen King books, the world-building is phenomenal. King always blows my mind with his ability to create creepy places. The southwestern-type landscape is vivid. The towns in the Calla are weird, believable, and inhabited by a strange set of characters. I really like the terrifying descriptions of the “Roont” twins and the mystery surrounding the Wolves. Those things kept me reading through the slow parts.
My biggest complaint is the excruciating slowness. I often found my attention wandering. The Wolves don’t show up until the last 70ish pages, and the battle is over so quickly that it isn’t really satisfying. The rest of the book is mostly world-building, dialogue, and setup for events that haven’t happened yet. It’s interesting, but plowing through 600+ pages of it is a slog.
Even though Wolves of the Calla isn’t my favorite book in the series, I’m still enjoying the Dark Tower books overall. I’m excited to find out what happens next.