Once you get to the fifth book in a series, there’s no good way to talk about it without at least spoiling the fact that the main characters are still alive (as in Game of Thrones), so I’ll go ahead and declare a massive spoiler alert right now. The only reason I’m bothering is that I’ve gotten complaints about other books. Anyway: If you haven’t read the first four books in the Dark Tower series, you probably don’t want to read this post, as you certainly wouldn’t want to start with Wolves of the Calla. I’ll start with a quick summary, then make a short list of what I think.
Roland and his ka-tet have made it past Oz (groan), and find themselves somewhere in the middle of the Great Plains (in the general vicinity of Kansas City?), in a small town being attacked every twenty-or-so years by these creatures called Wolves, who take half of the town’s children, most of whom are twins. Roland, etc, figure out what’s going on and fix it. The actual Dark Tower business remains a sort of sub-plot, and there are various travels back to New York and the rose-containing vacant lot. Good times.
And here’s what I think about it: I loved this book, but it’s stupid. I read it at record speed. According to Goodreads, I read this 933-page book in about four days, which is especially interesting since Wizard and Glass took me so long that I gave up in the middle and didn’t pick it up again for at least six months. What’s also funny is that I loved reading it, but I don’t really care what happens next. King didn’t leave us with as nasty a cliffhanger as that of The Waste Lands, but Susannah has just left through a magic door to have some sort of demon-spawn child. What happens next? I really don’t care. I will, of course, be reading the last two books of the series in short order.
Okay, the stupid part. Or stupid parts. Here’s where the super-duper spoiler alert comes in. ROBOTS? Really? And even worse (much worse!) VAMPIRES? Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot, which I hated, is a major character, and he tells his whole story to the ka-tet, of which he is now, apparently a member. There are even word-for-word excerpts from Salem’s Lot. And Stephen King inserts himself directly – or that book, anyway. Ugh. Palmer says it’ll make sense and be worth it in the end, and I surely hope he’s not. Snitches, a la Harry Potter, and light-sabers also make an appearance. I thought Oz was dumb enough. MEH. There’s also this ridiculousness: “She kept a secret spring surrounded by sweet moss, and there he was refreshed.” I just threw up a little in my mouth.
I did, though, find myself able to read despite my eyes rolling so far back in my head. And as much as I complain, this is a good series, and this is a good book. Maybe I care a bit too much at this point. If nothing else, I’ve come this far, so I’m going to see this series through to the end. Wolves of the Calla might be my favorite so far, though the first one, The Gunslinger, is by far the best. I certainly read this one with more enthusiasm than any of the others.
I was going to explain my theory about the various realities that coalesce in this series, but the more I think about it, the less I want to embarrass myself if I’m horribly wrong. To my credit, I figured out the robot crap pretty quickly, though.
I’m getting through books so quickly that I’m running out of news to report from while I’ve been reading them. I ate things, one of my fish died, and I took a video of it snowing today.
Exciting stuff. I have no idea what I’m going to read next.