Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Wolves of the Calla

The road to the Dark Tower is fraught with peril, and Gunslingers cant turn their backs on people in need.

The simple townsfolk of Calla Bryn Sturgis are in need of some gunslinger assistance. Every twenty years or so, the Wolves come out of Thunderclap and steal away one of each set of the town's twins. This may not sound so bad, but in Calla Bryn Sturgis twins are commonplace, and a single child is a rare occurrence. After half the twins are taken, they are returned months later, called "roont" (ruined) by the townsfolk, the kids are shells of their former selves,doomed to a short life, mentally empty, and destined to grow to a hulking size. The wolves are due to come in a month. Which of course is where Roland and the gang come in handy. The townsfolk want the gunslinger's aid, but while the gunslingers are trying to protect the town, they must also protect a single red rose that grows in a vacant lot in New York City. The rose is important as it's safety is mysteriously tied to the Dark Tower which Roland seeks.

To further complicate things the gunslingers face a few pressing personal issues that threaten to doom their quest for the Dark Tower.

Wolves of the Calla is one of the strongest Dark Tower books yet. The plot grabbed me early on, and doesn't really let go even at the end. King managed to juggle a lot of elements, yet the book flowed nicely and despite its length of about 750 pages, it didn't have more than a couple slow points.

The people of Calla Bryn Sturgis were an interesting group of folks. I really enjoyed a couple of the characters. The heavily conflicted Benjamin Slightman was an extremely "realistic" character to me, I felt like I could see things from his point of view, but I didn't approve of his actions.

The most important man the gunslingers meet in Calla Bryn Sturgis is Father Callahan. King fans will recognize this guy from 'Salem's Lot. Callahan has quite a story to tell of his life since the events of 'Salem's Lot, from vampire vision, to killings, to alcoholism, to his own death, and his travels in parallel earths...the guy has been through a lot. Somehow, he has wound up in the Calla, and he's got a powerful magical item hidden in his church.

Though in some ways the gunslingers helping the townsfolk seems like a side-quest, that really isn't the case. The overall plot thickens quite a bit, and King really ups the ante for the entire series. Everything is setting up nicely for an absolute gut buster of a finish and I can't wait to see where everything stands once the dust has cleared. I'm definitely hooked and I'm excited for the next two books.

After a couple of slower Dark Tower books, Wolves of the Calla is a pretty much a return to awesome. You really cant go to far wrong with a book that has gun fights, vampires, time travel, robots, lightsabers, demons, and Stephen King's deadly, explosive version of Harry Potter's snitch. There is a lot to love about Wolves of the Calla I really enjoyed this one from the start right up to the lightning paced finish.

Grade: B+


mummazappa said...

Anyone who loves Willie Nelson and reads Stephen King deserves a follow in my book! I found you on bookblogs, great blog!

Ryan said...

Hey! Thanks. Glad you like the blog.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

This sounds awesome. I really need to get on with my reading of The Drawing.

Ryan said...

Seak-Yeah you do! The Drawing of the Three is still my favorite, but Wolves of the Calla is no slouch. I gotta get my hand on the last two volumes.

the Weasel said...

Another superb synopsis, Ryan! I was a little less thrilled with the book, one of those who saw it as more of a side quest, but it was still a great read and hilarious in places. It will get no less than a B from me but no more either.

Ryan said...

The Weasel- yeah, it can definitely be seen as a side quest, but it was an awesome one, so no complaints here.