on 9 April 2004
After another extensive break from The Dark Tower Stephen King finally decided that he had let Roland and his companions (and all the readers of course) wait long enough. Wolves of the Calla is the fifth book of the series, and in many ways it feels like the beginning of the end.
This is an extremely well balanced book. King starts out with unresolved threads from the previous books in the bottom of the cauldron, stirs in a new plot line to add volume, and spices it with some interesting, unforeseen complications. For a while it simmers quite nicely, but then he gradually raises the temperature, making you turn the pages faster and faster, and when you run out of pages to read you feel disappointed that it’s over for this time.
What impressed me the most is that despite the long time in between the different installments King has managed to stay true to (and develop) the main characters all the way. Wolves of the Calla also introduces a new, important character that I really enjoyed. Or really, it’s a person cast out from another of his books that has found a new home in the Dark Tower series. I know some people think this kind of recycling is just pure laziness, but in this case it works out very well.
As you would expect, the suspense lies not so much in whether Roland and his companions will succeed in finding a way to reach the tower, but in which plot line(s) will be resolved in this book, and what will carry over to the final two volumes. I felt satisfied even though I was left hanging there desperately holding on to the cliff, which is the perfect way to end a “middle book”. The tower is definitely closer now.
on 10 November 2003
This book is a worthy part of King's greatest work, the fifth book of a seven book saga, it brings us even closer to knowing the mysteries of the Dark Tower. Is the room at the top really empty? Who is the Crimson King? Why are things breaking down?
It continues to weave together all of the worlds Stephen King has created, answering questions that were raised in other novels by him.
This story shows King at his best, creating characters that are 100% believable, creating empathy in the reader, and even stronger emotions. I at least found myself both crying and laughing with this book. As usual King raises new questions and plot-hangers in this book as soon as he answers the questions asked in Wizard and Glass, which makes it a harsh ordeal waiting for the next installment.
on 17 November 2003
just like to add to the comments posted above. If you are a King fan, or more specifically a DT series fan, then you will of course be purchasing this book!
Was I the only one a little dissapointed? Don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of the Dark Tower Saga and waited eagerly for this next installement, but have just finished it (prompting me to add this review) and feel a little empty. This book contains so many references to Kings own work that it becomes almost a homage to himself. The book is also filled with coincidences and "..as if by magic" sort of stuff, it just left me wondering.
perhaps im just being abit hard, but for a book that has taken years to come to fruition, it just feels rushed. Anyway, of course Im looking forward to the remaining two volumes with baited breath.
Hope this doesnt put you off, read it for yourself and make up your own mind
on 16 December 2003
What can I say about this book? More of the same? Yes, and no. King has written a very engaging novel here. He has managed to lead us from the past 4 books, further along the path to the Dark Tower, but whilst he has continued the existing theme, this book, in itself, has a very enthralling sub-plot that made me unable to put it down and that I found very enjoyable to read.
If you are a King fan you will also find that as in some of his other books, there are answers to tie up loose ends from his other stories. This is highly entertaining and also has the added benefit of reviving forgotten memories of his past great works.
If I have one grumble (I won't say fault), it is that he states in his notes in the book that this is the fifth of seven, and I now just can't wait for them to be published.
If you liked the past four of the Dark Tower tales, you will love this.
Stephen King's novel "Wolves Of The Calla" is the fifth instalment of the seven part epic "Dark Tower" series. The novel runs for 611 pages out of the series total of 3712 pages. The book starts off with King's `final argument' which is the last introduction to the books for the series. There's also a two page `afterword' at the end giving the reader a little more insight into the writing of the book. As in all of the other `Dark Tower' books, the large version includes colour illustrations by Bernie Wrightson that depict scenes within the tale.
Taking off from where we left the last instalment "Wizard And Glass", the book takes a while to really get going. King spends a long time setting the scene again, no doubt aware that when the book was first released there had been a six year gap between the two novels. Once the plot finally begins to take shape, King builds on the suspense of the battle that will inevitably take place. A whole host of new and uniquely interesting characters are introduced throughout the novel, drawing the reader deeper into the strange atmosphere of Mid-World.
From "Wizard And Glass" the reader has now found a new and deeper love for the character of Roland, which King utilises with developing on the characters little traits and quirks. As the storyline builds, King carefully weaves in clever sub-plots that incorporate some of his other previous novels. This, as I'm sure you are by now aware, has been a recurring theme within the "Dark Tower" series, but never so dominating as within this book.
The tale mounts to its final conclusion, which although short, delivers an action packed climax that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Yet again, the novel closes on a dramatic cliff-hanger, setting the reader up for the next part of this epic adventure "Song Of Susannah".
All in all, I found the book an enjoyable read from start to finish, but unlike previous instalments, the story-line seemed to weaken somewhat through the middle. King is a writer who certainly likes to write for pages and pages simply setting a scene. For me this ended up with each chapter seemingly over padded, which on occasion made the novel seem to loose itself. Nevertheless, the novel was certainly a good read.
on 22 April 2004
If you've read the first 4 Dark Tower books and are wondering whether thisis worth picking up, the answer is yes!
There have been comments on 'Wolves' being too long with unnecessary'padding' and a slow pace. This isn't the case. Well, this IS a 600 pagebook, the fifth part of a seven book series which obviously isn't rushingto end the story because we've still got another 1300 pages left to readin the form of 'Song of Susannah' and 'The Dark Tower', the last twoinstallments. This really is an epic series.
This book concentrates on adding depth to our characters (which, to me,isn't 'padding') as well as re-introducing Father Callahan, who should befamiliar to anyone who's read 'Salem's Lot. In fact, the priest's storytakes up a good portion of the book, but it's great, interesting stuff toread, with realisation dawning on you with every page-turn as yougradually understand how it connects with the Dark Tower universe. Thistruly is King at his best - anyone who believes he has lost his touch isplain wrong!
One thing I suggest is perhaps waiting until 'Song of Susannah' comes outbefore touching 'Wolves', or else you may, like me, find waiting for thenext chapter unbearable! Remember, this is ONE continuing story split intoseven books, and 'Wolves' ends on quite a cliffhanger.
Of course, if you are new to the 'Tower' you must start at the beginningwith 'The Gunslinger'. There's no two ways about it, you wouldn't be ableto get into it with book five. It still baffles me how so many StephenKing fans haven't even heard of Roland's ka-tet. It's time this changed.This series beats 'The Stand', King's most popular novel, into submission,and we haven't even reached the Tower yet! But it is closer...
on 24 May 2004
It's interesting to see the various reviews that have already been set out about Wolves of the Calla. The beauty of any form of art is the different responses that it engenders in different people.
In my opinion (for what it's worth) this is the best of the Dark Tower novels to date. I wasn't bothered by King's self-references, and actually thought the reference to his own work at the end posed some fascinating questions about the nature of the universes described within the saga.
I can understand how some could describe the book as slow-paced, but I didn't feel that way myself. I actually found the whole 500 pages of preparation for the final scenes to be incredibly engrossing and tense. I was actually slightly shaking with nerves towards the culmination of the key scenes at the end.
The cliff-hanger is a beast, but I would expect no less. I have been very lucky with the Dark Tower having not read any of them until march of this year. I have now devoured the five volumes in a short space of time without needing to wait for the next one to come out. Finally, though, I have a fraught wait for Volume 6.
I hope anyone who is yet to read this book enjoys it as much as I did.
on 17 February 2006
For me, 'Wizard and Glass' represents the pinnacle of the Dark Tower series. I eagerly awaited the publication of 'Wolves of the Calla' after reading 'Wizard and Glass', and was unfortunately disappointed when I finally came to read it.
The book is little more than an allegory of 'The Magnificent Seven', and unashamedly makes several references to that fact. The town that the gunslingers help save is called Calla Bryn Sturgis - Bryn as in Yul Brynner, who plays Chris in 'The Magnificent Seven', and Sturgis as in John Sturges, who directed the film.
This in itself is not a criticism, as many writers have produced extremely good books that are allegorical in nature; George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and CS Lewis's 'Chronicles of Narnia' are the first that immediately spring to mind. But 'The Magnificent Seven' was itself an allegory of a Japanese story, and was later allegoried in 'The Seven Samurai'. You kind of get sick of allegory after a while.
Nineteen is something else you get sick of, and coincidence. King tries to push the coincidence thing, trying to make the reader feel like he is following a predetermined path and instil a sense of fate and destiny - ka, if you will - into the narrative. What he succeeds in doing is repeating himself. A lot. So much it almost begs for parody.
Next, the reference to 'Salem's Lot' is unjustifiable. He immediately implies that with Callahan being apparently fictional, then he - Mr King himself - is a character in his book. Bad idea, and a big disappointment.
Despite its flaws, it is well-written, and does just enough to keep you interested in what will happen when Roland finally does reach the Dark Tower. However, it could have been better.
on 30 June 2005
This is without a doubt my favourite of the first five and the last two will have quite a challenge equalling it. For what is possibly the longest of the books (hard to say seeing as it changes size as well as length) it really does its size justice. Where I consider the great length of Wizard and Glass to be a downfall as it dragged on, there was not a page wasted in this and I had to put it down deliberately so I wouldn't read it all too fast!
Wolves of The Calla is essentially a side track story that does not develop a great deal in the search for the Tower but is a welcome story. It encompasses the battle against the wolves of Thunderclap who steal the children of the Calla. It also includes an extended story of Susannahs child and the powers that attempt to ensure its birth. Finally it introduces Father Callahan, a priest inexorably linked to the Ka-Tet, who introduces Black Thirteen, the most powerful of Maerlyns Rainbow to the Ka-Tet - If you do not know of Maerlyns Rainbow, you need to go back to the other books and this is not for you yet!
This story is absolutely fantastic. It is a delight to read as it contains many twists and turns it is just very hard to put down. I would definitely advise this, but obviously if you have read the first four then you probably will read it anyway. If you havent, do!
on 15 November 2003
As King constantly reminds us, this Book is part of a larger work that may possibly be his swansong, but really should not be reviewed merely on its own.
To those unfamiliar with the Dark Tower, I would strongly recommend picking up a copy of the previous books in the series. Very few King fans will be disappointed. Those familiar with the Dark Tower series will know what to expect.
Roland and his ka-tet have reached the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis, a quiet farm town that has a serious problem. Most children born here are twins, and every generation or so, a gang of "Wolves" kidnap one of each twin, returning them a few days later physically and mentally destroyed. This episode of Roland's quest also contains other sub-plots relevant to the ongoing story of the Tower as well, of course, in particular the story surrounding a rose growing in a vacant lot in downtown Manhattan, and one of his gang, Susannah, falling pregnant with what could be a demonic offspring.
Of course, to better understand the characters and complexities of the plot, it is essential by now to have read the other books in the series, but the plot alone is well worth the trouble. The characters are still incredibly portrayed and the scenes are rich and vivid. Stephen King is a fine writer, and this book is no exception. Within the book, he makes several Dickensian references to fiction and coincidence, and brings other characters from other books that he has written into play (most notably, Father Callahan, who was last seen leaving Salem's Lot on a greyhound bus).
The ending may dissapoint some, or delight others in speculating what the tower is, and who (if any) will reach it. However, as I have stated, this book should not be judged as a stand-alone novel, and only time, and the final two books, will tell if the entire series was worth it. However, if they are this well written and well paced, it is likely that the Dark Tower series will be King's finest work! If you have enjoyed any of Stephen Kings' novels in the past, then this book, and the others in the series is highly recommended.