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Wolves of the Calla, book #5 of The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Review by Mike 2004-03-24

For those of you that are seriously allergic to spoilers I need to point out that even though I don't give any specific events away, some things in the review may reveal the on-going plot of the series in a very general way.

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.

5 amulets.

The Dark Tower
The Gunslinger (1982, 2003)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Song of Susannah (scheduled for June 2004)
The Dark Tower (scheduled for September 2004)

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