Wednesday 4 March 2015

Devouring Stephen King: The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla

Ah, Stephen King. Stephen King has called himself the junk food of reading, and whilst I think he's better than he thinks he is, he's definitely no Shakespeare. To which, in reading week, I said THANK GOD, and finally, FINALLY finished reading Wolves of the Calla.

Do you know how long it's been since I finished a Stephen King book? I reviewed From A Buick 8 towards the end of July last year, but I think I finished it a bit before that, so in a numbers sense, it's been FUCKING AGES since I finished a Stephen King book. Pretty much since that time, I have been in the middle of Wolves of the Calla, except saying I was in the middle of it instead of about 100 pages in for about 6 months would be a bit of an exaggeration. It's not even that I didn't want to read it (except... Well, we'll get to that) but just that I, as you know because I tell you all the time, have had extremely little spare time to read anything but Shakespeare for approximately 1000 years.

So anyway. Wolves of the Calla! My big plan with these last 3 Dark Tower books was to read them over the summer, in the garden, and just luxuriate in the sunshine with them. Clearly, this didn't happen, something which I'm going to attribute to visiting my dad in hospital a lot last summer, because it's definitely not because I was reading too many other books instead*. But anyway. I have finally finished Wolves of the Calla, and in about a year, I will probably have finished The Dark Tower series entirely. Woo!

Notice how I'm avoiding telling you much about the book? There are a couple of reasons for this: I don't really know how to talk about the Dark Tower books because there's so much previous knowledge required to review each book in the series that very little makes sense unless you have a vague idea of what's gone before. In Wolves of the Calla, the heroes we have met in the other books are faced with the challenge of saving a town from the wolves, a gang of bastards on horseback who steal one twin from a pair and return them back broken and wrong. That's the basic thing they have to do, BUT there is so much going on that relates to what has gone before and what is to come that sometimes you forget what they're actually there to do.

Which leads onto my second reason for avoidance... On revisiting this book, I've kind of come to see that it's kindofsortofnotthatgood. Ok, it's not a BAD book, and holy shit did it keep me riveted for about 300 pages one Sunday night, but at the same time... It's long. It's longer than it needs to be, and it does constantly make you forget the main thread of the story. There's an annoying 'secret' kept from the reader until practically the very end, and there are so many offshoots that will one day be relevant but aren't to this story that it can get kind of annoying. BUT I'm being too mean and I totally read the crap out of this book and it's really not that bad, especially if you're into The Dark Tower series which I can almost guarantee you will be by the end of book 2. But objectively speaking? Kindofnotamazing.

So, yes. Mostly I'm super glad I've finished this at last, and that Song of Susannah is waaaaay shorter. Which is obviously no guarantee I'm going to read it any time soon, but I'm alive with the possibility of maybe doing just that. But probably not. Ok, now I'm just rambling so we're good here, right? Look, just read The Dark Tower series already, do I really have to tell you again?

*Note: A lottttt of shit was going on last summer... Housemates leaving, housemates moving in, babies being born, bbqs to be had... It was a pretty busy time, I can probably let myself off for not reading all that much.


  1. Oh King, I heart you but a LOT of your books seem longer than they need to be.

    I will read the Dark Tower series. Eventually.

  2. Nothing wrong with reading "junk food" - it's good for that reason!
    i will eventually read the Dark Tower series. One day...