Wolves of the Calla (Stephen King)

Wolves of the Calla is the fifth novel in The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
Finished on: 8.9.2017
[Here are my reviews of the other novels in the series.]

The ka-tet – Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy – are still on their quest which leads them through Calla Bryn Sturgis when they realize that they are being followed at a distance. It doesn’t take long for their suitors to catch up with them. It turns out that they are locals, joined by Father Callahan who crossed over from New York a long time ago, and they have come to ask the gunslingers for help. But that isn’t everything that they have going on: Additionally, Eddie and Jake travel to New York in their dreams, going to to-dash, which leads them back to the bookstore Jake visited and that seems intimately connected with The Dark Tower.

There were many things about Wolves of the Calla that annoyed me, making this installment of the series one of my least favorite, even if it still managed to pull me in.

Wolves of the Calla features quite a few tropes that I can’t stand. One of them is the “I know, we will do this! – CUT” thing where the characters talking about their plans is hidden from the reader in the most obvious way. (Seriously, if you want me to like your book or film, don’t do that shit.)

The other was the mystical pregnancy angle that starts to be built up in this book and it’s tired, old and borderline misogynistic, especially when it hits the only female character of note in the narrative. Especially when the very fact of the pregnancy is known to the men around that woman and they discuss her fate without involving her. (At least they acknowledge that fact a little bit.) I may have actually preferred if they had made Mia another one of Susannah’s personalities, even though that entire take is also incredibly problematic.

The next thing was the way the “roont” people were handled: it’s just so ableist to call them ruined in the first place and then have them completely sidelined, turned into props, in their own revenge story – it’s very difficult to stomach. That is not to say that they haven’t been violated, but, you know, they aren’t dead and it would have been nice if at least somebody had acknowledged that this is something to be happy about.

In a more neutral way, while I read I was a little annoyed at the constant reference to King’s novel The Stand. I think I have read it, but probably 15 years ago (or even more) and I just didn’t have it all that present. Now, Father Callahan is a character who first appears in The Stand, and Wolves of the Calla continues his story. And it felt like I would have needed more of a feel for him before going into Wolves to really be excited about that. As is, it mostly added length to the novel for me and not much else.

What I did appreciate about Wolves of the Calla was the way the ka-tet treat each other: to see the growth in their relationships and the way they deal with each other evolve was very well done.

As I said, despite the annoyances and frustrations I felt with the novel, it did pull me in and for such a long book, it is a very quick read. But there have definitely been better entries in the series.

Summarizing: Well, gotta push through it a little to continue the series. Not my favorite.


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