Title: The Wolves of the Calla
Author: Stephen King
Paperback: 736 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Year Published: 2003
Stephen King delivered another masterpiece with this book.
I just finished the fifth book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and of the first five, it was my favorite. That is a big statement because I loved four out of those five. I don’t want to give a summary of this one like I usually would because it would ruin parts of the first four, and that is no fun. I will talk about some of the great aspects of this book.
The first is the characters. Each character in this gigantic novel, from Roland, our dinh, to little singleton Aaron has a purpose. There are not flat characters or spare characters that are just there to add more people to the crowd. They have distinct personalities and motivations for everything they do. Our band of four main characters have some of the toughest decisions they have had in the series. Should Jake tell Roland what he has seen? Do they all tell Susannah about the demon inside of her? Can Susannah fight Mia and be able to help her ka-tet? The reader gets to see how each character makes their decision and why, which might be part of the reason readers get attached to these characters.
The setting makes one think of an old-fashioned Western movie. There are farmers and ranchers, there is a decision to be made and the town is split in two, and there are four strangers and a bumbler who come waltzing in to save the day. But there are also robots that warn of the wolves coming, yet always seems to be laughing at the humans. There is an old man who knows what The Wolves truly are and has told no one. There is a priest whose story seems awfully familiar and comes from the same place as Jake and Eddie…but more on that later. It seems like it could become cliche, but it never comes close.
I don’t want to really give much away because some of the discoveries that characters make are what make the book. I will touch on the priest, Father Callahan, who escaped to this world after being bit by a vampire and running for years from Jerusalem’s Lot…known to Stephen King readers as Salem’s Lot. Near the end of The Wolves of the Calla the character finds this book and starts to read it. At one point he says “but I am a real person!”, he is reading his story and is flabbergasted. How is his story in this novel, this piece of fiction? I won’t get too detailed in my analysis of what this may mean because I know it is an important theme of the next two books (where Stephen King becomes a character), but I will pose this question. What is a character in a book really? We have all read books where the characters seem like friends of ours and what happens to them impacts us emotionally. Can you imagine how this would be for an author, the one who breathed life into these characters? I look forward to reading the next two books and going deeper into this issue with all of you!
One final note, you may not know this, but I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so when there was a weapon called a Sneetch that was manufactured by Harry Potter, it made me smile!
So go read all The Dark Tower books! When you read them, try to get the editions that have the great illustrations in them. The first one is a little hard to get through at first, but push yourself, because, so far, it is worth it!