Wolves of the Calla - Stephen King

Wolves of the Calla  - Stephen King

I may be on the closing stretch of the Dark Tower novels - but my, the last ones are doorstoppers! The length is not at all offputting, but neither is it a particularly good thing. It just is. The build-up to the main events is a little slow, but it's not as frustrating and drawn out as Wizard and Glass was.

This is mainly a good book (although not as good as The Waste Lands, my favourite) except for a few things, of which the worst is the appearance of Stephen King's actual name on the actual (fictional) blackboard outside Calvin Tower's bookshop. This is annoying. Very annoying. It momentarily jolts you out of the fictional world and reminds you that it doesn't, in fact, exist. Imagine my surprise when 'Salem's Lot, an actual, non-Dark Tower King novel, turns up in the book as well. Surprisingly, this is not as annoying, merely intriguing.

But there is a lot of intertexuality here. I mean, a lot, much more than in previous novels. Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, even Harry Potter all find their way in here. This is also faintly annoying, because the whole idea of coincidence is overdone, just so the reader gets the impression. Everything is linked. Yes, we know. We've been told this before.

The ending of the Calla plot thread is dealt with too easily and too quickly, and its repercussions are somewhat overshadowed by the main quest. Which is perhaps the point, except the whole novel has been building up to this battle, and it is shockingly short.

And the Wolves aren't actual wolves. This is somewhat disappointing, because there's nothing better than a few fantasy wolves. Like the Wargs in Lord of the Rings, or the talking wolves in Narnia.

Oh, and Gilead apparently had lawyers. This blew my mind a bit, because Gilead doesn't seem a particularly lawyerish place.

However, all these things are tiny niggles in such a vast book. There are some genuinely funny lines from Eddie. The ka-tet is threatened from without and within. We hear tantalising echoes of Jericho Hill, the fabled last battle for Gilead...

It's all gone a bit nineteen.