It took me a while to actually "get into" this novel (A four month hiatus between reading attempts), but once I did, it was enjoyable. Not a masterpiece like several of the other Dark Tower novels, but interesting enough for me to continue the journey to the Dark Tower with Roland Deschain, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Jake Chambers, and Oy.
The story itself begins with Roland and his ka-tet following along the Beam towards the Tower, moving slowly but steadily onward toward that shadowy edifice. Now, however, there is an undercurrent of desperation beginning to rear its ugly head among them, because time is passing more quickly than earlier in their journey, and they realize that the failure of the Beams (which hold the multiverse together) has begun to accelerate. And each of them understands that if they cannot stop the deterioration, the multiverse itself will sink into oblivion as the Dark Tower falls. So, it is while dealing with this sense of impending doom that the 5 friends find themselves unexpectedly approached by a group from Calla Bryn Sturgis.
The "Callas" - as the locals call their region of the world - is the final bastion of humanity before one enters the death and doom of End World. Calla Bryn Sturgis itself being a small town full of ordinary farmers and merchants; each living their life to the fullest while always fearing that the apocalyptic horror, which repetitively visits their community, will somehow return in their time. For you see, in this land of idyllic farms, almost all the children born are twins. A wondrous blessing but also a horrible burden, because creatures called Wolves come every twenty years or so to harvest one of each twin set.
The Calla folk do not know why the Wolves come. They just do. Nor do they understand what the wolves do with their stolen offspring. All that they know is that the Wolves take them into End World to Thunderclap, and when they return by train, they are near mindless caricatures of themselves, fated to grow into huge adults that die young and in pain.
And the Wolves are soon to return to Calla Bryn Sturgis. At least, that is what Andy the Robot says, and he would know, because he has lived among the farmers from their grandfather’s grandfather time and, somehow, Andy always knows when the Wolves are destined to return.
Yet knowing the date of their children’s abductions does little good to the common folk of the Calla. They are not warriors and cannot hope to stand against the wondrous weapons of their persecutors. But now, gunslingers have been sighted near to their township, and there grows a desperate hope in their minds. For perhaps gunslingers might fight the Wolves for them!
And from this The Magnificent Seven beginning, Stephen King concocts a tale that has a pinch of western, a dash of scifi, a dollop of apocalyptic, a splash of fantasy, and a drizzle of horror. He takes his Constant Reader from the green fields of the Come-come-commala Calla, say thankya, to the dream-like visage of 1970s New York City. He introduces them to the gunslingers as diplomats and protectors of the defenseless while reintroducing us to a vampire killing companion from old, Father Callahan: a former Catholic priest last seen in Salem’s Lot. They read about talking robots, zombies, and vampires, but also get references to popular culture such as Harry Potter and Marvel comic books. Indeed, this novel is a psychedelic wonderland of variety; sure to fit the fancy of most any reader of speculative fiction. Do ya ken?
But while Wolves of the Calla is a novel that excels in its lively, creepy and fun narrative, it did not live up to its promise as the book to begin the process of straightening out the mess that was the Dark Tower series plot line. In fact, there were more new plots begun in this story than old ones finished.
Does that mean, this book is "bad" or not worth reading?
It is a fine tale that was a joy to read. But . . .
The problem with this book, in my opinion, is that due to Mr. King’s ending of the series this novel has no meaning.
Like an old song says, this novel is a "Cab fare to nowhere."
A story that is a "White line to an exit sign."
It might be an fine book to read, but it is ultimately pointless and without meaning. And that might be fine by you, but I hoped for more than just seven, entertaining stories from the Dark Tower series. I was waiting for "Something amazing, I guess." But it was not to be.