The Dark Tower series is often listed as the defining western/fantasy mashup, but only book 1 and this, book 5, really fulfill this claim. "Wolves of the Calla" is overtly a pastiche of the classic western film "The Magnificent Seven", as our ka-tet of beloved characters joins with a few brave locals to defend a town from a marauding force.
5th Dark Tower Book
In 1999 Stephen King was seriously injured by a wayward van while out walking on a rural route near his home. The details of that accident are colorfully recounted in his pseudo-memoir masterpiece, On Writing. A long recovery followed and, in more ways than one, the whole messy affair inspired him to complete his Dark Tower epic. And complete it he did. He wrote the final three novels back-to-back, and although King has continued to write and publish in the ten years since (I'm writing this review in 2015), few may remember that he did threaten to retire due to creative exhaustion once his sprawling epic was concluded. Wolves of the Calla adheres to the series' western roots by giving us the Mid-World version of The Magnificent Seven. And for the most part King pulled it off. This is a worthy entry in the series. The Good: Going todash and those spine-tingling chimes, visiting the rose in the vacant lot, the Ka-Tet being welcomed at the town pavilion, Callahan's tale and the highways in hiding, the bizarre rural dialect of the townsfolk, training the Sisters of Oriza, Jake and the Dogan, confronting Andy, and the final showdown with the Wolves of course. The Not-So-Good: Saving that pushover Calvin Tower and his stupid rare books, the over-and-over-and-overuse of the number nineteen, the cartoonish weapons of the Wolves—their lazer swords (lightsabers from Star Wars) and their sneetch grenades (snitches from Harry Potter), and book 5's number one gripe from the fans: Stephen King inserting himself into the story. This will play out more in the next two books, but in my opinion it's a wash. King being in the story works in some places and not so well in others.
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