Dark Tower: Books Five and Six - Mister, we deal in lead...Come, come, commala!

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Today's Dark Tower post continues the journey along the beam with Books Five and Six of the series. My Dark Tower introduction can be found here (and reviews of the other books in the series here and here).

Book Five: Wolves of the Calla

Rating: 5/5 - Goodreads

I think in some ways, readers of the series either loved or hated this book. I was definitely in the camp of LOVE, but I can see the frustrations for those who many not have loved it. The ka-tet is on their way to the Dark Tower, when they get detoured in the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis -- where everyone has twins and every 20-30 years a band of people called Wolves come and take one from each set. The kidnapped children come back later 'roont'.

In the Calla, we meet a character from one of King's other novel's -- Fr. Callahan. (On a side note: I've never read 'Salem's Lot, but if you don't want to be spoiled for that story, I'd recommend you read that King book before this story.) The town asks the gunslingers for help, and they, being of the line of Arthur Eld, oblige.

I loved Roland and Jake's relationship growth in this book. The commala dance that Roland performs is one of those images I'll keep with me. And I daresay I even started to like Susannah/Detta by the end.

Ultimately, if you love this series for the characters and aren't too interested in getting-to-the-tower-already-damnit, then this story shines. The ka-tet all get a grand adventure together, fighting baddies in a gritty western style shoot out, which was very satisfying to me. My only complaint is the storyline with Susannah and Mia and the chap -- but by the end of the next novel I understood why King included it (still, not my favorite).

Book Six: Song of Susannah

Rating: 5/5 - Goodreads

Did you feel that? The slight but persistent change in pull in this book? I felt a change when I started; it was when I realized the ending was going to be more dark and less happy then I hoped. And that it was coming, coming way faster than I wanted (but I couldn't stop).

After the battle in Calla Bryn Sturgis, Mia takes Susannah into 1999, and the rest of the ka-tet go after her and a very special rose they must protect in the keystone/modern day world. Roland and Eddie end up in 1977, while Jake, Oy, and Fr. Callahan end up in 1999. Most of this book is spent in this modern world -- with thugs chasing after our ka-tet and shoot outs, there is plenty of action.

And frankly, the story gets really weird in this book. Because Stephen King is in the book. Yes, Stephen King writes himself as a character in his own epic, and it is weird, but at least he doesn't write himself awesome. (Book-King is mostly a stoner / drunk.) It took me awhile to accept it as just how it was going to be.

I did love how you can feel each character missing every other character, how much they are pining for a reunion. Because they are joined in ka-tet and in friendship on this journey that separates them. I think it was here that I realized that there may not be any other characters I've read that I've spent so much time (and so many pages) getting to know, especially in their relationships of non-romantic / platonic nature. It is just so damn epic.


Dark Tower update: Last week, I finished the final book in the series, but it is going to take me a little while to recover from the emotional ride it was. But sometime in the next month I hope to have the final review out!

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