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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

My favourite book of 2019

It's that time again: time to tell you my favourite book of 2019. Not necessarily published in 2019, you understand. Just my favourite out of all the books I read in 2019.

But first, a bit of background, for those who don't know me. It's important to understand that I review every single book I read, on social reading site Goodreads. In fact, my philosophy is "No review means it never happened."

I also tend to be very susceptible to small things like typos and grammatical errors, or plot holes, or even formatting faux pas. For this reason, no matter how good a book is, if I find just one of those types of things in it, the possibility of a five-star review is immediately and irrevocably off the table.

This year, I read a lot of books (45 so far, but I might just get another one or two under my belt before year's end), and this year, I really struggled to find even one that met my high standards.

I did find one, though. This year, I managed to get through Stephen King's The Dark Tower series from start to finish. It wasn't what I would call a stupendously good series or anything, but I'm glad I finally read it. There was one volume, though, which got my coveted five-star rating, and in fact, it was the only book to do so out of all the books I read this year. That book was Wolves of the Calla:

Wolves of the Calla

(The Dark Tower #5)

by Stephen King


About the Book

Roland and his tet have just returned to the path of the Beam when they discover that they are being followed by a group of inexperienced trackers. The trackers are from the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis, and they desperately need the help of gunslingers. Once every generation, a band of masked riders known as the Wolves gallop out of the dark land of Thunderclap to steal one half of all the twins born in the Callas. When the children are returned, they are roont, or mentally and physically ruined. In less than a month, the Wolves will raid again. In exchange for Roland’s aid, Father Callahan—a priest originally from our world—offers to give Roland a powerful but evil seeing sphere, a sinister globe called Black Thirteen which he has hidden below the floorboards of his church. Not only must Roland and his tet discover a way to defeat the invincible Wolves, but they must also return to New York so that they can save our world’s incarnation of the Dark Tower from the machinations of the evil Sombra Corporation.

My Review

Best one yet!

While on their continuing quest for The Dark Tower, Roland and his ka-tet are waylaid by a village in crisis. The gunslingers - because they are all gunslingers in their own right, by now - have to decide whether they can help. And if they can help, they must, and are not allowed to accept any kind of payment, according to the Gunslinger Code.

This book mostly concerns that side quest, but there's a helluva lot of depth, and along the way, they discover much that will aid them in their main quest.

In my review of the last book (Wizard and Glass) in this series, I lamented the long, drawn-out, and somewhat inappropriate backstory. Well, this one ALSO has a significant chunk of backstory to share, but it's nothing like the one in Wizard and Glass. This one's entirely appropriate and perfectly paced, and we're constantly reminded that it is, in fact, a backstory.

In many ways, it forms somewhat of a sequel to 'Salem's Lot. I'll say no more than that, but if you haven't read that book, I strongly suggest you do so before reading Wolves of the Calla.

Back to the main story of this book: the village and its inhabitants are so richly detailed, none of them are "cardboard cutouts" by any means, and their own unique dialect is presented so beautifully, so consistently... I can only call it a literary masterpiece.

Around about 85% of the way through, I started noticing the odd typo here and here. These were clearly things that the editors missed (but in a book this long, who can blame them?). If you know me, you'd know that normally a single typo would be enough to destroy any book's chances of getting a five-star review from me. But in this case, I was so engrossed by the time I spotted the first one, and there are so comparatively few of them, that it didn't matter.

As the author himself advises in his introduction, I wouldn't recommend reading this book if you haven't read the first four (skip the "point fives", though - just read the main story), but if you've been struggling through, I promise you you won't regret sticking with it for this one!

Click here (or the cover above) to find out where you can get a copy of the ebook: https://books2read.com/u/mYKK0o

Note: that's an affiliate link, so if you click it, and then click through to one of the stores and end up buying something, I might earn a small commission from your purchase.

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