Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Opening Sentence: On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado’s greatest resort hotels burned to the ground.

Stephen King once again proves he is the master of this game. This is a sequel to The Shining that is drastically different from it’s predecessor in terms of location, style and execution but in no way at all is it any less of a classic King novel.
Any lover of King will know that King has variations in his style of writing. He can execute bone chilling horror just as well as he tugs at heart strings, and this book is nothing if not an example of the latter.

Daniel Torrance, survivor of the horrors at the Overlook, is dealing with a past that haunts him. The Overlook and everything that happened since has brought him to a point in life where he wants to silence his mind and numb his Shining away by drinking. It wasn’t until hitting rock bottom on a night that will haunt him for years that he decides it’s time to fight his own demons and maybe other people’s as well. This brings him to a town where in time he will meet Abra Stone. A little girl so powerful that she could be dangerous, but blissfully unaware of her capabilities, which makes her a target for a cannibalistic group of soul eaters who prey on children with such powers.

Stephen King said there was some trepidation in writing a sequel to The Shining. His fear being that any classic as good as The Shining is very hard to live up to and chances are a sequel ruins things. He had nothing to fear because years later, even when the world has changed, King’s ability to push boundaries between supernatural and psychological horror has not. I also found myself inwardly squealing at the little nods to NOs4A2 by Joe Hill. When Charlie Manx and Christmasland were mentioned, I felt proud of knowing exactly what King was talking about.

What I wasn’t expecting, especially while reading a King book, was to fall in love. Daniel Torrance is such a beautiful man, and while I’m sure Mr. King won’t appreciate me gushing over his main character, I can’t seem to be able to help myself. The relationship of Dan and Abra is so pure that I was touched. Very few writers, and I mean VERY few writers, could have pulled it off with the beauty that Stephen King did. I’ve never read anything like it. There was so much substance to the story that I felt a deep emotional connection to it. My first instinct after finishing this book was to write a huge fan letter to Mr. King but it turns out I can’t. But needless to say Doctor Sleep is going to be one of my all time favorite Stephen King books and my unrivaled favorite read of 2016.

Have some Doctor Sleep fanart on your way out 🙂

doctor-sleep-art

Favorite Lines:
1. When you couldn’t sleep, when you were afraid to look around because of what you might see, time elongated and grew sharp teeth. (pg. 97)
2. There was something he hadn’t told Emil Kemmer; he was afraid that eventually he would get lost in a maze of phantom nightlife and never be able to find his way out again. (pg. 99)
3. That in turn made him think of some poem or other, one about how you could spend years running, but in the end you always wound up facing yourself in a hotel room, with a naked bulb hanging overhead and a revolver on the table. (pg. 569)

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Review: Fire Starter by Stephen King

Review: Fire Starter by Stephen King

Fire Starter
Fire Starter by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Stephen King when I want to be 100% sure I won’t be disappointed.

Firestarter is one of King’s earlier works, which you could probably determine if you’ve been through as much of his work as I have. It is one of the few books that don’t really count as being of the horror genre. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t just as good.

The story is about father and daughter fugitives running from a secret government agency because they both possess unique powers that were the outcome of shady experiments by said facility on unsuspecting college students. I will admit that the story had it’s dull moments, certain ramblings that seemed unnecessary, but I strongly believe it was the early development of Stephen King’s writing skills which led to the trademark verbose yarn-spinning that I love so much. Many of King’s works are long and detailed and I admit to loving them for just that. Often I find it is that very quality in his writing that sticks and makes his stories relatable and realistic to me.

Another notable fine quality is how well developed the characters always are. In Firestarter, as in all other works, I found satisfying depth to protagonists, antagonists and side characters. I’m glad this is an ability he’s always possessed.

Interesting side note is that because Stephen King’s stories are rich in reference, I often find myself discovering music or books or movies through him. In this book, after the father, Andy, has a moment of frustration with his daughter, Charlie, there is mention of a short story by Jerome Bixby called “It’s a Good Life” where “..a little kid who had enslaved his parents with psychic terror, a nightmare of a thousand possible deaths, and you never knew…you never knew when the little kid was going to get mad…”. Despite the explanation of the story being brief I was intrigued enough to go looking for it online right in the middle of this book and reading it through.
I found it amazing. If you haven’t read it go look it up, it’s good. Very good. Everything is good. The goodest. It would have been easy for King to take this story in a similar direction of an uncontrollable power within a child bringing the world to it’s knees, but I’m glad it didn’t go that way and the humanity and moral compass of Charlie was kept steady and strong and formed an important basis of her character.

The book was long enough to be a pleasant way to spend a couple of days. One thing I might venture into saying is that it might be better to read this after you’ve become a Stephen King fan or at least become familiar with his work, than it would be to make this one of the first of his works you choose to explore. I think fans of King might enjoy it more.

Favorite Lines:
1.God loves to make a man break a vow.It keeps him properly humble about his place in the world and his sense of self-control. (pg.179)
2. World peace, or world domination, and when you got rid of the trick mirrors of rhetoric and bombast,weren’t they really the same thing? (pg. 191)
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