All posts tagged: Horror

Book Review: Doctor Sleep

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Title: Doctor Sleep (The Shinning #2)

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Horror

Book procurement: Purchased from Exclusive Books – Greenstone Mall.

Synopsis:

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever,The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

Review:

I’ve read a number of King books through the years, and this was the first one I had to consider twice when reading at night. It wasn’t necessarily scary but it had its moments where paranoia creeped up on me faster than you can say Abracadabra. I still expect dead people to just show up in my bath.

The story starts off after the events from The Shining, when little Danny is revisited by ghosts of his past and realizes that his past will always be a part of him. We fast forward to an older Dan struggling with alcoholism, fighting the “shine” that still sparkles within him and his eventual sobering up at an AA that all links back together in a typical Stephen King fashion. There are no such things as coincidences with this man.

King is the master of characterization. I can imagine each of the characters in the book and won’t even need to read a name to know who is who. As usual. We have young Abra, who is a feisty, strong young girl with quite a “shine”, we have Dan whose shine get’s him the name Doctor Sleep, and we have the travelling band of “shine vampires” known as the True Knot who go around collecting “steam” from children who have the shine. Then there are plenty dots of characters thrown in the mix to help better understand who Dan Torrance, Abra Stone and the True Knot are. Each with their own characteristics and vital roles to play in the story.

In terms of writing, it’s all typical King. Vivid characters with identifiable attributes that I was able to visualise clearly in my mind. Worldbuilding at it’s finest, travelling across America through the eyes of Danny and the True Knot to experience the landscape. Flashes of The Shining in various places, and the passage of time that King’s recent books use (Revival comes to mind).

Once again, ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances have been written into chilling reality by the King of horror.

Rating: A sleepless 4 out of 5

Nthato MorakabiBook Review: Doctor Sleep
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Book Review: 11.22.63

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Title: 11.22.63

Author: Stephen King

Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton

Book procurement: Bought at Exclusive Books.

Release Date: Jul 5, 2012.

Synopsis:

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family.

Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke…

Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Review:

Gee this book was long. 700 (740 if you add author’s notes) pages of time travelling goodness. Well it started off that way but… let me not jump the gun.

So the premise is quite simple. Jake Epping is dragged into going back in time to stop the assassination of J.F. Kennedy. He’s just a simple English teacher with zero CIA/FBI/Time Patrol training, only a stack of notes that Al Templeton, the person who convinced him that time travel was not only possible, it was also just behind his pantry, had compiled about the assassination and the person who killed J.F.K. – Lee Harvey Oswald. He jumps back to 1958 – and proceeds to ignore every warning and do whatever he pleases. Okay maybe that’s not fair but come on Jake, what were you doing!

The novel is written in first person perspective, giving us insight into the mental workings of Jake Epping. He’s intelligent. He’s resourceful. He’s human. His humanity makes him both vulnerable and prone to stupidity, especially considering he’s a man from 2011 going back 50 years to a world where he is not born yet. Has he heard of the butterfly effect? He has. Does he live in light of it? Gee, I don’t know. Have you read any Stephen King novels? You know how it’s going to go right? *bangs head on table*

The book starts off slow. Not boring, mind you, but slow nonetheless. Jake takes a trip through the course of history and changes a few things here and there for the sake of preventing something awful in the future. The results are not what he expects… which should be a given considering he’s messing with time travel. (Are time travelers always trying to mess up the time line? *Looks askew at The Flash, Morty McFly). It never ends well does it?

Did I enjoy the book? Well… it started off really well. King has a tendency of providing foresight to what’s about to happen (as he usually does) which builds tension. I like that. He also likes to create coincidences that aren’t really coincidences that the main characters see, internalise in a monologue, and then completely ignore anyway. Like… what? Oh and that ending? The one part I saw coming as it was about to happen. It was the only way it should have happened. The second part I was like “Huh? Well okay then.” and you know what, that’s okay.

As usual, King’s characters are on point. Authentic. Believable. And he doesn’t spare them a dime. Imagine the worst thing that could happen to a character… and then keep making it worse into a downward spiral. Yeah. That’s King for you.

Rating:  A meh 3 out of 5.

Nthato MorakabiBook Review: 11.22.63
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