Saturday 28 September 2013

Review - Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 482

Blurb from Goodreads

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.

My Review

I loved the Shining, who didn't - it was a Stephen King masterpiece and had some very unforgettable characters. The story picks up right where the shining left off, the aftermath for Danny and his mum after the hotel burned down. Danny isn't completely free from his trauma and people from the original story turn up whilst he is still young and we are catching up. Then we move on to Danny being an adult, a drunk and a disappointment when something happens that makes him sort himself out and settle in one place. We flip to Rose the hat, leader of The True Knot, beings that where once human that now live of the essence of kids with the shining. Introducing Abra Stone, a kid with the shining, making Danny's look like a flash in the dark in comparison. Before long, these three become linked and it is a matter of life and death, a battle against evil and survival of the fittest, who will survive?

Aw I was so happy to finally get my copy of this, it isn't often I pre-order anything but I wanted this since I heard Mr K was writing it. Not only do we get to reacquaint with wee Danny who is now a grown up, we get to see the effect that crazy hotel had on him and if he still shines as an adult. He isn't the only character from the past to pop up and I loved not knowing who was coming next.

Rose the hat is evil, however she has her own band of "family" so you get to see two sides of her, the one that will do anything for her crew and the one that kills and tortures innocents. Abra reminded me a bit of Carrie but without all the negativity and social awkwardness, she has the shining in bucket loads, has an amazing ability that of course freaks her parents out. She is a great wee character for someone so young and has bounds of personality that wee Danny lacked in the original book.

The story has a fair amount of building to do as we meet new characters and learn about Danny as an adult, however I found this fascinating to see his progression however some may feel it a little slow in parts. This is not a super scary book by any means, there is supernatural activity and beings, there is murder and some horror but nothing compared to the shining or indeed some of his other works. I personally wouldn't call it a horror as I am used to his stuff being much stronger and darker but it would be classed in that genre due to some of the content.

There is definitely parts that keep you on the edge of your seat, I couldn't put it down as I wanted to find out what happens to all of the characters. The more they interact the more the tension builds and you cannot wait for everything to come to a head. For all the fans of the shining, I think you will really enjoy this book, it is a different feel altogether as I remember being scared senseless reading the shining. Doctor Sleep doesn't have the terror or maybe it is just as I am older and read so much now but it does make the hair on the back of your neck stand at parts and keeps you hooked. Was it worth the wait? I think so, I really enjoyed it and will revisit some of his older work, 4/5 for me this time.

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  1. Well, like yourself, I'm a big King fan. I loved The Shining too and will be re-reading it soon. I definitely will be reading this one as well. Curious to hear about what became of Danny, I'd hoped he would not follow in his dads footsteps. Sounds like you enjoyed Dr Sleep and like King works his magic with the character development. I hoped this would be very scary though, so a little disappointed to hear it's not too scary. The Shining scared the heck out of me.
    Great review post!

  2. I think you must have wanted to read that one! I remember you posting you had bought it very recently. I haven't read any of his yet. Perhaps I should, your review is telling me that :)

  3. Great review Lainy. Have loved SK's early novels and must look out for,this one.

  4. A fan of this author during my teenage years, its been a long time since I've picked up any of his books but will certainly do so for this.

  5. It's ages since I read any Stephen King - but you have just encouraged me to go back and revisit. Thanks for another excellent review

  6. Great review but this would have me up all night.I don't like scary.

  7. Hi Lainy – I have been reading some of your posts. You have a very impressive blog.

    It has been a few years since I have read King a few decades since I read the Shining. I had heard that this book was coming out. Based upon your commentary it sounds terrific and imaginative. It also will likely bring back some memories for me.

    I really need to give this one a read.

  8. Well defined characters and a very cool story. What was, and is, frightening to me is the idea of true evil hidden behind a veil of what we perceive to be innocent, unremarkable, everyday people. I'm also really glad I don't have the "shine"!
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