Please note this page is a Work In Progress as I re-read and keep up to date with my favourite author. Unless otherwise stated all reviews on this page from purchased copies.
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.
It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.
Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality
Gosh not sure what to say about It. Or IT as it should be thought of – in capital letters. A total King classic and this on my seventy hundreth time of reading, it still gets better every time. And scares the bejesus out of me every time. And manages to induce clown related nightmares that linger all day every single time.
Still, really, it’s a story about friendship. A story about the ties that bind.
Tis a bit of a tome to be sure, but I always like King best when he writes the long ones – they seem to have been born in fire and the end is never the end – IT, The Stand (which I will be re-reading very soon) you feel like these stories go on into eternity and that is the magic of King.
In IT we have a bunch of friends – all victims of bullying, all outcasts in their own way – one of whom, Bill, has just suffered an enormous loss. Whether by fate or design, this motley crew come together and in doing so begin to realise that Derry really just ain’t right – they all feel it, they’ve all experienced it but now as a unit they have to face it. And not just once either…sometimes a promise is a promise that just cannot be broken.
I love IT because Mr King takes the time to really tell the story – these kids, these then adults, you understand their bond because you watch it form all the way. You understand them as adults because you’ve seen the children they were, the author writes in a way that envelopes you in and puts them all firmly in your soul – when the horror happens, when Pennywise happens, it is all the more frightening both emotionally and physically, because of this.
And it is freakishly frightening. Oh my gosh is it. Allegorical as ever, but you won’t notice that until later – you’ll be immersed into Derry and that place and those things and these people, dragged kicking and screaming into the dark place with them. Note to self: Reading this one through the night, no no no. Don’t do that again. Or maybe…
Bill. Richie. Eddie. Ben. Beverley. Stan. Mike. This is their story. It is a love story and a horror story. It is perhaps arguably King’s greatest. It is one of them at least. This storyteller at the height of his power.
Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton
Source: Purchased Copy
Short story collection: Some previously published.
I’m a big Stephen King fan (as most know) and I’ve always loved the short story collections so I was looking forward to this one with huge amounts of anticipation. Plus great title. Really.
This collection is overall really good – some obviously that I enjoyed more than others – and yeah, dear Mr King don’t do poetry its really not your thing…
A couple of these I had read before when they were released as Kindle singles – I still read them again as part of this collection and one of them, UR, about a very different type of e-reader I loved even more this time, really clever little story.
The rest are a mish mash, some kept me up at night, some still have me thinking about them, all were great for me (poetry excluded, really didn’t do it for me that one)in their own way. Especially fascinating because of the little introductions at the start of each which spoke to where the idea originally started – I’ve always loved these little insights into man who produces these tales, it just added so much in this case. The small dedications after each one were also lovely.
My favourites were “Batman and Robin have an altercation” – a story of a father and son and an incident of road rage, “Morality” which was a kind of King version of Indecent Proposal and Obits which was classic storytelling from this author. I would also like to give a nod to “Drunken Fireworks” a story that lived in my head during the reading, a visual delight.
Overall then an excellent read for me. I drip fed them to myself, a story for lunchtime, one before bed and that worked brilliantly for me (and also allowed me more time with a book I’d been so looking forward to)
As ever recommended. I know he doesnt do it for everyone these days even if originally fans, but for me personally whilst there have been ups and downs within the body of work, I have never been let down. Still the best as far as I am concerned, I just love the way he writes and engages. Long may it continue.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton
Source: Purchased Copy
In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister – feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.
So more Stephen King then, a pleasure every time and we know its unlikely that I’m going to dislike it, even if its not one of his best – I make no attempt to hide my long term adoration of all things written by this author.
In this case however, my honest opinion is that it IS one of his best – those of you looking for Old School King at the top of his game, the one that can make you shiver, turn the most ordinary things into that which you fear the most and take you by the hand and lead you into a place of darkness – that is what you will get with Revival.
Jamie first meets Charles Jacobs when he is very young, but for the rest of his life this man will cast a peculiar type of shadow as fate (perhaps) keeps drawing them together. Charles experiments with electricity – quite reasonable one would think, but this is a man not only intrigued but obsessed by it. When tragedy strikes Charles is set on a path to destruction, a path that Jamie may not be able to avoid walking with him.
This is one that will grip you from the start and trust me, it is a very good idea to hold off starting it until you have a good few hours to yourself. Oh and not in the dark either if I were you. I’m not one for breaking down a plot bit by bit in my reviews, suffice to say this is a tremendous mix of drama, horror and just plain emotion – it has a very gentle, rolling start but the tension builds bit by bit until you are white knuckled turning the pages to find out what is next, and oh my GOD that ending – I was disturbed, electrified (yes that was on purpose) and I just know its going to niggle at me and niggle at me for a long time to come. One of the most exciting and heart stopping endings Mr King has written for years, dark, scary as hell and all consuming, even with the very last words of the story.
And yes, I did sleep with the lights on last night. And probably will again tonight.
Classic King – absorbing, unbelievably addictive, the heart and soul of true storytelling is right here. Words are his power.
Find out more here: http://stephenking.com/
Follow Stephen King on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/StephenKing
Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/stephen+king/revival/10383039/
Happy Reading Folks!
A cat-and-mouse suspense thriller featuring a retired homicide detective who’s haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular – the pre-dawn slaughter of eight people among hundreds gathered in line for the opening of a jobs fair when the economy was guttering out. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. The plot is kicked into gear when Bill Hodges receives a letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. He taunts Hodges with the notion that he will strike again.
So our Mr King does straight up Crime Fiction (something which has already parted the King crowd down the middle in a very Red Sea kind of way) and does it with plenty of va va voom (sorry couldnt help it). As far as I’m concerned, the style and magic we all (mostly) love is there – but if you are awaiting a supernatural twist you’ll be waiting a while. This is a thriller, a rollercoaster ride of pure adrenalin especially as we head into the last part of the story, when I was done I had to lie down for a while and wait for my heart to stop attempting to hurl itself from my chest.
Bill Hodges is retired and contemplating in a rather quiet manner, ending his life. Before he can do that however, he receives a letter from the claimed perpertrator of the case that haunts him, that of the Mercedes Killer. The letter, it turns out, is the beginning of – in some ways – a very typical King good versus evil tale but grounded firmly in reality. As first one then the other of these two gladiators takes the upper hand it will have you on the edge of your seat, probably doing a bit of yelling if you are prone to that sort of thing, and keep you on your toes as you wonder just who is going to win this battle. Because that is far from clear. This author makes no promises.
The thing I am ALWAYS in awe of is how the characters pop. With a few paragraphs at the beginning of this book I could see a whole lifetime for two of the characters (I’m not going to think about how THAT turned out), within a few pages I felt like I’d known Bill Hodges my entire life and every single person whether peripheral to the story or right in the middle of it was brought to absolute life. Not new, its what Mr King does best, but each time it happens it is magical once again. I’d like to have a Holly in my life – although sometimes it has to be said I worry that I AM the Holly in my life. I’m sure a few people who know me will smile wryly if they read this then read Mr Mercedes.
Tightly plotted, a fascinating villain and a truly thrilling and breathtaking cat and mouse tale, whilst this is not my favourite of Mr King’s body of work it sure was a heck of a ride. No I couldn’t help that one either…
I loved it. Ok I always do but that doesnt make it any less fantastic.
Happy Reading Folks!
Wizard and Glass picks up where the last book left off, with our hero, Roland, and his unlikely band of followers escaping from one world and slipping into the next. And it is there that Roland tells them a story, one that details his discovery of something even more elusive than the Dark Tower: love. But his romance with the beautiful and quixotic Susan Delgado also has its dangers, as her world is tom apart by war. Here is Roland’s journey to his own past, to a time when valuable lessons awaited him, lessons of loyalty and betrayal, love and loss.
Book 4 of The Dark Tower and one that is often described as being the best of the lot, a favourite of a lot of Dark Tower fans and having re-read it I can see why quite clearly. That said it is also the least favourite of a fair few. Perhaps therefore, this is the one that divides us, the constant readers. Either way the sheer brilliance of the storytelling remains undiminished. Here we take a break if you like from the path of the beam and head back into Roland’s past and learn a little more about what has led him to this quest. As a glimpse of the boy now a man it is compelling, fascinating and addictive reading. Whilst only a small part of the journey is undertaken in this instalment, in some ways it is the also one of the greatest parts.
The main thing I love about this novel is for me, this is where the mythology as a whole started coming into focus. The world that Roland and friends have slipped into here is a world that is very familiar to me, belonging as it does to my favourite King novel. And of course, if you read it all you realise that everything written sits somewhere along the path of the beam..whether you are in a Dark Tower story or not. As an overall body of work, with hopefully a fair bit more to come, I call that pretty amazing. Hey, what can I say. Unapologetic fangirl.
When you are re-reading a series like this and reviewing as you go, its hard to find new ways of describing each particluar part within the whole – they are all fantastic. What else is there to say? Perhaps that this one, Wizard and Glass, is like the eye of the storm…because I know whats coming.
Happy Reading Folks!
In the third novel in King’s epic fantasy masterpiece, Roland, the Last Gunslinger, is moving ever closer to the Dark Tower, which haunts his dreams and nightmares. Pursued by the Ageless Stranger, he and his friends follow the perilous path to Lud, an urban wasteland. And crossing a desert of damnation in this macabre new world, revelations begin to unfold about who – and what – is driving him forward.
Book 3 done already – SO addictive this tale even if you have read it before. I suppose as it IS only second time round for me there is still much to discover. After all I have read “The Stand” numerous times in my life so far and it still manages to surprise me…
Here we find Roland, Susannah and Eddie continuing along the path of the beam towards the elusive Dark Tower – however Roland is losing his mind..and in another reality, Jake is also struggling with being unexpectedly alive..
Out of all the Dark Tower books this is perhaps the one, for me, that solidified and confirmed my feeling that this series was going to be one of my favourite ever. After some truly magnificent scene setting if you like over the course of Books One and Two, here the plot thickens, the world expands and the true nature of the depth of the mythology begins to take shape.
From the battle with one of the Guardians, to the journey towards an unknown city, and even before we meet Blaine (Blaine is a pain in more ways than one) the ka’tet have a lot of danger to face…not the least of which is Roland’s inner battle and Eddie’s attempts to bring the last member of their little family into the fold. Oh and OY! At last. I missed that little fella until he arrived…
Perfect plotting, addictive storytelling, wonderful wonderful imagery, all done in Mr King’s indomitable style – and the best thing? Its now time to dive into “Wizard and Glass”. Book 4. Ask a group of Dark Tower fans and you may find a large majority say this is their favourite. It’s not mine, but it IS one of the best there is. Bring it on!
Happy Reading Folks!
While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, The Last Gunslinger, is drawn through a mysterious door that brings him into contemporary America. Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.
I am loving my re-read of The Dark Tower series – this is only the second time I have read it and I had forgotton how totally addictive and absolutely brilliant it is – especially from about halfway through Book 2. I spoke in my review of “The Gunslinger” about how I felt it wasnt the greatest of starts even though it had some absolutely stunning imagery – but in “The Drawing of the Three” the quest kicks in and I just know from here on in I’m going to be a mad reading machine until I have completed all the books once more.
From the opening sentences, as the “horror” side of Stephen King’s writing kicks in while Roland fights to survive on the beach (oh my!) to the end of the book where he has drawn his companions from our world and the journey towards the Dark Tower truly begins, this is absolutely compelling stuff. Great battles interspersed with contemplative moments and some real character building, this is where I fell in love.
Its difficult to review in depth because the very thought of spoiling anything for the next reader makes me go cold – its one of those “you really had to be there” type books…and trust me you really WANT to be there. Brilliant stuff.
The Wastelands await me. I will see you soon – Go then, there are other worlds than these…
Happy Reading Folks!
In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.
So along with the BookLikes crew (as I now refer to them) I have started a re-read of The Dark Tower series from Mr King with the first volume – The Gunslinger.
We’ll get the bad out of the way first – this is not my favourite of the novels in this series. In fact I will be honest and say the first time I read it I ALMOST did not continue, despite my absolute regard and love for the writing of Stephen King…I thought that perhaps his epic fantasy would not be for me. I was utterly wrong of course, so very wrong and I now stand here corrected.
The second reading of this gave me much more – possibly because I know what is coming, I absolutely think this is a must read – however I would still tell anyone coming at this for the first time, this was written when the author was young and whilst it has been updated and expanded, it remains in this readers opinion the weakest of the Dark Tower Series. That is not to say that it is bad, it is in fact extremely good. Still, you may be tempted, like me, to abandon the rest – don’t do it. Keep going. If only because you will then one day experience the sheer brilliance of Wizard and Glass.
In this volume we meet Roland as he crosses the desert in pursuit of the man in black – as we follow him on his journey we get hints of his past and possibly his future – and soon his quest for The Dark Tower will truly begin.
As usual its Mr King’s imagery that will get you – every single time. The bleak landscapes, the terrifying encounters and as always a strong and beating heart at the centre of the tale, this sets the scene for a truly magnificent quest that will take over your life until you are done.
All in all a decent read, see the caveats above and dive in. Ultimately this is a journey worth taking.
Happy Reading Folks!
After 14 years of being beaten, Rose Daniels wakes up one morning and leaves her husband — but she keeps looking over her shoulder, because Norman has the instincts of a predator. And what is the strange work of art that has Rose in a kind of spell?
So, here we are at my latest Stephen King re-read, one I knew I would have a great time with because it is one of my favourite novels of his.
Rose Madder is an emotive look at domestic violence but given the magical King touch – putting aside the more supernatural elements of the plot, this is a horrific look at what can happen within a marriage, an awful truth that often no-one sees. One day Rose wakes up – and that is exactly it. She has endured her Husband’s madness by sleepwalking through life. Until one day a single drop of blood on the pillowcase changes everything..
This could have been a stunning yet simple tale of a woman running from a human monster – a kind of “Sleeping with the Enemy” if you like but of course with Stephen King its NEVER going to be simple and Rosie has a lot more to face in her future than just the idea that she will be forever looking over her shoulder. One day she finds a painting – a fairly innocuous scene, still it has power. It may also save her life but at what cost?
I really don’t have the words to describe how Mr King’s writing digs into my soul..sometimes more than others but always to a certain degree. The mundane things in life – in this case, a painting, a tree, a colour (the Rose Madder of the title) all come to wonderful life in his hands and become things of beauty and occasional terror. Its what he does best. This novel is no exception.
Filled once more with characters you can root for, ones you can fear and ones you can love, I again got a great deal out of reading this. And once again I am still finding something new each time I read. This is why I will read them all again and again. Almost perfect.
Happy Reading Folks!
Well what can I say. Terrific stuff. First of all perhaps I should make clear that I am an absolute, without prevarication, unapologetic fangirl of everything King so therefore please read this review with that in mind. However as always what you will find is my honest feelings and my genuine thoughts about the readability and standard of the novel in question…
That being Doctor Sleep, the long awaited, much anticipated sequel to “The Shining” and a continuation of the story of Danny Torrance, 5 years old when we met him last, survivor of The Overlook Hotel.
Danny (now Dan, a grown man and the Dr Sleep of the title although I’ll let you find out for yourself what that means…and look out for Azzi!) “shines”. He knows what others are thinking, occasionally knows whats coming, and has one foot in this world and one foot in quite another. Up until now, he perhaps shone the brightest, but he has not yet met Abra Stone. Meanwhile the “True Knot” an eclectic collection of RV owners roam the highways and byways of America. Mostly elderly, they are not what they appear…for they live and survive on “steam” – a substance released when children who shine are tortured to death…
I will admit to some trepidation when I started this new journey with Danny Torrance. The Shining is and always will be one of Mr King’s greatest tales, was there any real way to expand and improve on that? This author does not usually do sequels (The Talisman with Peter Straub and the obvious example of the Dark Tower books aside) although if you read him as I do you know he finds a way of giving us character updates. Well I would have to say he has done Danny proud…
As always characterisation is of a high standard. The story has a dark heart indeed and will cause a shiver or two..and Dan has evolved realistically – determined not to become his father, still he comes close to heading down the same disastrous path…but redemption comes in funny ways and at the most unexpected of times.
A deeply involving battle between good and evil, this will grab you by the throat and drag you down into those places where nothing and yet everything could be real..Compelling and utterly captivating, I am bereft that I am done with it…I could easily start at the beginning again right now.
So, perhaps a bit of help for readers considering this: Firstly, do you need to have read “The Shining”? Well no, not at all. A brief synopsis in the first portion of the book, followed by a few soundbites that show Danny growing up means everything you NEED to know is right there and done in a way that will not spoil the original book adventure. However I would strongly advise that you do, because I believe in my heart you will get more out of it if you meet Danny when he is a child and understand the way he was back then…
If you are a “constant reader” of this author then this will delight you. We all know how every single one of his books is linked to the others in many hidden ways, this is one of the reasons why I love them so much. Oh and if you have read NOS4R2 by the incredible Joe Hill, son of Stephen, then one or two little portions of this story will have you smiling away.
All in all I’m going to do this again. Just read it. Its King. Its Brilliant. Thats all you need to know. (ok ok, fangirl in me popping up one last time before I am done)
Happy Reading Folks!
So I re-read The Shining over this weekend (21st/22nd Sept 2013) in preparation for Dr Sleep – the sequel – which landed on my doorstep on Saturday morning, all shining (pun intentional) and new. Reading The Shining first seemed appropriate and was like having the best homework assignment ever!
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
Do you know I adore Stephen King novels and yet I hate reviewing them – why? Because each time I just want to yell “Its brilliant damn it, its King. Just read the darn thing you don’t need to know anymore!”. In fact the temptation to leave it at that and just go and dive headlong into the next part of Danny’s story is a burning need right down in my reading soul right now but hey, I’ll squash that and do my best…
Stephen King. Words are his Power. Yes they really are – now I’m aware that he is not universally loved, and even many of his constant readers have been disappointed in his later novels, but that isnt the case for me. They have all held me captive for the entire reading experience. Yes, even the much maligned “Cell”. The Shining of course, is an older release and generally well loved by fans of Mr King, so for them I can’t say anything they don’t already know…
For those of you who have not yet dipped a toe into the weird and wonderful world of King, this may well be a good place to start. It is one of his better novels (yes even me, unapologetic fangirl that I am, will say that some of his books are better than others). Its a haunting tale – haunting because Danny is haunted and he is just a child. A child who will have to grow up before his time and understand what he is seeing, feeling and hearing, in order to survive whats coming…
The creeping sense of menace that pervades the pages of “The Shining” starts immediately. Mr King does not molly coddle his audience – despite the rather mundane situation Danny is in when we first meet him (sitting on a kerb, waiting for his Dad to return from a job interview) we immediately become aware that he is different..not your average 5 year old boy. Oh no indeed.
I expect you have all seen the film. Jack Nicholson rocked that movie, but it wasnt The Shining. Not really – not for me. The Shining is a tense, creeping, emotional tale that grabs you by the throat and will not let go….the sudden “shocks” of the horror movie version will not happen here…but slowly and surely you will feel more and more nervous. Hedge animals. Aaargh! I’m hiding. No really I am….keep that axe proof duvet handy…
The Overlook Hotel sneaks up on you…what it hides behind its facade would affect the most mentally stable of people and Jack Torrance, Danny’s father, could never be described as such. As he descends further into the mire, the sense of apprehension is tangible…clever clever writing.
So I loved it. No surprise there. This must be the fourth or fifth time I have read it and its still as terrific as ever and still compels me to read every word and not skip a thing. Ok. Thats the best I can do. I hope it helps. Now…Doctor Sleep is calling….
Happy Reading Folks!
So my Stephen King reread moves ever onwards with 11.22.63, perhaps one of my most loved King novels. I foresee reading it several more times over the next few years based on the amount of enjoyment I got out of it for this second go round.
Meet Jake Epping. He teaches English in Lisbon Falls and one day he cries while reading the story of a brain damaged Janitor at the school. And Mr Epping has never been known as a crying man. Enter Al, friend, who divulges a secret..underneath his restaurant lies a portal to another time. 1958 to be precise. Al has been intending to save Kennedy from assassination – but ill health has prevented him from doing so and he passes the torch to Jake. So begins the adventure of a lifetime – but what will the world become should Jake succeed? Well this is Stephen King so we are guessing its not all going to be rainbows and kittens……
So there is the basic plot for you. But oh its so much more than that. A love story. An adventure. A new life for Jake it seems but can he live happily ever after? And my word, the sense of the 50’s and 60’s you get from this book is superb – a different time, a different lifestyle. Both the good and the bad. I’d quite like to go back there myself. We meet some old friends – anyone who is fond of Mr Kings tremendously brilliant (and my next reread) novel called “IT” will love the odd cameo appearance.
I’ve read some reviews of this novel where the reviewer has questioned Jake’s motives – THERE IS NO REASON FOR HIM TO DO IT I hear them cry. Well for me the motivation is clear. He may want to save Kennedy for his good friend Al….but remember Jake is not a crying man…and yet the story of the Janitors childhood brought him to tears. And made him think. Perhaps he can make a difference on his way to Dallas….
So all in all this is superb. If you like time travel then this is Time travel on acid – Mr King’s imagination has always been prolific – and he has outdone himself here. And if you don’t shed a tear at the end then you have no heart! Loved it. Please write for many more years Mr King. Then I will be happy happy.
So onwards with my re-read of all things King. “Bag of Bones” is an absolute favourite of mine from Mr King therefore the pleasure at once more picking up this novel was wonderful. And yet again, by the end I was in floods of tears and wanting to simply go back to the beginning and start again. Alas he has written many many terrific tales and I want to relive them all!
Bag of Bones is probably the closest Stephen King has ever come to gothic romance. Its also one of the best “ghost” stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And a plea – don’t watch the horrendous (in this readers opinion) so called adaptation of this novel starring Pierce Brosnan…although I have the most tremendous respect for Mr Brosnan as an actor, despite his best efforts this fell flat. Read the book. It will play like a movie in your head anyway!
Mike Noonan, writer of novels, finds himself suffering writers block after the death of his wife and some shock revelations about that life. Eventually coming to the conclusion that a change of scene is required he heads off to “Sara Laughs” – the family summer home situated on the TR. There he gets entangled with Mattie Devore, her 3 year old daughter Kyra, and the evil Billionaire Max Devore who is bound and determined to take Kyra away from her mother. Whilst trying to help Mattie, Mike comes to realise that he is not alone at Sara Laughs….and by delving into her history he unearths a terrible secret that will put both his and Kyra’s life on the line.
Slowly, inexorably, this book will haunt your thoughts. The characters are wonderful but they are not all people. Sara Laughs herself is a major player as is the setting, the so called TR. Even nature comes to life here – and all of us “Constant Readers” know that Mr King’s strength is taking the everyday, the mundane and turning it into something that will keep you up at nights. I stand by my firm held belief that what Stephen King writes is mostly NOT horror. Oh no. After all, we all have those moments – the ones where you take the sound of the wind whistling through the pipes and turn it into the monster under your bed. But you wouldnt say you were living a horror story…
I’m becoming more convinced that Stephen King is a unique voice in the world of fiction. One we havent seen before and won’t see again. As a popular novelist he has been compared to Charles Dickens, THE popular novelist of his time. For those of us who are simply readers searching out a terrific tale to take ourselves out of our own world for a while Stephen King will do that every time. Literary awards are one thing. REAL value from a story is quite another. Next for me is 11.22.63 – a novel I first read last year. Yes perhaps I should go older first. But Bag of Bones has made me want to read another King novel that I know pulls on my heartstrings. Keep an eye out – I’ll tell you about that one soon.
So my great “Stephen King” reread began here with Christine…a book I have read several times and each time I love it more. One of Mr King’s earlier works, it is also one of his most chilling. Arnie Cunningham, high school geek, bullied teenager and best friend to Dennis, spots an old broken down car for sale..and immediately falls in love. Love leads to obsession. But this car is not just any car….this is Christine.
Stephen King really is a master storyteller. THE master storyteller. Everyone knows the teenage years can be formative, tough, hard to cope with especially at school, dealing with parents and what they want for you – all that stuff that every one of us has to go through. First love. Remember that? In “Christine” that is very much a theme. Arnie’s love for his car and later for a girl. And watching him deteriorate as Christine and her previous owner take over his heart and soul is scary and heart wrenching. Dennis tries to save him…and himself…but can we ever really do that? This novel I think in the minds of many is very much filed under “Horror”. And I suppose in this case it is…BUT thats not all it is. Not by a long long way. Mr King as always takes the most normal of everyday things – in this case a car – and turns it into a metaphorical journey through that time of our lives that can affect our whole future. Brilliantly done. As always.
In Joyland we meet Dev, a young man facing rejection from the woman he loves, who takes a Summer job at Joyland, where they sell fun don’t you know! A few years before his arrival a young woman was brutally murdered and her killer never found…her ghost is said to haunt the park and Dev finds himself interested in her story. Can he mend his broken heart and catch a killer?
Of course this is Stephen King we are talking about so while the above synopsis is what the book is about, its certainly not what the book is ABOUT. An evocative haunting tale, its a character driven coming of age story, where the mystery is secondary to the people involved in it. The characters Dev meets while on his journey to true adulthood will touch your heart – its just as much about friendship and finding yourself as it is about a dead girl and what may have happened to her. You will fall in love with some of them – and yes, at the end I cried. Quite a lot. Which is always a good sign!
I always find books like this hard to review because almost anything I can say about it may spoil the ambience for true readers – I don’t want to let you know very much at all. I want YOU to find it all out for yourselves. Suffice to say, if you are one of Mr King’s “Constant Readers” this is likely to head towards the top of your favourite King books. If you havent read his novels before, then this would be a great place to start – its not one of his “epics” and the Hard Crime series are always worth a dip into even when its not Stephen King writing them. In this case its so much more than a crime book BECAUSE it also has that magic King touch. So I hope you pick this up. Certainly you will not be disappointed.
As I have recently re-read this book yet again, which prompted one of my recent articles..”Its 4.30am…” I thought that I would review this one first into Mr King’s page.
Lisey Debusher Landon has, two years previously, lost her husband of twenty five years. He was a novelist and also had a weird and wonderful personality – with his own personal demons and sometimes odd events that occurred around him, Lisey had a frighteningly intimate relationship with him… Now current events find her having to face Scott’s demons on her own and what follows is a twisted and what could be fatal journey into his dark side.
Its terrifically imagined – the places that Scott lives, the reason he could write the way he writes – is there perhaps, some of Stephen King in there if you subtract the obviously supernatural elements? I would say its entirely possible – much like I’m sure there was something of Mr King in “The Dark Half’s” Thad Beaumont. Some people may find the style of this particular novel difficult to get along with – but stick with it. Once you have aligned yourself with Lisey you will read on breathless until the final page. And then hope for more…..
This book speaks of marriage – ok its Stephen King as I said in the article, but still if you are married you will see some of yourself and your partner in there. The little things that only a married couple know, the ongoing task of living day to day life with a sometimes overly creative man – these are things I can relate to, and even though all of Mr King’s work speaks to me in some way, deep down inside, this one perhaps more than any of the others, is the one that actually tugs on my heart. Its also the book that upon first reading, saw me through another very dark time in my life…therefore it will always be amongst my favourite novels and certainly high on the list of my favourite King books. I hope you enjoy.
A nice little addition to the Dark Tower books – this is a story within a story and again. We find our Ka’tet, still travelling along the path of the beam, having to take shelter from a storm. Whilst doing so Roland tells them a story from the time before – and within that story another story is told. The 3* rating is my rating based on this book and where it stands in the “Dark Tower” series, rather than a rating I might have given it as a standalone novel – after all if you are not intending to read the series then you are probably not going to pick this up. Whilst written last, the timeline is somewhere in the middle – Book 4.5. My recommendation would be – If you are reading the Dark Tower series currently or are intending to, do NOT read this book where it sits – read books 1-7 and then come back to it. If you already know Roland’s story in its entirety then it would sit nicely in place at position 4.5 during a re-read, or indeed again at the end. I really enjoyed visiting Roland and friends again, I’ve missed them. As did Mr King. Obviously.
Great reviews/recommendations! I loved the “time travel on acid” description, that’s spot-on.
I’ve read quite a few of these but still have some way to go – Stevie writes such a lot! Great reviews.
Thanks for those great reviews! I loved Cellular too, I know he wasn’t that popular among fans/readers but I truly loved it. Mr King is really good at writing road movie.
By the way, just wanted to say I love your blog and I thank you for all those books recommendations.
Aw thank you – very sweet of you to say so 🙂