Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mini book review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Ooh, I said to myself, Doctor Sleep - a new Stephen King book!  A sequel to The Shining, where we finally get to see what happened to little traumatized Danny Torrance after his alcoholic dad went crazy, tried to kill him and his mom and ended up perishing in the furnace-explosion blaze that razed the Overlook Hotel!  [Oops.  SPOILER, but hell, The Shining was written in 1977 and if you haven't read it by now, it's your own fault.]  I said, to myself, I can't wait to see what happens and be terrified all over again!

Here's what happens:  Dan Torrance grows up and wrestles with his own alcoholic demons.  He uses his shining to ease hospice patients until one day he meets Abra, a little girl whose own shining far surpasses Dan's.  Abra is in trouble because the True Knot, a group of supernatural beings who travel the country in fleets of massive RVs, wants to suck the shining right out of her, just like they've been doing to other special (and thus now missing) kids throughout the centuries.

Here's how much I was terrified: Not at all.  For all that this is a pretty big book (the "large print edition" I ended up with from the library had 778 pages!), the treatment of the characters is pretty lightweight.  King usually excels in getting you to connect with his characters but this time, he just doesn't get into their heads; for example, he spends a huge number of pages talking about how a new member gets inducted into the True Knot ... and then scarcely mentions her again for the rest of the book.  The True Knot themselves are not that scary - from the first moment you meet them, they are clearly a group in decline - and their leader, Rose the Hat, is a missed opportunity for a charismatic villain.

I absolutely love Stephen King books as a whole but this new Doctor Sleep doesn't come close to reaching the levels of such classics like 'Salem's Lot, IT, The Stand, Carrie or The Shining.

No comments:

Post a Comment