Posts Tagged With: Stephen King

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep – the long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel to The Shining. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely!

The Shining has to be my favourite King book, a book that scared silly as a teenager, and then lived up to a second reading when older.  King himself says he’d often wondered two thing: what became of Danny, and what have happened if his father had found Alcoholics Anonymous and lived a different life?

Doctor Sleep looks at both these issues, as the grown-up Dan faces his own alcohol demons, and then learns to tame them with the AA. We get a glimpse of life for the younger Danny, as he and his mother recover from the events of The Overlook, his struggle with alcohol, and then story focuses on a sober Dan. He settles into a job in a nursing home, where he provides help and support to the dying in their last moments.

He then meets Abra, who has the shining far stronger than he ever did, and also comes to know The True Knot, a group of people who travel around searching for people with the shining for sustenance – they kill them, and gain power from the ‘steam’ they give off as they die.

If you’ve not read The Shining, I would highly recommend it before picking up Doctor Sleep – it is possible to read this one on it’s own, but you’d get far more from it after The Shining. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to re-read The Shining if it’s been a while.. as long as you remember the main points (and who wouldn’t with a story so powerful?) you’re good to go!

From my own point of view, I didn’t find Doctor Sleep as scary – the beginning part is the closest to The Shining, and rather unsettling, but King then takes it in a different direction. To me this is a good thing, as this needed to be a sequel which can stand up on it’s own merits, rather than a rehash of The Shining. Dan is a great character, despite his faults and struggles, and Abra is a strong, likeable character.

I stopped reading King for a while, as I couldn’t get into his books, but that has recently changed. Full Dark, No Stars in 2010 showed a King who was back on form (for me, anyway) and this continued with 11.22.63. Doctor Sleep continues this trend and I’m back to waiting impatiently for the next book!

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Duma Key. – Stephen King


When Edgar Freemantle moves to Duma Key to escape his past, he doesn’t expect to find much there. But Duma Key and its mysteries have been waiting for him. The shells beneath his house are whispering to him, and something in the view from his window urges him to discover a talent he never knew he had. Edgar Freemantle begins to paint. Even though he has lost an arm. And the hand he uses is the one he lost..


Well, where on earth do I start with this one? Towards the final stretch of this novel, I read over two hundred pages in one sitting, and that alone is surely a tribute to how much I enjoyed it.

It is a lengthy read but in some ways you can’t even tell; the pages seem to turn themselves as you read on. I was gripped with humour, tension, mystery and in some cases I even paused for a second to think. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that any book that has the power to make a reader pause at the end of a sentence and reflect, is surely a book worth reading.

Duma Key is a novel which in essence, questions reality itself: it seems to hint that in reality there is no structure to life, only randomness. Throwing aside the idea of fate, of destiny, we are instead led to believe that life and death are purely the product of unrelated and spontaneous events.

This book is both terrifying and beautiful; a book about friendship and about life. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to become involved with a journey; a journey which stretches long into the night and the darkness, struggling to find the light.


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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

In his latest novel, King brings us four tales, linked by the theme of retribution. The first and  longest of these, 1922, takes us deep into rural America. Here we witness the murder of Arlette James by her husband, and all that follows, including the effects on their son.

In Big Driver, a mystery writer is attacked driving home from a book-club engagement. After being raped and left for dead, she finds it in her to plan her revenge, and changes herself for ever.

The shortest tale, Fair Extension, is a darkly humorous story about a dying man who makes a deal with the devil, whatever the price.

Finally, A Good Marriage brings us full circle, looking at a marriage gone wrong. Darcy Anderson discovers there’s far more to her husband than she realised, even after twenty years of being married. After she discovers his terrifying secret, how will she react?

When it comes to Stephen King, this is one of my favourite formats. It allows for more scope than short stories, allowing the story and characters to expand. However, that story needs to be compact and to the point – and in this quartet, he pulls it off brilliantly.

In his afterword, King says that these are harsh stories, with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. He’s looking to evoke a reaction in his readers, which these tales certainly do. However, they also have a dark humour to them – whilst flinching at some of the descriptions or characters actions, you’ll also find yourself wondering if it’s normal to be giggling.. and whether it’s a nervous giggle!

Even with the shorter format, King still manages to build interesting and believable characters, including Tessa who talks back to her sat nav as she plans her next step, and Wilfred, who tries to do his best for his son, but fails.

They are four different types of story, bound together with the theme of retribution, and the nagging question of how you would deal with a similar situation. 1922 captures living in a rural area in the 20’s, whilst Big Driver takes you deep into the heart and thoughts of a woman looking for revenge. Fair Extension looks at the price we may be willing to pay, and A Good Marriage starts as a great suspense tale, and soon moves into something completely different.

Full Dark, No Stars took me back to the older days of King, with characters and stories which get under your skin, and stay in your memory. It’s a book to devour on a cold winter’s night – I wanted to keep reading, and yet I was sad to finish.. always a sign of a good book! Every Stephen King fan should add this to their collection, and for anyone who hasn’t yet experienced his writing, this could be a good place to start!

Read it! 🙂

Full Dark, No Stars is published on 9th November 2010 by Hodder and Stroughton.

Buy Full Dark, No Stars at Amazon

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Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King’s first novel shows that he had the power to grip and enthrall viewers from the very start of his career.  The story probably needs no introduction, but in essence, it concerns Carrie White, a teenage high school outcast, the subject of cruel taunts and jokes, with a religious zealot for a  mother.  But Carrie has the power of telekinesis – a shocking and vengeful trait.

After Carrie is mercilessly subjected to a locker room ‘hazing’ one girl feels remorseful enough to get the most popular boy in school to take Carrie to the Prom.  But darker forces are at work, and events result in mass death and lots of bloodshed.

I enjoyed this more than I had hoped to.  Stephen King may not win many literary awards, but he is certainly able to crank up the tension and keep the pages turning.  He himself describes his early work (and this was his debut novel) as “raw” and while I would agree with that, the story in this novel was exciting, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

While the story is mainly told in the third person, excerpts from books, newspapers and interviews told retrospectively attempt to understand the events that took place and make sense of them.  These parts of the story give clues as to how the tale unfold, but rather than spoil anything, they simply tease the reader and make them want to read on.

The characterisation however, is fairly poor.  Carrie is obviously the most developed character, but most of the remaining characters are stereotypical, especially the perpetrators of Carrie’s distress.  This doesn’t detract from the story though – this novel is more plot than character driven.

Stephen King is probably the most famous horror writing of his time, and this book shows exactly why.  Very enjoyable.

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Misery by Stephen King

Paul Sheldon is an author, most famous for his collection of stories about Misery Chastain, a heroine loved and adored by many.  But Paul is sick of Misery and wants to concentrate on other novels, so he has killed off the character.  But then he crashes his car in a snowstorm in a part of the USA that he is not familiar with.  He would have died had he not been ‘rescued’ by Annie Wilkes, who describes herself as his (and Misery’s) biggest fan.  Annie is furious that he has killed off her favourite character and demands that he write another novel, where the heroine is brought back to life.  And what Annie wants, Annie gets…It doesn’t take long before Paul realises that Annie is dangerously unstable, and now, instead of writing for a living, he is writing for his life.

I really enjoyed this book.  For most of the book there are only two characters – Paul and Annie – which gives it a claustrophobic atmosphere.  There is also real tension within the pages – I found myself holding my breath while reading on as quickly as possible in order to see what happened next.  Annie is a terrifying character, and also a rather pathetic man.  Paul is our hero of sorts – although he is clearly portrayed as a somewhat selfish man, who is forced to draw on reserves of strength he didn’t know he possessed.

Although there are just two main characters, it was plot that really kept the book rolling along at such a quick pace.  It was established very early on that Annie was deranged (although the extent of her madness does not become clear until later).  It was also clear that she was able to out-manoeuvre Paul in all imaginable situations.  The reason that this book was so hard to put down was to see just how (if at all) Paul would escape this woman.

There are excerpts of ‘Misery’s Return’ – the book which Annie forces Paul to write – included in the book.  This was perhaps un-necessary (I only wanted to know what happened to Paul, not to his most popular character), but it did not detract from the main story at all.  I always think the scariest stories are ones which you actually believe could happen – as is the case with this one.  Very highly recommended to fans of the genre.  However, due to some of the graphic violent scenes, it may not be suitable for some younger readers.

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Bag of Bones – Stephen King

Synopsis from Amazon:
When Mike Noonan’s wife dies, he is drawn to their summer home in the town of Sara Laughs. He finds the town in the grip of millionaire Max Devore, who is hell-bent on getting custody of his deceased son’s child. Kyra and her mother turn to Mike for help, but there are sinister forces in their way.

My thoughts:

I finished Bag of Bones last night and really really enjoyed it.

It was a bit of a slow burner in the begining but I stuck with it and glad I did. A good ghost story which scared me in places. One big twist in it that I really was not expecting and it really quite upset me!

This book to me seemed different to other Stephen King books I have read; I found this one an easier read than some of his others and the romantic element made a nice change.

The characters were well written especially little Kyra, who you couldn’t help but fall in love with! 🙂

I give this book an 8 ½ out of 10, it would have been higher if the book had held my attention better in the begining.

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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King

Date of Publication: 1982

Number of Pages: 304

Synopsis (from back cover): This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features once of Stephen King’s most powerful creations – The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages from ancient myth to frontier western legend. His pursuit of The Man in Black, his liaison with sexually ravenous Alice, his friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake, are part of the drama that is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, an alchemy of storytelling sorcery.

Review: After months of hearing about The Dark Tower series, and since I’m already a big Stephen King fan, I decided to finally read the first book in the series, just to see what it was all about. It took me until the last page to decide what I thought of it. All I can say really is that I liked it, and I’m planning to read the next one, but of all the Stephen King books I’ve read, this was the most difficult and unusual. The problems I had with this book were not stylistic; the book is very well written, and the characters, though mysteriously aloof from the reader, are well developed. The title character, known throughout most of the book simply as the gunslinger, is not easily identifiable as a hero and is deeply complex. There are mysteries surrounding his past, as well as the lives of most of the characters and the reality in which they live.  I think it was these very mysteries that I didn’t really love. They distressed me unexpectedly. However, being the first book in a series, it’s understandable that there will be unanswered questions. Anyone who ventures to read this book should be prepared to read the rest of the series! I certainly will.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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