King: Doctor Sleep (UK version published by Hodder & Stoughton)
An epic war
between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the
millions of hyper-devoted readers of The
wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King
a childhood haunted by terrifying events at the Overlook Hotel, Danny
Torrance has been drifting for decades.
he settles into a job at a nursing home where he draws on his remnant
'shining' power to help people pass on.
he meets Abra Stone, a young girl with the brightest 'shining' ever
seen. But her gift is attracting a tribe of paranormals. They may look
harmless, old and devoted to their Recreational Vehicles, but The True
Knot live off the 'steam' that children like Abra produce.
Dan must confront his old demons as he battles for Abra's soul and
far as I'm concerned, Stephen King's novels fall into three categories:
superlative, second tier, and not very good at all. I won't bore you
with my list of superlatives, but it includes The Dark Tower series
(but not The Wind Through The Keyhols), IT, The Stand, Joyland,
11:22:63, Bag of Bones... and now Doctor Sleep. One day I'll publish my
categorisation, but you might want to know that my "not very good at
all" list includes such turkeys as Cell, Gerald's Game and Sleeping
Beauties... My second tier includes The Colorado Kid, Insomnia, for
example, and Rose Madder... but I digress!
Sleep is sometimes billed on Amazon as The Shining #2. In some respects
I suppose you could call it that, but it's only a sequel in as much as
it features two characters from The Shining - in other respects it's as
different as, say The Green Mile is from The Stand. I was never that
much of a fan of The Shining, and I am aware that King himself didn't
much like Stanley Kubrick's cinema version of the book. The film of The
Shining isn't one I'm keen to revisit, having watched it probably 35
years ago. When Stephen King announced that he was bringing Danny
Torrance back for a new "adventure", I didn't know what to think,
because, as I say, The Shining didn't move me in the way that later
novels like IT, The Stand and 11:22:63 did. I hoped that the now more
mature King who had given us the sublime Dark Tower VII would continue
in this more mellow vein and give us something better than the first
book. I wan't disappointed.
my total disappointment with Cell
and the comparative disappointment with UNDER THE DOME, it was time for
King to reassert himself as the undisputed King of Horror, and
with Doctor Sleep squeezed between the brilliant 11:22:63 and the
excellent thriller series that began with MR MERCEDES, I was hoping for
something rather special, and the result exceeded my wildest dreams.
Doctor Sleep is crammed with super-special
characters, especially the mature and complex Danny, and the superb
teenager Abra Stone and her parents; it has a brilliant storyline that
involves an apocalyptic battle with the True Knot - they're very much
like vampires, only they live off other people's "shine". This is
definitely one of Stephen King's better novels. The UK Blu Ray version
of Doctor Sleep is
released on March 9th - I can't wait!
Next month: The Dark Tower series, and how bad those graphic novels
small print: Books
Monthly, now well into its 22nd
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