maandag 26 januari 2015

Stephen King: Doctor Sleep


It’s been about 8 years since I read a Stephen King novel, but when I saw this one at Waterstones, I had to buy it.
My copy has 485 pages.

“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.”

The story is good. It’s a bit predictable and it lacks suspense because of that and because we know from the very beginning how powerful Abra is.
It’s a very satisfying read. It’s not scary but it is suspenseful and compelling; it’s so easy to read and fluent. Lots of details, vivid descriptions, almost real psychic abilities and his characterization is the work of a master.
I could keep on reading for hours because of that.
King's allusions to popular culture, music, YA novels and movies are perfect. Just perfect. They make me smile, they’re exactly right and they are an example of the seamless blend of The Shining in our mundane world. This novel is set in our world and it is this day.

Rose The Hat is the perfect villain; she and the Crow are frightening, but her gang is a bunch of comically, stupid rednecks.
I would have liked to know more about The True Knot instead of having to accept them as they are.
The novel is too long. Doctor Sleep would have been better with 100 pages less and the same story. It starts slow and it goes on too long; not some specific chapters but throughout the novel.

Overall, the novel has a good feel about it. The importance of family, friendship, support, recovery after addiction and good vs. evil are all themes.

If you want a sequel that’s much the same as The Shinning, you’ll be disappointed. If you want to find out what happened next to little Danny, you’ll like this.
Stephen King changed a lot since The Shining, and that shines through in his novels. I don’t mind, as long as you don’t put the label ‘horror’ on this novel, because it isn’t and it sets you up to disappointment. Read it like the sequel it is and as a supernatural thriller.

Happy reading.

 Time to relax before I go to sleep.