vrijdag 26 augustus 2016

Stephen King: The Stand

Hi everyone

Stephen King’s The Stand. I finally found the courage to start reading this one. And I couldn’t put it down.
My copy is the complete and uncut edition, counting a whopping 1439 pages plus 14 pages preface and opening. It actually hurt my wrists and fingers to read it.
I got my copy from Bol.
You can find all my Stephen King reviews here.

“When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge--Mother Abigail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious "Dark Man," who delights in chaos and violence.”

                                *   SPOILERS   *

The Stand is a huge book. Probably the biggest I’ve read to date. But it is worth it. I’m so glad I read the uncut edition because I can’t imagine leaving something out. It’s a real page-turner, it did drag in some places, but never so much as to make me want to put it down. I enjoyed every chapter.
The writing is astounding, the sheer scope of the novel is impressive and the plot is truly epic.

I loved the time we spent on the early days of the virus; the start of the outbreak, the panic, the military actions to stop people from knowing what’s going on and then ultimately, the death of most people. It’s nerve-wracking to read about people you care for and then loose most of them.
Stephen King killed of so many of the characters we got to know in those days, I wondered who would be left to actually star in the rest of the book. But I loved this part of it.

The characterization is amazing. Everyone is so different and yet they all grow so much. You’d expect a few fully fleshed out characters, but everyone who’s a tiny bit important has a decent background and well-rounded characteristics.
I loved the characters, even the ones I hated, because I loved them for the role they played in the novel. There wasn’t one character I felt didn’t belong or didn’t sound right. You feel so much for them, even the ‘evil’ ones grow on you.

The world-building was flawless. I could see every scene right in front of me, as if I was watching a movie. The thought that has gone into this book is astounding. The finer details and the imagery; I loved it.

I’m not religious and I try to avoid books with religious undertones, but King did a great job on making this is a God vs the devil or a good vs evil book without it becoming patronizing.
At first I was really hesitant about the supernatural element. I wanted it to remain a realistic book because I love those kind of apocalyptic books set in a world that could be true. And this one turned out to be not so realistic. It was a bit of a disappointment when I figured that out, but the story quickly captured my interest again. And this supernatural element does set the book apart from others in the genre. Because The Stand isn’t anything new. King pushes a few elements around to make it different and interesting, but the essence of the story has been told before.

The story itself is truly epic. The whole range of human emotions and reactions have a place in here. It’s frightening, captivating and I loved it.

The end is perfect. The nagging doubt about the baby and the survival of the human race. Perfect! I’m still wondering how Boulder will work out now it’s armed and ready to take on everything thrown at them. I can see it all starting over again in so many years. We humans can’t seem to help it. And at the same time, this is the ultimate book about redemption and the faith in humanity.

I kept thinking about this one in the car, in the shower, while cooking,… I couldn’t get it out of my head.


Happy reading!