Review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

October 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Doctor Sleep by Stephen KingDoctor Sleep (The Shining #2)
By Stephen King; Read by Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 24 September 2013
ISBN: 9781442362390
[UNABRIDGED] – 18 hours, 35 minutes

Themes: / Horror / Paranormal / Thriller / Ghosts / Alcoholism /

Publisher summary:

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 hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

I’m not a fan of sequels. I’m not really sure The Shining needed a sequel. Sure there were lingering questions about Danny and Wendy at the end, but they weren’t critical in my mind. That said, Mr. King’s novels tend to interconnect on several levels, so I was curious to see what he would do in a sequel to one of his most popular books.

Doctor Sleep is a very different book from its predecessor. The shining plays a key role of course, but I would categorize this book more as Paranormal Thriller rather than Horror. I would however recommend you read/reread The Shining before this though.

The first part of the book catches you up with Danny, his mother and Dick Halloran, and then proceeds to catch us up to Danny in the present day.

Unfortunately for Danny, Mr. King is a big believer in like father like son. Danny has become an alcoholic and has the same anger issues Jack struggled with in the first story. It hard to blame him given his traumatic childhood coupled with the horrors being so strong in the shinning has exposed to him.

A good part of this story felt like an advertisement for the Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m not sure if that’s how Mr. King got himself sober, but it certainly seems like it, as he talks about it to excess. It does make for an interesting idea of “what might have happened if Jack Torrence sought help?”, but I could have done with less time being spent on that aspect of the story.

Keeping with his themes of the cyclical nature of life, the other main protagonist is a young girl who is even stronger in the shinning than Danny was in his youth.

We are also introduced to the True Knot, a pack of “physic vampires” that are near immortal by traveling the country and feeding on the shinning for their longevity. Can you guess where this is going? I could.

So it wasn’t the most unpredictable of stories, but in many ways I enjoyed it more then The Shining. I’m not a big horror fan. This book explores the shining in much greater detail than its namesake novel. Mr. King introduces some well developed new characters, and doesn’t just retell the same story again with minor changes like many sequels tend to.

Mr. Patton does an excellent job reading this book. He has many distinct voices and accents that adds a little something to the story. I was surprised they used a different reader than the The Shining, but as it turned out to be a fairly different book, I think it was a good decision.

So will you like it? If you’re a big horror fan hoping that Mr. King can scare the hell out of you again, probably not. If you’re like me and enjoy the fantastical nature of Mr. King’s novels then you just might.

Review by Rob Zak.

Review of The Communion Of The Saint by Alan David Justice

June 9, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Communion of the Saint by Alan David JusticeThe Communion of the Saint
By Alan David Justice; Read by Alan David Justice
17 MP3 Files – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks
Published: 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / Magical Realism / Catholicism / Ghosts / Time Travel / Paranormal /

Justice has given us an excellent novel that tells the story of historian, Clio Griffin, who begins to fear that she has inherited her mother’s insanity when she arrives in England for a job interview and begins hearing voices and having visions. Clio is being spoken to by St. Alban who was martyred nearby. As the story unfolds, Clio begins to experience the past and present in dizzying succession. She experiences the past through the eyes of people who lived through history that is not as sanitized as one might think from the history books. In the present Clio comes across a wide variety of reactions from such diverse people as the local mystic who sees nothing out of the ordinary in hearing from a saint, the priest who is envious of her visions, the newspaperman who just wants a good story, and the sexton who has possibly made a literal deal with the devil. The sexton’s seeming obsession with Clio provides the mystery and threat and is the one real thing about which we do not have to wonder. He is out to get her.

Justice has an excellent grip on the portrayal of the modern mind when faith is brought up and he shows the gamut of reactions while also giving us a gripping story. We are pulled through the story by our own involvement and questions. Is Clio really time traveling or is she losing her reason? Where did the plague victim come from who appears suddenly in her home? Will the sexton take his revenge upon her or will he be thwarted? This is a fascinating story about a thoroughly modern person who must come to grips with an ancient saint who is telling her that faith is real and she has a role in both receiving that faith and passing it on to others.

Author Alan David Justice reads the book with just the right amount of detachment to reflect Clio’s disbelief in her experiences. Justice’s wry inflections acquaint us quickly with Clio’s cynicism almost before we hear the words and yet he also manages to keep the pace quick enough that we are left hanging on each episode of the book. Hopefully, this is not the last we will hear (or read) from this author.

Listen to the author read it on Podiobooks.

Posted by Julie D.