Book Review – Stephen King: Doctor Sleep (Spoiler free)

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I started this blog with the name Bathtub Obsessions because I take a bath pretty much every day and soak and ponder. It’s my “me” time. It is also a pretty great place to read. I had been reading the Dresden Files series but was growing bored with its inept writing and endless pomposity disguised as “gritty fantasy.” So I went back to where I always go when I grow weary of writers: Stephen King. I admit, I am an unadulterated fanboy, and any reviews of his work that I do, are painted with that in mind. Don’t get me wrong. He has written some shitty books. Tommyknockers come to mind. I think that was in his heavy cocaine period and it shows. But overall, i really love most of his body of work. I dig his jazzy, flippant, everyman writing. Don’t even get me started on how much I love the Dark Tower series.

With that in mind, I was a bit apprehensive about picking up Doctor Sleep. A sequel to the Shining? Really? I was none too pleased with Bleak House, his sequel to the Talisman. SK writes children really well but when he has them all grown up, they tend to be listless. I also was leery when I heard the bad guys were psychic vampires that roamed the country in RVs. But, I found the book on sale and decided to give it a go.

I am so glad I did.

This is not “The Shining, Part II”.  Sure, it has a ton of references about what happened in the Overlook Hotel but this really is its own story. I would go so far as to say that it stands alone without having to have read the Shining, not that I would recommend that. This is a story about redemption. Every book that Mr King has ever written has pretty much been about himself. This one is about his recovery, not just from the bottle, but his healing, mentally and physically from being hit by the van. It is about him coming out the other side, dusting himself off and making things right with himself.

Dan Torrence is wonderfully written and I cant think of a single character in the book that was superfluous. who he grew into made good sense and his actions were always well thought out. The various nods to the first book were only that. Nods. And when they came, they didn’t distract from the story. The bad guys weren’t just these evil, mindless creatures that were lurking behind corners. They were really well thought out and dare I say…fun. Their origins weren’t as important as their personalities and for that I was eternally grateful.

I also noticed that this was one of the first books that the author didn’t blatantly give away the ending halfway through the book (a point of contention I have always had with Mr King.)

Just give it a shot. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

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