Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Doctor Sleep

I didn't really look at this cover art until
 I finished the book but it is super creepy
when you take a second to look at it. 
Title: Doctor Sleep
Author: Stephen King
Read: December 1, 2013
Series: The Shining #2 (technically)

Summary: Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

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. goodreads

Review: Did anyone ever predict King would come back with a sequel for The Shining? I never did! I think that is one of his most famous, well done books and I never thought he would touch it again. Personally, I didn't really need to know what happened to Danny. I was so satisfied by The Shining and that story that I didn't actually look into the future for him. This is weird because usually I can't get enough of characters in good books but I just didn't ever wonder about Danny Torrance. Turns out, I may have been the only one. 

King brings Danny, now Dan, back to life in Doctor Sleep and he does it by creating another unique story with hints of The Shining's (TS from here on out) greatness in it. I really enjoyed how King referenced TS throughout the book, whether it was through similar locations, memories, or still lingering fears. Dan starts out exactly where you would expect him to if you were to think past the last pages of TS. He is person who has used alcohol to cope with the traumas of his past and avoid the scary things that have happened and from time to time, still happen. Luckily for him, he finds AA and starts to build a life where his special ability (his shining) can help people rather than just scare the crap out of him. 

Along the way, The Shining (and good ole Tony) connect Dan and a little girl named Abra. I loved Abra! Not only was she extremely talented as far as her ability to shine goes, she has one hell of a personality for a little girl. Part of this I think she gets from her Momo (great-grandmother) who I also enjoyed, but she makes the feistiness all her own and it is bad news for the True Knot. Personally, I didn't really connect with the True Knot aspect of the story. I really enjoyed the ghost/haunted hotel aspect of TS but didn't enjoy this antagonist as much. Yes, they were scary. The tusk?!? Terrifying. Yes, they feed on children and cause nightmares. I just wasn't as impacted by them as I was by the Overlook Hotel. 

Eventually, Dan, Abra, and the True Knot come together and Dan and Abra decide they have had enough, The True Knot is going down. This is where Abra gets a little scary and a lot feisty. She goes toe to toe with these beings that have been around for centuries and she does not show any desire to back down. She does show her maniacal smile, which Dan appreciated and understood, but The True Knot did not seem to give her the credit she deserved. But once again, the child of King's book comes out and kicks some ass which keep the reader entertained and invested in the outcome of the children with The Shining. I think I still prefer TS to Doctor Sleep. I prefer the Overlook to The True Knot but I definitely prefer Abra to Dan. So maybe it's a toss up. Either way, if you're a fan of King or a fan of The Shining, check out the sequel just for fun!

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