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Doctor Sleep: A Novel Hardcover – September 24, 2013
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Picking up only a few years after the conclusion of events in THE SHINING, the prologue features one of the most memorable apparitions from The Overlook making a welcome return "haunting". From there, the novel jumps ahead a couple of decades, picking up with Danny at his lowest point in his late twenties before coursing ahead several more years. The pacing is a little disjointed at times and I was disappointed that some of Dan's arguably more compelling years (his teenage years) - and characters such as Wendy and Dick Hallorann - are never really explored to the extent or depth I had hoped they would be. A little more detail and padding here would have been welcome. However, King has often been criticized for his meandering, overlong style so many readers may relish this slightly more concise style.
The constant references throughout to even minor events in THE SHINING will have most readers inevitably comparing it to the earlier book (throwbacks to "REDRUM" and many other references abound). While DOCTOR SLEEP does work as a stand-alone novel, it works best as a sequel. There are two main threads to this novel: the exploration and expansion of the character of the now adult 'Doc', as he battles with his demons (alcoholism, his past, and his shining ability); and the new story and characters such as Abra, Chetta, Lucy, Doctor John, Dave, and The True Knot. The new characters, especially Abra, are well drawn but the villains come across as a little hammy and the overall plot pales in comparison to Dan's inner ruminations.Read more ›
After reading an author for as many years as I've read King, I have become accustomed somewhat to the writer's habits and other signature moves to the point where I can almost predict them. And when those habits and signatures aren't there, when a writer you've read for years is off his or her game, it becomes as palpable on the brain as the lack of salt feels almost injurious to a gourmet's palate.
That's how I felt when I read Doctor Sleep, the sequel to King's masterpiece to The Shining. I'm almost at pains to call it a sequel, because it feels so utterly separate from the mind and world in which the first book was written that one could easily read this book without having read The Shining and not miss much of a beat, but there is some bridging there between the first two books for those who have read The Shining.
That being said, the book started off very strong. Dan Torrance, once known as Danny or "Doc," has grown up and he's wrestling with the alcohol demon, in much the same way his father did, only he has his childhood nightmare at The Overlook as well as his often torturous psychic ability still riding shotgun. He's a bit of a nomad, drifting from town to town after he's burned enough bridges (usually thanks to the antics he gets up to while on a liquor binge) but he tries to make the best of things working as an orderly at various hospice centers where he helps to usher dying patients gently into the afterlife. This whole side of Dan's life is not given a whole lot of gravity or dimension, however, and it left me wondering what exactly he does for these people that is so special. That was my first cue that King was not entirely on his game here, but I'll get to that in a minute.Read more ›
So the inevitable comparison: Dr Sleep is much more modern than The Shining, a sort of supernatural adventure, coming of age, redemption tale mixed into one. Where The Shining was the quintessential insanity inducing haunted hotel story, Dr Sleep reads more like a superhero story rather than an out and out horror.
In common both tales are heavy on the gross style of scares (although that could be said about almost all Stephen King novels) and hinge strongly on the theme of violence caused by unnaturally induced insanity.
The beginning of Dr Sleep was by far the strongest part of the book. King initially brings us up to speed on Dan Torrance, then introduces Abra as a next generation 'Shiner.' While the first few chapters lack a sense of direction and tension, just the vivid experiences of Dan's recovery and Abra's struggling family are enough to carry the novel, and when the True Knot are introduced they are freaking creepy.
Somewhere about the middle of the book things started to stagnate, Dan's alcoholism becomes more of a token flaw as opposed to an important part of the story. Abra's difficulties with her psychic power are largely tamed, and the conclusion feels like the end of a lesser B grade action flick, it seems Mr King was too timid to hit us with a tragic or at least traumatizing finale and let things end without surprise or unfortunately any excitement.
In total Dr Sleep is a good book, but will likely be remembered as just another Stephen King book rather than an equally classic piece as its predecessor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just thought it was awesome all the way around. It was hard to put down. I absolutely loved the ending.Published 3 days ago by JDub
As is typical of Stephen King, the book was longer than it needed to be. It was good, but it wasn't as scary as The Shining. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Kristin
This was a really good sequel to a magnificent original. Danny turned out to find a way to use his gift.Published 6 days ago by Hinda Burke
This is an amazing book! I am a HUGE Stephen King fan, and he did not disappoint with this book! To see what happens after Danny and his mom escape from his dads murderous rage was... Read morePublished 8 days ago by d.z.nuts
Loved the book, finally found out what happened to that young man from the ShinningPublished 8 days ago by KittieQueen