Top positive review
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Exactly What To Expect From King/Hill
on December 26, 2012
My wife and I listened to the audiobook format of this novella while driving home from visiting family Christmas night. Before I get into the book itself, I would like to say that I enjoyed Stephen Lang's reading of the story and would be interested in hearing more of his audiobook work.
One of the traits I enjoy about Stephen King's writing is that he writes very compelling characters. They're very much human beings, some good, some bad, all with their faults and personality quirks from how their lives have treated them. The characters of Becky and Cal DeMuth are no exception. I found myself liking them as people before they even reached the field of tall grass where most of the story takes place. They are also, not surprisingly, both New Englanders. This isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, I find it a little amusing.
Another trait of King's is how he can build a sense of impending dread throughout his stories. As Becky and Cal discover more and more about the tall grass and the supernatural/otherworldly power which controls it and whoever enters the field, I as a reader/listener found myself feeling despair for the brother and sister protagonists as it became more and more clear that the ending of this story was not going to be happy one. This is a third trait of King's: He is not afraid to go down that dark road which we "Constant Readers" both fear to travel yet can't resist when King is our guide. We know there's a good chance we'll get our hearts broken, if not scared out of our chest, but that's part of the fun and the thrill.
One thing I could not tell from my initial listen of this story is how much of it came from Stephen King's mind and how much from Joe Hill's. They are a father/son combination, so the overlap may be pretty seamless as a result, but I think a larger part of this is because I'm not familiar enough with Hill's writing and style to recognize it. My wife had a couple ideas of where Hill's ideas came forward but I don't want to go into detail since that would spoil some of the story. I think I will need to check out more of Joe Hill's work before coming back to this story and see if I have a better understanding of what is from the father and what is from the son.
Overall, I gave this story four out of five stars, mainly because of what I stated in the previous paragraph. I may revise my rating once I am more familiar with Joe Hill's style, but my enjoyment of the story was very high and I definitely recommend it for anybody who enjoys Stephen King or the horror genre in general.