Stephen King was probably the second adult author I read as a young teenager. My first book was It, which is now my favorite book of all-time. I then worked my way through Salem's Lot, The Stand, Pet Semetary, and of course The Shining. Through the years I have continued my love of all things Stephen King by reading most of his books. So obviously I am a huge fan and when I heard Doctor Sleep was coming out as a sequel to The Shining I was beside myself. I read every article that came out that came through my email about the book. So to say I was excited might be an understatement. So it was a very magical day when the opportunity to review the audiobook came through my email from my wonderful publicity person at Simon & Schuster audiobooks. Thank you Lauren and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to listen to and review this title! Okay now that I have blathered on about my love for all things Stephen King, let's get to my thoughts.
First The Shining is probably my 3rd favorite Stephen King so a sequel was just what I wanted. What did happen to Danny Torrance after the end of The Shining (and that would be the end of the book, not the movie). So we move to the future. Dan Torrance is now pretty much a drunk like his father. He's a man who moves from place-to-place when drinking makes him lose his job. And then he hits rock bottom and moves on and we find him in New Hampshire where a man takes him under his wing, gets him into AA and into a job for him. Quickly Dan moves on to a job that fits him better and we find him settling down and getting into the groove. Then strange things start happening and he gets insight into a young girl, his "Shining" helping him see moments in her life that she transmits to him. I like Dan, even when he hits rock bottom, you know he's going to somehow get through it even though it is a major rock bottom. I found myself cheering for him during the first part which reminds us of his past, gives some of the history in between and describes him currently. Abra is also a fascinating character. We meet her and her family at birth up to the time that her and Dan meet and things are looking bad. I love her, love the things she does as a child and her need to do good things. Casey, Billy and John are also integral characters. Casey being Dan's AA sponsor, John being Abra's pediatrician and he happens to also be an AA leader of one of the meetings Dan attends. And Billy who introduced him to Tiny Town, the train and also to Casey. Billy is a true friend through and through as are Casey and John. The final character is also introduced early on and that is the True Knot as a whole, but with a focus on Rose the Hat. Now that is one scary group of characters. In true King fashion he has created a scary paranormal force to be reckoned with that is truly evil yet somehow fairly ordinary on the outside. I disliked and feared them from the beginning so they were the perfect scary villains for this story.
Now onto the story. Wow, even the beginning which gives a history of Dan and some insight into the True Knot was fascinating. Nothing in Doctor Sleep drags to me. It was well paced and probably from the middle to the end if I had been reading the book I wouldn't have put it down. With the audio I began taking it on walks, and honestly I don't usually listen to audiobooks except in the car, I listen to music on walks, but I had to find out what would happen next so I kept finding ways to listen. On walks, while making breakfast, while making supper. Anytime I could. It was that good. And there were surprises I didn't see coming that just made me say wow. There were scary moments, touching moments and characters that inspired and haunted me. It was just an amazing story.
I love how in Doctor Sleep there seemed to be a marriage of the earlier creepy Stephen King with the current more character driven and reality-based Stephen King. It was wonderful to see an example of a man who makes it through AA. Yet having the paranormal aspect between Abra and Dan was like the old days. The True Knot was truly an evil to be reckoned with similar to the vampires in Salem's Lot. It was just a wonderful way to craft a story. Doctor Sleep is a book that will grab you, make you hang on for dear life and keep you enthralled and slightly creeped out until the end. And then you will continue to think about it and it's characters long after you finish. Kind of the way Danny Torrance may have stayed in the back of your mind from The Shining. Hearing his story was wonderful and it's a great sequel. So thank you Mr. King, you've been scaring me for the last 25 years and I hope you continue to scare and enthrall me for many more.
Audiobook review: Will Patton is the narrator and I believe he is a new one to me. I wasn't sure about him at first, but the more he read the book the more I really grew to love him. He became the characters and just from his different voices I was able to discern each character before they were identified. That means a lot to me. I would get lost in his reading and he made my drives, walks and cooking very enjoyable. The production is outstanding. Wonderful job Simon and Schuster and I now have a new narrator to look forward to enjoying in the future.
My rating: 5.0/5.0
Audiobook Rating: 5.0/5.0