Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Narrator: Will Patton
Date Read: September 2013
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.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Series: The Shining #2
Also by this author: The Stand, Under the Dome, Mr Mercedes, Revival br> br>
Listened for Review (Simon & Schuster Audio)
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Overall Rating: 4.50
Story Rating: 4.00
Character Rating: 5.00
Audio Rating: 4.50 (Not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: Doctor Sleep made me lose some sleep! It was sufficiently creepy!
Story Thoughts: Sorry to go vague again but I refuse to give spoilers for Doctor Sleep! You really need to read this and watch it unfold to get really scared. That is after all the point of reading Doctor Sleep. If you are hoping to get out of this without losing sleep, I hate to tell you that it isn’t probably going to happen.* However, if you are looking for something that is totally going to “creep you the heck out” then you are in luck. King delivered!** I think this book probably hit all the notes it was aiming too and I really had nightmares all the way through.
Character Thoughts: I don’t really think you are supposed to like King characters. The heroes are always borderline narcissistic or too clean. In this case though Stephen did manage to take them into the grey zone and still keep you on their side. Dan is one of those characters that you want to hug, slug, and knock some sense into at times. Abra was spunky sweet and a really good opposite for Dan. Plus, I think it was good for him to remember when he was that kid and he had help. The True Knot was a fantastically nasty group that showed as a collective there is some real evil that could be done. I would say overall the characters really held their own which is not always true in Stephen King’s horror.
Narrated by Will Patton / Length 18 hrs and 35 mins
Will Patton was almost perfect for Doctor Sleep! He had great pacing, awesome creepy voice, and could really deliver a line with precision. I was only disappointed in his Abra voice but even then it was not distracting. I would say listen to this book on audio, I don’t think you would regret it. As always though please listen to a sample first because not everyone has the same likes/dislikes for a narrator.
Final Thoughts: Give Doctor Sleep a whirl even if you haven’t read The Shining! I do not think you will be lost and you will be scared out of your wits.
I should mention that this is opposite week for me. I enjoyed this book very much but most of the other reviews in GoodReads are “meh” to “what the hell”. I am not sure if it is because I have not read The Shining so I had no per-conceived notions or something else. This scared the heck out of me and that was my only expectation. It totally delivered!
*You might not lose sleep if you are one of those people that deal with creepy and scary well.
** I am evidently in the minority on this book on thinking it was creepy. My favorite books by King are The Stand and Under the Dome. I am a fan of his character studies and while I wasn’t “in love” with any one character in Doctor Sleep, they all fit with the story. Sometimes the smallest actions are the creepiest!
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