Thursday, October 24, 2013

Audio Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Audio Book read by Will Patton 22 hours (531 pages)

To me The Shining is King's horror masterpiece. Is it is best novel? Not sure about that but when you talk about King as a master of horror the Torrance family tragedy is his finest moment. The news that King was writing a sequel was met with excitement as he doesn't do sequels, but the idea of what Dan Torrance did after surviving the events at the overlook hotel was too exciting to miss.

I had to wait months for the library to get me a hardcover of Dr. Sleep, but the audio I could have right away, as a fan of audio books I jumped on this. The audio book is read by actor Will Patton (Ironically I was watching the second season of Falling Skies at the same time – He plays Captain Weaver on that show) and he does a great job reading. He is clearly from New England. He also sounds like King reading at times. Perfect casting.

Like many King fans I think he did his best work in the early days, I am not a huge fan of some of his more recent novels such as Duma Key and Lisisy's story which I found to be unreadable. That being said I don't think the 21st century King is all bad. I liked the end of the Dark tower, and unlike many I thought Cell was a great horror novel. I enjoyed his collection Just After Sunset quite a bit. In my opinion Dr. Sleep is his best novel since Bag of Bones, although not as overwritten as that so perhaps it is his most solid work since Gerald's Game.

King had misdirected his serious fans when he said this was more a Dan Torrance story than a Shining sequel. It was much more of a Shining sequel than I expected. It is the story of an adult Danny who works in hospice, his shine gives him a knack for helping those who are dying. They call him Doctor sleep and teamed up with the hospice cat they help the dying.

Dan had to struggle to beat alcohol, and for the most part he has, not that we are not treated to some disturbing moments, that remind us of his father. The Shine is always there and it seems to be directing Dan putting in place to be ready for something important. That comes with the birth of Abra Stone (a shine talented young girl) who communicates telepathically with Dan long before they actually meet.

Abra and Dan discover a nasty bunch, a tribe who call themselves the True Knot, psychic vampires who murder and steal what they call steam, the essence of Shine talented people. It is strongest in children and Abra is their big ticket to live forever. The True Knot are pretty solid horror villians and Dan has to help Abra defeat them.

I like how King matured the character of Dan Torrance, making him his father's son in some aspects and not in others. That felt true to me as a long time fan of the novel. It felt real also that Wendy Torrance survivor of the overlook would be killed not by her husband but her cigerettes. The other good aspects are Dan's story, beating alcohol. Living with the shine into adulthood and working the hospice. If you have any serious interest in reading the novel I suggest going in as blind as possible.

The audio book is well done, I'll probably go back and read the novel with my eyes at some point but I was very glad I read. King did a worthy sequel and his most creepy novel in years.

No comments: