Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
After a minor hiatus from reading (give or take a couple of weeks), I finally got around to finishing up Stephen King’s follow up to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. After having recently read said novel about the Torrance’s “family getaway” at the Outlook Hotel, I was itching to dive into this follow-up novel to find the answer to the question of what happened to that kid and his mother from The Shining?
I’ll start with my verdict; it was meh. I was a huge fan of the 1977 novel by King, placing it at the very top of my favorite SK books. Of course, I still have yet to read other classics in his catalog with the likes of Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot or Carrie but from what I have read, thus far (see here) The Shining is my favorite.
For starters, Doctor Sleep just didn’t pack the same mojo its predecessor had going for it. Where the 1977 novel was a supernatural/psychological creep fest that was sure to keep you up at night, Sleep, in my opinion, fell short of that and almost played out more like a crime/thriller that did not pack much of a punch. As far as scares? There were some (a few) but nothing that kept me up at night. In a 2012 New York Daily News article, the author himself, King, stated that it is “a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror.” Hardly.
Yes, I still liked it but I can’t say that I am much of a fan of this one. It almost seemed like King was writing with the intent (hope) that this will one day be adapted for the big, or little, screen. There were times where it felt like I was reading a screenplay.
I have my reservations about this book, especially how its tone differed from that of The Shining. There were more than enough nuggets and nods to the novel’s predecessor that made me smile. But, all in all, this book could have been a stand-alone book. With the exception of Danny (now Dan) who is grown up and trying to get his life in order, still equipped with his supernatural gift of the shine, the book would also have worked well on its own with a new set of characters. Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was that I didn’t really feel like our protagonists were in any real danger. Sure, there were a few close calls, but by the time I neared the book’s conclusion, I was confident that things were going to work in their favor despite the threat they faced.
Again, this was a good read but not one that I will revisit and one that is not very memorable. Being a big fan of The Shining, Doctor Sleep was rather disappointing and lackluster; it was meh!
I made a challenge to myself to read the entire King-dom library. I’m going to place that on hold as I want to check out a few other books in the interim. Next up for me is My Best Friend’s Exorcism which looks like a YA novel (Yikes!). What grabbed my attention was its groovy and rad cover art which just reeked of 80s nostalgia.