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.
Audio, Unabridged Published September 24th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published September 1st 2013)
Five big stars! An amazing read that gave me a book hangover. King at his best!
Even though Danny and his mother escaped the Overlook Hotel, the shining has not left Danny. His unique gift became even more of a curse as he entered into adulthood. He spent a good portion of his twenties and early thirties drunk and hungover. After he wakes up in a strange bed with a girl he hardly knows draped across him, Danny flees. He leaves behind the girl and her eighteen month old son, even though the shining tells him the boy is being beaten by his uncle. He makes his way to New Hampshire where a kindly stranger with his own spark of shining offers him a job. Slowly, Danny finds some friends and gets sober. Meanwhile miles away, a young girl is born with the shining. Over the years, she communicates with Danny via his blackboard. Then one day, she sends a desperate message, she is in trouble. A band of psychic vampires the True Knots led by the despicable Rose the Hat are after her. They will stop at nothing to capture Abra. Can Danny save Abra from the True Knots?
What I Liked:
- I am proud to consider myself one of Stephen King's constant readers. I have been reading his books for over twenty years now. Many I loved, a few were not so hot. Every once in awhile, he delivers a book so powerful that I am in awe. I am pleased to report that Doctor Sleep is just one of those reads. It is King at his finest. I had a serious case of book hangover after finishing this one! It has everything you love in a solid King book: flawed but likable characters, horrible villains, intense suspense and plenty of paranormal. If you are a fan of King, I think you will love this book. I can't wait to read it again.
- One thing that I always appreciate in a good Stephen King book is his characters. Mr. King's characters are meticulously created, he takes his time introducing them to the reader with all their flaws and secrets. His characters are always a bit troubled and some even tortured by their pasts, but I am always drawn to them, and I find myself liking them despite their flaws. Danny Torrance all grown up is a miserable alcoholic a bit like his father. He is an absolute mess, and it was hard to see the boy that I loved and cheered for in The Shining faltering. Whenever I read a Stephen King story, I always feel like he pours a piece of his soul into each and every one of his characters because so many of their experiences are described with such detail that I feel like only someone who lived it could write it. The alcoholism that plagues Danny, his fall to rock bottom and subsequent recovery are painstakingly detailed. I just knew that Danny's story was in part Mr. King's story. It was apparent Danny's alcoholism recovery was based on personal experiences, and for those of you who don't know, Stephen King early in his career did indeed suffer from severe alcohol and drug abuse until his wife and children helped him get sober. I very much enjoyed catching up with Danny and watching him overcome the ghosts of his past and present as he strives to become a better man.
- The pace of this book is slow and steady. If you haven't experienced a King masterpiece, you may be unfamiliar with his careful and painstaking pace as he takes his time to introduce you to the characters and build the conflicts. Everything is laid out clearly and concisely and there is no doubt as to where the story is headed, but even though you know what is coming, Mr. King manages to throw in some jaw dropping surprises that left me completely stunned. I loved it! Reading a King book is like going on a long journey, you have to take your time and be patient and just let the magic of the story soak in. The pay out in the end is almost always worth the trip.
- I love the range of emotions that I feel when reading a King book. He makes me laugh at his unique sayings, and in fact, over the years many of his one liners have worked into my vocabulary. I always appreciate his candor and humor. One minute I am smiling and enjoying the story, and the next, I am on edge waiting tensely as the horror mounts. King knows how to frighten without resorting to a lot of blood, guts and gore. He knows how to slink into your mind and stir into the dark corners where you have hidden away the childhood bogey man. He gets you when you are least expecting it. I cannot tell you how much admire his ability to make me feel as I read. I laughed, I cried and I shuddered in fear. Loved it!
- The villains, the True Knot, are absolutely vile. I quaked with dread every time the story switched to the view point of Rose the Hat. She is the ultimate bad guy, and she truly frightened me. Absolutely without a doubt, one of King's best and creepiest villains to date. I felt my stomach knot with fear each time the story was through her eyes. She is nasty, and I hated her.
- I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook version of Dr. Sleep, and I cannot recommend it enough. Will Patton does an absolutely amazing job narrating this one. His character voices, especially Rose the Hat and her main man, The Crow, are phenomenal. I couldn't get enough of his narration. His female voices are well done and I had no problems with them. This was perfect to listen to during those last sunny days of autumn as I spent the afternoon in the sunshine with my kids. I didn't dare listen to this before bed as I didn't want any nightmares. Once I hit the midway point, I was glued to it. I couldn't put it down. One day, I started listening to it on my way to the store, and what was supposed to be only and hour or two listen, ended up stretching into six hours as I had to finish it. It was one heck of a journey. If you can get a hold of the audiobook, I suggest you do so. I loved it! Will Patton rocks, and I will certainly be listening to other books that he narrates.
And The Not So Much:
- I in no way feel qualified to criticize anything of Stephen King's because he is without a doubt a master story teller, and the author I have read and loved the most. I do have a couple of tiny things that I thought could have made the story a bit better. The ending was a bit strange. The storyline with the True Knot and Danny and Abra settles out satisfactorily, but then there is a bit of a lengthy epilogue which was fine, but I was left wanting to know more about Abra and how she was adjusting. The final scene was strange as I don't think it really tied into the story. It is hard to explain, but I think it ended in a weird place.
- Early on, you are introduced to Rattlesnake Andie. She becomes the newest inductee into the True Knot bandits. There are several scenes from her view point, and I was led to believe that she would play an important part in the story, but alas her involvement in the story is minimal, and she ends up having very little to do with the story. Not a big deal, but I was expecting more from her.
- I found Abra's great grandmother, Conchetta, fascinating and in fact, aside from Dan and Abra, she was my favorite character. Her story line drifts out and ends suddenly, and I was left wanting more.
- My heart leapt with joy at the beginning of the book when Dick Hollaran returns. I loved his character in The Shining, and I was so happy to have him in this story, but sadly his part is very small and I was sad that there was not more of him. I also wished that Dan's mother was a bit more involved, I would like to have known a bit more about what happened to her after the hotel and such before her illness.
- I was left a bit confused over the True Knots. How did they come to be? Were they created by the Grandpa, and if so where did he come from? What were they chanting? What were their beginnings?
- Finally, I was a bit surprised, and relieved to be honest, that the big climatic showdown settled out as easily as it did. Not that I wan't thrilled the way it worked out, but in all honesty, I was expecting it to be more of a kick in the gut and horrific, but thankfully it was not. I really shouldn't complain, but being a seasoned King reader I was prepared for the worst, and it doesn't happen.
Without a doubt, Doctor Sleep is the best book I have read in 2013. It was King at his finest, and I rate it right up there with my two favorite King books: Wizards and Glass and It. This was an epic read that gave me a serious case of book hangover after I finished it. It was hard to pick up another book when my mind was still entrenched in this story. I cannot recommend this book enough! It was amazing. I cannot wait to go back and reread it and experience the tremendous story all over again. If you are an old King fan, or a relatively new one, or even someone who hasn't experienced the awesomeness of a King book, you should read this book! I loved it!
I purchased an audiobook copy. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.