Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King

Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King


Insomnia by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This isn’t my favorite King novel I’ve ever read, but it was a fun, very interesting ride. If you’re planning on a journey to King’s Dark Tower, this one is absolutely essential. Not only are the concepts of ka and ka-tet integral to the plot of the novel, the Tower itself makes brief appearances. And while I didn’t look it up for fear of having important future plot points spoiled for myself, I’m almost positive that two important new characters in the main series were introduced in this book.

“Him’s name is Roland, Mama. I dream about him, sometimes. Him’s a King, too.”

Insomnia is a weird one, y’all. Chronic insomnia gives senior citizens magic powers and unusual psychic abilities. And then said seniors have to save not just Derry (yes, that Derry), not just the world, but multiple worlds. And they do this by sliding into a higher plane of existence. There were some freaky parts, but this is mostly a preternatural psychological thriller.

“It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in a while exhilarating.”

It was fun to revisit Derry for the first time since having read IT years ago. While it’s not as central to King’s collective mythos as Castle Rock, it’s probably the next most important King location in what is arguably our world. Every mention of Mike Hamlin as Derry’s librarian made me smile, and every time a sewer came up in the story I felt a little shiver.

“Sooner or later everything you thought you’d left behind comes around again. For good or ill, it comes around again.”

I think the main thing that inhibited my enjoyment of this book was the format I chose to consume. The audio version was just…bad. Not that the narrator was awful. No, what I hated was the dissonant music that would play very loudly over the narrator at the end of a chapter. It was obnoxious and, quite honestly, painful.

“It’s a long way back to Eden, Sweetheart, so don’t sweat the small stuff.”

If you’re taking your own journey to the Tower, please don’t skip this book. I think it’s going to be really important. But I highly recommend skipping the audio and reading it with your eyes, because your hearing is also important.

You can order this book from: Bookshop.org (Support independent bookstores!) | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

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