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Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revisiting a famed story over 35 years after its original publication has to be terrifying for any author, even the King of Horror. However, King handled this with great aplomb and, though I was skeptical in the beginning, I feel that he did right by Dan Torrence. In his author’s note King said that this story spawned from two questions: “Whatever happened to that kid from The Shining?” and “What would have happened to Danny’s troubled father if he had found Alcoholics Anonymous instead of trying to get by with what people in AA called “white-knuckle sobriety”?” Through Doctor Sleep, we get answers to both of these questions, but with Danny himself standing in for Jack Torrence in the alcohol department.

“There are other worlds than these.”

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UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ve ever yearned from something as terrifying as Wesley’s pink Kindle.

“A crazy certainty had arisen in his mind: a hand – or perhaps a claw – was going to swim up from the grayness of the Kindle’s screen, grab him by the throat, and yank him in.”

Imagine a world ten years in the past. Electronic books and e-readers are just beginning to take the world by storm. Wesley Smith is a college English literature professor who, after a nasty breakup partially over his distaste for the new trend of reading on a device, has decided to bite the bullet and purchase his first ever Kindle from Amazon. It arrives sooner than it should, sans instructions and sporting an odd pink color instead of the white of all other Kindles. Also unusual is the fact that, under the ‘Experimental’ section is a handful of subsections called Urs. Ur is evidently representative of alternate realities in which authors lived longer or died younger, attached themselves to different genres or penned more and greater works than are present in our reality. If this doesn’t sound like an incredible and awe-inspiring addition to the Kindle store, you and I view the world very differently.

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Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

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Elevation

Elevation

Elevation by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Gravity is the anchor that pulls us down into our graves.”

Elevation is not your typical Stephen King book. First of all, it’s a tiny thing clocking in at fewer than 150 pages. Compared to most of King’s published works, that’s insanely short. He does have some wonderful novellas and short stories, but when a man known for publishing doorstoppers like IT, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and The Stand publishes something that can be read in a day, it seems like a pretty radical difference. Second, this is not a horror story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely strange, but it didn’t strike me as horror. Instead, it was bittersweetly moving, focusing on friendship and its ability to get us through even the toughest of times.

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Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had no plans to pick this book up because I was so disappointed in Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the trilogy. (You can read my Goodreads review of that book here.) My major complaint with that book was its blandness; it just felt incredibly forgettable to me. Not so with Finders Keepers. In this story we have a much more multifaceted plot and, even better, a plot that revolves around books!

I’m a huge sucker for books about books. Even though Finders Keepers is at its core a suspense and a crime drama, fiction played a huge role in the story. A Salinger-esque author has hidden himself from the world, but continues to handwrite more stories and poems and essays, locking the notebooks away in his safe instead of sharing them with the public. When he’s murdered and the notebooks go missing, the author becomes even more cloaked in mystery.

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The Mist

The Mist

The Mist by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mist is another of King’s works that, like Carrie, has become such an integral part of society’s collective consciousness regarding fear that it’s become almost cliche. And, as with Carrie, my visit to the Mist completely altered my perception of a story I thought I knew. In my opinion, it went a long towards explaining why King chooses to end stories the way he does, which I’ll get into later. All that being said, The Mist is a quick little journey into the frightened mind, a dissection of mob mentality and the way fear plays itself out within a group of strangers who are thrown together by sudden and unexplained danger. It’s disturbing and thoughtful and does a fantastic job of putting readers in the shoes of its characters.

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Carrie

Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

In a sense, Carrie is the book that launched a thousand nightmares. This was King’s first ever novel and, while not his scariest, we would have never been exposed to the tales that have terrified millions without it. I feel that Carrie deserves respect for that reason alone, but I confess that I was hesitant to pick it up. Often, when you find an author you love later in their career, going back to their first published forays into their craft can be a bit disappointing as their writing abilities have improved or at least changed over the course of that career. I needn’t have worried. Every page completely entranced me, and I was engaged through the very last page.

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Night Shift

Night Shift

Night Shift by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Night Shift is exactly what I have always expected to find in Stephen King’s work, but which I have only experienced sporadically in his novels; it was genuinely scary. Short story collections are generally pretty hit or miss for me. Even those I’ve enjoyed aren’t usually overwhelmingly successful, giving me a handful of stories sprinkled liberally with mediocre tales. Not so here. I honestly enjoyed every single story in this collection.

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The Dark Half

The Dark Half

The Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There will be light spoilers in this review, but I tried to keep them on par with what would be revealed by the synopsis of the book. There was simply no way for me to review this while keeping every detail concealed.

King crafted something both horrifying and utterly fascinating from his frustration over the loss of Richard Bachman. For those who aren’t familiar with Bachman, he was King’s pseudonym, under which he wrote Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man before accidentally outing himself in his fifth publication, Thinner.

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The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this book over a week ago. Why haven’t you reviewed it and moved on already, you may ask? Well, I have this compulsive thing about reviewing a book immediately, so I’ve just been totally ignoring the fact that I completed it. This delay is partly due to the fact that I’ve been insanely busy and too tired to read more than a handful of pages a day, much less having time to properly formulate a response to what I’ve read. But the other cause for the delay is that mediocre books are the hardest to review. And as much as I’ve been loving King the past few years and have enjoyed binge-reading his work every October, that’s what this book was for me: mediocre.

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