Stephen King’s: Doctor Sleep

A Must Read 300Big things are happening in the Horror genre this season, and perhaps one of the most widely-anticipated releases in several years comes from Stephen King. King’s Doctor Sleep may sound familiar to some readers, and for good reason: it is the sequel to The Shining, which is often considered King’s best work. The author, himself, claims that he usually stays away from sequels, so the question remains: can he pull off such a high-profile sequel?

Thankfully, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes!” The story follows Dan Torrance, the young boy from the first book, as he spends his adult life drinking and, ultimately, trying to forget the psychotic legacy of his father. But Dan has the Shining, and those with the gift are never fortunate enough to live normal lives. Still, Dan has made the best of his gift and has reached a sad sobriety in a small New Hampshire town. It is with the introduction of 12-year-old Abra Stone that Dan’s haven is broken apart, as Abra and Dan have many terrifying things in common. Chased by a group who hunt and commit atrocities against those with the Shining, these two miserably lonely heroes find themselves in a desperate struggle against a group that is immensely old, and far more terrifying than anything Dan has experienced before.

Right off the bat, the setting and overall story are excellently introduced. King continues his tradition of making even sunshine and puppies seem twisted and foreboding. Going in, I was anxious as to whether or not this entry could be as classically horror-filled as the original. I am pleased to say the book is filled to the brim with terror, general unease, and heroes that absolutely nobody wishes to swap places with. Be warned, though. This is not The Shining. If you go in just expecting more of the same, you will be sorely (or pleasantly!) disappointed. The writing flows smoothly, and has an air of casualness about it from time to time, making the characters seem utterly real and convincing. As with any of King’s true masterpieces, half of the horror comes from the writing, itself. It all seems so natural that there is an almost constant sense of dread in the backdrop: as if the world itself is twisted. If you enjoyed The Shining, chances are you will love this book. While it doesn’t contain the same feeling of abandonment that the original had, it is its own creature, and has an incredible amount of scares to offer. Honestly, I have to recommend this to anybody who enjoys reading horror, and especially to those who are looking for something to fill their holiday reading list. The wait for Doctor Sleep was for over 30 years, but it was well worth it.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor