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.
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 this icon in the King canon.
What I Liked:
Where do I even begin??? I loved this book. When I started it, I fully expected it was going to be The Shining Part II. It’s really not. Reading The Shining would certainly help you understand what’s going on, but it isn’t required to enjoy this book. In fact, I think that’s why I liked it so much. Doctor Sleep is most definitely its own story. It has a totally different vibe to it.
Doctor Sleep has an element of sadness to it that is heartbreaking at times. Dan has been through so much since the Overlook and almost none of it has been pretty. Doctor Sleep takes you on Dan’s journey starting with just shortly after the events of the Overlook. There are a couple of jumps forward in time, which can be a little confusing at first, but trust me, they are necessary for the story. You need to be told the stories that come from those memories.
Another thing I liked about this book is the air of wisdom Dan has by the time we reach present day with him. He’s been through a lot and come out on the other side stronger for it. However, he’s not dumb enough to think that he can handle anything and everything that may be thrown at him. He absolutely knows better and he still has a healthy fear of the otherworldly baddies.
Finally, the NOS4A2 tie-ins! If you were not aware of who he is, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King. They must have been writing their books right around each other (NOS4A2 was released in April 2013) because there are things mentioned in Doctor Sleep that you will instantly recognize if you’ve read NOS4A2. A horrific story about Charlie Manx. A Christmasland bumper sticker. They’re relatively small and if you haven’t read NOS4A2, you’d have no clue that it is a reference to another book, so these references don’t distract you from the story at all.
What I Didn’t Like:
I don’t really have anything that I didn’t like. I think the only thing I found a little off was a scene involving the baddies in a movie theater. It really seemed unnecessary to the story. Now, my book club friends picked it out right away and made kind of a big deal about it. I found it odd when reading the scene and then realized after I was done with the book that it was never really revisited, and I couldn’t think of anything it really related back to. That being said, maybe I missed something when reading the book. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s something I didn’t like about the book, I just found it a little odd is all.
Who I Would Recommend It To:
EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lol True to SK form, I don’t think Doctor Sleep is like anything else in his catalog, but then, that’s what I love about SK’s writing. I don’t think anything he turns out is comparable to anything he’s written before. You have elements of horror, paranormal (of course!), drama, comedy, and a little bit of all-out terror, but if you’re looking for The Shining Part II, it’s not the same book, peeps! This is a whole new story. It’s a very well-written mystery with some moments that will make you cry and others that will turn your stomach. I absolutely loved every minute of this book.
As a side note, I listened to the audiobook version of Doctor Sleep and, as you all know, I love a good narrator. Actor Will Patton narrated this one and he is simply amazing. If you’re not familiar with the name, Google it. You’ll know who he is. He’s been in what seems like a bazillion movies, some of my favorites being Armageddon, Gone In 60 Seconds, and Remember The Titans. He’s got a great voice for long listening, he’s got good cadence, and he captures the emotion of the story impeccably! Loved it!