REDRUM. Creepy twins. An axe through a door. “Here’s Johnny!”

Jack Nicholson's eyebrows should have had their own end credit.

Jack Nicholson’s eyebrows should have had their own end credit.

Sigh.

Most people think of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining before they think of the original novel, which is a travesty. Stephen King, author of The Shining and many other wonderful books, created a playground of a world to search for ghosties and ghouls around every corner. With Doctor Sleep, a sequel of sorts set around 35 years later, Mr. King has only made his world richer.

Doctor Sleep follows little Danny Torrence after he and his mother escape his murderous father in the Overlook Hotel. Little Danny is now Dan Torrence, alcoholic trying to escape the powers he’s had his whole life. Dan eventually finds himself in a smallish town in the East Coast, one bad bender away from the emergency room or death. It’s not spoiling things to say that he turns his life around and begins working in a hospice, where he is known as “Doctor Sleep” for his ability to help people to the other side. All the while, the reader is treated to the tale of the True Knot, a band of powerful beings that roams the country, sucking life from powerful children to extend their own. And you also meet a precocious little girl named Abra – a little girl that just might be more than meets the eye.

I often say that Stephen King is going to be the author remembered from this generation, and he only grows his legacy with such a wonderful and rich work as this one. It seemed like a departure from his past work – mainly because this doesn’t seem to have been written with the goal to keep readers up at night, hearing phantom noises from closets and hallways. I’d argue that the majority of his work, at least in the first two decades of his writing, was written with the intent to scare shitless. Instead, it seems like he honestly just wanted to follow Dan, to see how his life turned out after the Overlook and a decade as an alcoholic. What would it be like, to have the shining? What would it be like to try and turn your life around? I’m not saying I don’t like the frights. I’m the first person to pick up Rose Madder or The Stand (which is not entirely frightening, but has petrifying portions). But it was a welcome change from a man known as the “King of Horror.”

The writing, as always, was top-notch. Whether it’s describing the pouncing, animalistic rituals of the True Knot or the wondrous, frightening abilities of Dan (and others), Mr. King knows how to best convey the thoughts from his head to mine through effortless prose. The man’s a genius. His writing reads like the best movies, without the benefits of time and budget constraints.

If I had any complaint, it would be that Mr. King didn’t give me enough details with the True Knot characters. He often references their pasts – the HBIC, Rose the Hat, was once Rose O’Hara in her life in Ireland centuries ago – but I would have loved flashbacks, histories, anything really. It reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in a really, really good way, but without all of the rich history that Mr. Gaiman put into every damn character, minor or not. Yet, with Doctor Sleep clocking in at almost 600 pages, you do have to pick your battles.

All in all, it was a fantastic read. I couldn’t put it down – I read it in two days. Thank goodness I was on vacation from my day job, or it would have definitely gotten in the way of normal life functions. If you pick it up, set aside a day to read it in – I doubt you’ll be able to put it down. One other note: if you haven’t read The Shining (seeing the movie DOES NOT COUNT), read it before you read Doctor Sleep. You’ll be glad you did.

Pick up Doctor Sleep at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your local bookstore.

Overall Score
95 %

This suspenseful adventure takes the reader on a supernatural joy ride from the first page. I recommend reading (or rereading) The Shining before you take it on, though.

Writing 100%
Character Development 90%
Glance over the shoulder because did I just see something move? 100%

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

Comments are closed.