Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: It by Stephen King

Title: It
Author: Stephen King

Read copy: Paperback
Published: August 7, 1987
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 0451169514
ISBN-13: 9780451169518

The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. "It" primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.

My rating:

I was among those who watched this when it came out as a miniseries. I was definitely too young to watch the miniseries, which proved itself when I kept inspecting out bathroom sink for any signs of blood for months afterwards.

Anyway, with the movie coming out (which I probably won’t go see), I became interested again, and after reading about the books having a much more developed Pennywise storyline, I decided to give it a go. After more than a week, I must say, the book proved to be quite a disappointment.

It started off great and the creepy factor was high, but then it sort of fizzled out and should’ve become a DNF, but somehow my stubborn streak kicked in. It was too long with too many things crammed into it going from creepy and gory into rather disgusting territory (with the animal torture and the “orgy” in the sewers) to downright bizarre with the whole alien and the Ritual of Chüd thing.

Somehow it all felt overblown, bloated and overburdened with all these different elements while most of it could’ve been cut creating a leaner, meatier tome.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: The Shining by Stephen King

Title: The Shining
Author: Stephen King

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0307743659
ISBN-13: 9780307743657

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

My rating:

The Torrance family moves to the Overlook Hotel in order for the recovering alcoholic patriarch, Jack, to start his new job as caretaker. But bringing his family with him proves to be a huge mistake for Jack, since his psychic son seems to bring out the worst in the old hotel.


Nicely plotted and well developed with realistic and believable, somewhat heart breakable (Jack in this instance) characters and plausible actions and reactions, this books flows more along the lines of psychological thriller than straightforward horror.
The suspense builds up so slowly that the true horror and evil creeps up suddenly and (almost) unexpectedly, although it also has its silly moments that break the flow of the story and the slow, inexorable progress of the creeping evil.

What also breaks the stride of the story is the length. It felt overblown, overdrawn, and was slowly getting very boring indeed. Fact is, it took me ages to finish. But maybe it was just me having an adverse reaction to King’s narrative style.