Thursday, 17 October 2013

160/111 - Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

So I know exactly why I bought this book, and when, and why I read it. Sadly it took me longer to read than I wanted to as I was a bit ill from work and didn't want to read it until I was feeling better, and this week I've taken some annual leave so I totally smashed it yesterday, even though I have been dipping in and out for a couple of weeks now. I was a bit nervous about reading this as I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much as The Shining, or some of Stephen King's other books, however I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it very much.

This story picks up about 20 years in the future, and Danny is now Dan. He has grown up but a lot of the troubles that followed him when he was a child have still pursued him as an adult. He is alone, and pretty down-and-out, having followed in the footsteps of his alcoholic father, and he's done some pretty terrible things. He spends his time drifting from town to town and working menial jobs until he inevitably gets fired and has to move on.

Danny eventually gets to a new town and feels the presence of his old friend Tony, which he takes as a sign to stay. He sobers up and gets a job as Doctor Sleep in a home for the elderly, and his nickname comes from the fact that he is able to help the dying over to the other side when they are close to the end.

He begins to receive strange messages from a little girl who we come to know as Abra, who has a similar ability to Danny's, albeit much more powerful, and she is being hunted by a group called the True Knot, who are a group of sort-of vampires who feed on the children with abilities like Danny's and Abra's.

I really, really enjoyed this book. There were lots of things that frightened me about it, but not in the same way that The Shining did - I was afraid that Stephen King was going to kill Danny or Abra. I was scared that Dick and Wendy wouldn't have a part to play (and on those counts my fears were justified) and I guess that was about it. It was really tense at a lot of points, and I loved the feeling of it all washing over me as a good story should do. There was even a moment near the end which made me tear up, where Danny briefly glimpses the ghost of his father on the old site of the Overlook hotel, and the love they have for each other, which is clear from The Shining, came back to me immediately and really moved me.

I don't really want to make and judgements on which one I prefer or which is better, as this is my first reading of the book and it was my first re-reading of The Shining, so I think I'll reserve that for a couple of years time when I'll inevitably re-visit them both. So I guess for the time being that's really all I want to say. I enjoyed reading it, sat on my sofa on my week off, with nothing else to distract me, which is exactly the way I wanted to enjoy it.

Can't wait for the next one!

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