Friday, October 11, 2013

Thoughts on Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.

Warning: Spoiler Alert for Doctor Sleep.

So, I finished reading the new Stephen King book Doctor Sleep today, and I'm kind of surprised that I was able to go into Barnes & Noble every day for the past week (sometimes twice a day) and sit there for an hour or two and end up reading the entire book without one of the employees noticing what I was doing and telling me to buy the book or piss off. But it worked out for me, and I was able to read it without having to shell out for it (or wait until I was able to get it through the library, which would have taken forever); with me trying to save as much cash as possible (what without having a "real job" right now), you can probably understand how awesome this is.

Ok, real thoughts ...

I have to admit that I liked The Shining a bunch more. This isn't to say that I didn't like Doctor Sleep, because I did, it's just that there was a different vibe about this book than there was with The Shining. With the first, there seemed to be a bit more zeitgeist of fear and horror with everything that was happening within the plot, and that could have come from a few different things. It could have come from the fact that the story was really only about three people, and that those three people were completely isolated from the outside world (and therefore much more vulnerable to what the hotel was trying to do); it could have been that when it was the hotel that was trying to kill the Torrance family, you were able to (and really had to) fill in the most horrible of boogeymen from your childhood nightmares as what it was that was trying to get Danny and gobble him up (but with Doctor Sleep, once you put a face (or group of faces) onto "the enemy," the Evil that is coming to get them doesn't seem quite as scary, cuz then (to a certain extent), it's just another person (even if that person is someone who tortures and kills kids, and who is essentially a psy!vampire ... but without any of the cool); it could have been that when you are not a child torturing murderer, there is only so far that you are going to be able to flesh out such a character, and you aren't necessarily going to make such a character terrifying (since the ones that are truly terrifying are the ones that are real, because you know that they would do such a thing); it could have been the difference between when you are drinking (and writing about someone who is also struggling, but who is losing the battle against the bottle and sanity combined), and being someone who is recovering, and writing about someone who is recovering. Or it could have been a combination of all or part of all of them. I think that what made me like The Shining a bit better was a combination of the family being completely isolated, facing an unquantifiable evil, and having Papa Torrance fighting to keep his sanity at the same as Wendy and Danny where fighting for their lives.

Spoiler about the ending:

I am kind of disappointed that the fight at the end had what felt like a bunch of build up, but not nearly enough punch. Rose was supposed to be this super scary and unbeatable psy!vampire, but in the end, she went out like a punk ... and none of the good guys really got hurt at all. There were a few bumps and bruises, but there really wasn't any damage to speak of. With all of the build up that there was for Rose, I would like to have seen at least one of the good guys die during the fight. And does it make me a horrible person to admit that I actually kind of hoped that it was Danny that died? Probably. But then again, I'm also the same one who wanted virtually every character in The Stand to die. Seriously. When I read it earlier this year, I actually went on record as saying that I wanted every character but one to die ... and the one that I wanted to be the one who survived was one of those that died (shakes fist at Papa King).

There just seemed to be something kind of satisfying to finally have Danny's luck run out, and not only have him not survive something that was supposed to be a huge fight, but have all of the luck from the Overlook and all of the nights drinking and fighting where he should have died finally come and get him. As you can probably tell, I'm not one for happy endings; I want everything to be horrible and have it look like good may have only won by the skin of their teeth (and the black hats are still around, but they're just waiting to regroup and bring an even bigger fight to the white hats later on).

But despite that, like I said, I still did enjoy it. Hell, I kept going back to make sure that I got through it, because I wanted to know what happened; and maybe that should be the selling point for it: I kept coming back to it, because I wanted to know what happened.

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