Saturday, October 12, 2013

Audiobook Review: Doctor Sleep

Title: Doctor Sleep
Author: Stephen King
Source: My own audio copy 

Narrated by: Will Patton

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 the territory of this icon in the King canon.


I loved THE SHINING.  I read the book more than once, saw the movie a few times (here's Johnny!) and even sat through the disaster that was the re-make.  So imagine how excited I was, when Doctor Sleep was announced.  

Unfortunately my excitement turned to disappointment fairly quickly.  I was irritated from the start.  Dan is messed up (as I imagine anyone would be after his experiences at the Overlook Hotel) but his troubled life was not shared sympathetically at all.  He just came across as a very unlikeable bum.   

Luckily he gets off the bus in the right town and his life is turned around when he meets Billy, someone with just a twinkle of shine.  He is introduced to AA by his new friends and his life becomes more bearable.  

He starts working at a Hospice (or Hot Spice as Abra calls it) as an orderly.  He uses his shine to ease dying patients as they finally let go and he becomes known as Doctor Sleep. 

Abra not only shines, she radiates!  Dan has never known anyone that shines so brightly.  Unfortunately this is also recognized by The True Knot, a group of creatures that craves shine.  They use steam (as they call it) like vampires use blood.  They hunt for children with the shine and through torturing them to death, they steal their steam.  Steam that has given them centuries of life.  They feel invincible, high above the average human being. 

As you can imagine, it becomes a battle for Abra's life.  And here her parents become the next irritating sequence for me. Abra is thelve years old - her parents have experienced some of her specialness through the years.  You would imagine that her mother would have some inkling of how to handle this paranormal situation . . .

There are not much horror in the supernatural sense in this book.  And I would not like to compare it to THE SHINING.  In fact, you can read Doctor Sleep without even having heard of THE SHINING.  All in all, it is not a bad book . . . as long as you do not expect the suffocating terror of his predecessor.

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