Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot trav...

Title:Doctor Sleep
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1476727651
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:531 pages

Doctor Sleep Reviews

  • Tiya Rosa

    A sequel, huh? I didn't feel much for Danny when I was going through

    since Jack Torrance pretty much had me by the balls, but I guess - this being a Stephen King book - I can give it a try.

    Oh, who am I kidding?

  • Greg

    (Disclosure: I used to work at Stephen King's publisher and read

    in December 2012.)

    Get ready. If I can make just one recommendation: whether you're a longtime King fan or fairly new to his stuff, it wouldn't be the worst thing to read

    before you get your hands on

    . Seasoned fans know that the movie, while engrossing in its own right, is very different in many ways, and doesn't even begin to plumb the psychological depths that the book does. You could read an

    (Disclosure: I used to work at Stephen King's publisher and read

    in December 2012.)

    Get ready. If I can make just one recommendation: whether you're a longtime King fan or fairly new to his stuff, it wouldn't be the worst thing to read

    before you get your hands on

    . Seasoned fans know that the movie, while engrossing in its own right, is very different in many ways, and doesn't even begin to plumb the psychological depths that the book does. You could read and love

    without doing so, but I think people's experiences of this sequel will only be enriched by first checking out one of the mothers of all horror novels.

  • Kemper

    Remember that psychic little kid in

    ? Have you ever wondered what he’d be like as an adult after surviving a haunted hotel that drove his drunken father crazy and gave him a case of the redrums? If so, you’re in luck because Stephen King has now told us what happened to Danny Torrance, and he’s just as screwed up from his experience as you’d expect him to be.

    Like his father, Dan has grown up to be a bad tempered drunk, and he uses the booze to blot out his psychic powers as he drifts

    Remember that psychic little kid in

    ? Have you ever wondered what he’d be like as an adult after surviving a haunted hotel that drove his drunken father crazy and gave him a case of the redrums? If so, you’re in luck because Stephen King has now told us what happened to Danny Torrance, and he’s just as screwed up from his experience as you’d expect him to be.

    Like his father, Dan has grown up to be a bad tempered drunk, and he uses the booze to blot out his psychic powers as he drifts from town to town working menial jobs. The early part of the book focuses on Dan hitting bottom, and then trying to pull himself together with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. He winds up with a job as an orderly at a hospice where he earns the nickname of Doctor Sleep for his ability to provide an easier death for the patients.

    Dan becomes aware of a little girl named Abra with a shining ability that dwarfs his own, but unfortunately Abra has also come to the attention of group of vampire like creatures calling themselves the True Knot. They pretend to be humans who roam the country as a harmless pack of tourists in RVs while they track down and feed on the psychic energy collected from torturing children with the shining, and Abra would be like an all-you-can-eat buffet to them.

    This book is almost two separate stories. One is about Dan Torrance struggling to come to terms with the legacy of his father, his abilities and his alcoholism. The other is about the battle to save a little girl from a pack of vicious monsters. King does a decent job of trying to make these two tales intersect while revisiting some elements from

    , but it ends up feeling like less than the sum of its parts. Frankly, I was far more interested in Dan’s battle with the bottle than another Stephen King story about a child in danger from a supernatural threat.

    It’s not that Abra vs. the True Knot is bad. There’s a lot of genuinely creepy dread to be mined from a pack of psychic vampires roaming the country while posing as harmless middle aged farts, and King knows how to milk every drop out of that concept. And I liked the character of Abra a lot. The idea of a powerfully psychic young girl with a bit of a mean streak was great. Kinda like if Carrie White would have had decent parents and a happy childhood.

    In fact, Abra’s a little bit too powerful because she seems fully capable of kicking ass even during her first encounter with the True Knot. So while there’s a lot of nice build-up, most of what happens seems anti-climatic.

    Plus, while there’s some callbacks to

    , they mostly feel tacked on, as if King had this basic idea and then figured out ways to work in Dan’s history where he could. It’s not really organic and doesn’t seem necessary. I also think there’s a gaping plot hole in the True Knot’s key motivation to grab Abra and their scheme.

    One word of warning for those who have only seen the movie and not read the book, King is basing this on his version, not the film and there a couple of significant differences. (I got a laugh that King couldn’t resist taking yet another shot at the Kubrick adaptation in the author’s note afterwards. I don’t think he’s ever getting over his dislike of the movie.) Also, I listened to the audio version of this, and the narration by Will Patton is simply outstanding.

    I feared the idea of King returning to one of his best known works, but it turned out to be a remarkably solid effort with a lot of things I liked about it. I only wish that that I’d have found the rest of the book as compelling as finding out what kind of man the kid from the Overlook Hotel grew up to be.


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