Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Doctor Sleep

Title/Author: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.

Narrator: Will Patton.

Genre:  Horror.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio.

Source:  Library.

Synopsis:  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. ~Goodreads.com.

Midnyte Musings:  Doctor Sleep is an action packed supernatural thriller, with plot twists, emotion and sympathetic characters.

The book starts out with two basic important events before it gets to the meat of the story.  An incident after the Overlook Hotel in which Dick Halloran assists Danny and another experience that leaves Danny scarred and guilty.  Flash forward several years later and Danny is settled in New Hampshire and works as an orderly at a nursing home with a specific gift.  He is able to help people pass on.  He also has made several friends and is sober due to Alcoholics Anonymous.

The story also follows The Stones and their very special daughter Abra.  Abra also has The Shining like Danny, yet much more than Danny.  In a series of events Abra and Danny meet and subsequently come in contact with The True Knot and their leader, Rosie The Hat.  These creepy antagonists are the epitome of insidious, stealing people to drink their essence. Yet, there are times when they read so human and frail that at times I felt sympathy for them as well.

There is a lot of heart-stopping, nerve wracking action.  There are plenty of creepy and horrific scences as well.  The creepiest in my opinion, was when Danny is at the bedside of the French woman.   The True Knot and their actions are not for the faint of heart, but I think fans will appreciate their role and their actions.

King also delved into the mechanisms of AA in a very human and humane way.  I appreciated this glimpse into the doubts, struggles and triumphs of someone who is battling with addiction.  It also made Danny more real, more sympathetic.  What I also loved were the scenes when Danny would help a Hospice patient.  They were so emotional and had me in tears.

There is the typical King influx of information and backstory, but it was easy for me to overlook because of the strength of the story.

The next part might have some spoilers, but I wanted to talk about my (small) misgivings. Even though Abra did have several brushes with Rosie The Hat and a very (very) close call with cult itself, I still felt that the final showdown was somehow a tad lacking without her.  I understand she definitely helped, but I felt something was missing.  Maybe I wanted a closer encounter between Abra and Rosie.

If you didn't read The Shining, you may have some trouble appreciating Doctor Sleep to its fullest, but I still think it is an enjoyable, scary read and stands strong on its own.

Constellation of Characters:
Danny Torrance - The little boy hero from The Shining is all grown up now.  He deals with demons of the past and those from his own making.  I do love him though.  For all his damaged traits he tries and succeeds to rise above them.

Abra Stone - A powerful force in a little package.  Although only a young teen, she packs a lot of punch.  She is brave, strong and yet sometimes impetuous which can bring her trouble.

Rosie The Hat - So scary!  So evil!  Such a bitch!  I hated her so much.  Her ruthlessness and anger are so palpable and she would stop at nothing to get her way and destroy those trying to stop her.  But such a great villain.

Billy - He is one of my favorite characters.  A minor player with an important role he shows courage, humor and is very endearing.

Narration:  Perfection.  Patton was able to elicit so much range and depth into these characters.  Anger, despair, frustration.  My heart would pump at the rage of Rosie The Hat and I had physical reactions to the range of emotions portrayed.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the narrator's portrayals.

Starstruck Over:  The plot twists, depth of story and surprises of Doctor Sleep.

Other Editions:



Bark At The Ghouls said...

Great review, I'm waiting for audio for this one but may break down and grab the copy with the kitty on the cover. The Shining was one of the few books that actually scared me and I'm hoping this one has a little bit of that magic in it.

Karen said...

I haven't read a Stephen King novel in a long time - this is the first one that has intrigued me. Probably because of the creepy cover lol

Midnyte Reader said...

@Felicia - That is good to know. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but I wasn't sure. To be honest, I can't even remember reading The Shining.

@Barkless-The audio is so great. I don't know that my imagination would have brought the story to life as much. But yeah, the cat cover is cool.

@Karen-It is really a good story. I hope you can get around to it.

~Sara @ Just Another Story said...

I remember when the mini series of The Shining came out back in 1997. I was ten, and watched the first two parts and had to sleep with my sister for a year. Then my friend read the book and said it was ten times scarier. My point is... I will probably never read anything by Stephan King, although I am majorly intrigued. My book club read Duma Key in the summer and I couldn't do it, He freaks me out to much.

Thanks for your review, I love reading your reviews on horror books, it's like a car accident for me: I know I shouldn't look, that I'll only end up with nightmares, but I can't look away.

~Sara @ Just Another Story

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