It is time for my occasional book-related post for a change. Finding out Doctor Sleep exists a few years ago I have gone through skeptical distance and growing interest until I finally picked it up. The book was an experience and naturally, I have some thoughts which I am itching to share, so I hope you enjoy this read.

The post is spoiler-free.

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When I first found out about Doctor Sleep I was quite pessimistic about it. The Shining is one of the best books I have read with incredible development of both storyline and characters. And I thought the ending was satisfying and concluded the story well enough. Also, it scared the s*it out of me and I didn’t want to go through this again.

Now, of course, I would wonder how Danny’s life turned out after the events at The Overlook. But I had come to terms with King’s decision to leave it up to interpretation. Or so I thought.

Doctor Sleep did a fantastic job in proving me wrong that The Shining doesn’t need a sequel while convincing me that there is much more to find out about Danny’s life and the essence of the shining (all of which was, at least for me, quite unexpected).

Many covers – all amazing

The novel took the incredible concept of The Shining and incorporated it into a new storyline. It also introduced other captivating personas, a different type of plot structure, and it did a wonderful job of exposing the consequences of the events in the previous novel. Furthermore, there was surpassingly good development of the whole “shining” phenomenon and the unforseen benefits and dangers it can bring.

FEAR can stand for Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise – the choice is yours.

Story

Doctor Sleep picks things up where The Shining left them and goes on to explore the unpredictable journey of Dan Torrance. It leads us through his childhood after The Overlook, gives us bits of his teenage years, and allows us to observe his descent into adulthood.

King incorporated the storyline of the first novel by showing us what had to follow while smoothly making it flow into a completely new tale. One with different characters, concept, and development which would make readers tremble with fear but easily devour the captivating storytelling with undiluted interest.

Another one of Stephen King’s remarkable pieces of work the book is a hauntingly accurate representation of real life.

The story developed well and ended in a clear way removing any uncertainties The Shining left. It gives readers a complete overview of Dan Torrance’s life including all of his ups and downs, intense struggles, and learned lessons, it introduced petrifying new creatures who hunt those who “shine”, and unveiled hidden details about the “shining” itself.

With an extremely interesting plot of a true page-turner the book is hard to put down and you will keep wanting more until you reach a satisfying conclusion. And you will have it – the end of an epic supernatural tale which is so close to real-life it is hard to tell it is fiction.

Characters

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Some really interesting characters were present in the novel. Artwork is by Cdesign-art on Deviantart (extracted from one of the covers).

As you might expect some of the characters from The Shining make appearances in Doctor Sleep. However, the most active one is Danny with Wendy, Dick Hollorann, and some of The Overlook “residents” having crucial but only supportive roles.

The novel introduces a completely new set of personas – intriguing protagonists Dan crosses paths with and terrifying (and dangerous) antagonists with alluring background and motives. Minor characters with equally important roles are not overlooked as well – everyone you meet has his/her role in the plot.

One of the best parts of the book for me is exactly the incredible antagonists who you cannot help to at least try to understand. They have the motives and reasons to do what they do and readers will most likely find themselves struggling between hating them and sympathizing. But one thing is clear – they have irresistible charm and great backstory which contribute to the overall reading experience.

As expected from the master of horror all main characters are explored in-depth and undergo considerable development during the storyline. King’s vast knowledge and experience once again contribute to the construction of realistic human interpretations with flaws that sometimes get the best of them. It is unavoidable that you will stop and think about your own life while exploring the internal battles, pressuring situations, and everyday behavior of the fictional cast.

Writing

There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.

A lot of people are pushed away by Stephen King’s writing. It is true he writes in a way which pays attention to each minor detail and explains the feelings and thoughts of characters with exhaustive precision. And this is exactly the reason I love his writing so much.

His books are simply immersive – reading his stories transports you into a different world – a world strongly resembling our own where the lines between normal and supernatural are easily blurred.

King slowly leads readers into the world he has created and makes them so familiar with the characters, their background, and the circumstances around them it is impossible not to completely get lost into the story he is telling.

I found Doctor Sleep written in a great way – without too much obvious repletion of words, diverse and illustrative description of emotions, the right amount of detail, and in-depth depiction of people, places, and events. Incredibly enjoyable and easy to digest Doctor Sleep is an absolute pleasure to read.

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I haven’t seen the movie adaption yet. I don’t have high hopes for it considering it is taking Kubrick’s The Shining as a prequel (and this movie was just terrible for me) but I am hearing postive responses so I might check it out later on.

Should I read it?

I strongly recommend the book to my fellow readers. As long as you are a fan of fiction chances are you will enjoy the novel.

It is King we are talking about, but truth be told – Doctor Sleep is not really one of his scariest pieces of work. It is more of a thriller than horror and relies on psychological shock-factors rather than petrifying scenes, suspense, and gore (they are not missing though). It has the horror elements as well as terrifying dark creatures but it is far from the horrors seen in The Shining.

I think it is a must-read – especially if you read and enjoyed The Shining, Doctor Sleep is the final piece you need to put terrors of The Overlook behind. For good.


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