Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Sequels don't have to suck
I was left a little cold by reading Mr. Mercedes a couple of times last week so I decided to read another recent King book. A lot of people seem to think that King has "lost it" and writes out of habit or because he likes the money this late in his career. To those people I say "BULLSHIT."
Not every novel can be a hit and with the amount that King produces it's not surprising that his work isn't uniformly brilliant - sometimes you swing and miss. But I've really enjoyed most of the novels that King has published in the last ten years; it just so happens that Mr. Mercedes wasn't a home run - and I don't even think it was a miss, but maybe a foul or something instead (I don't really understand baseball).
Doctor Sleep is the novel that King published last year; it's a follow up to The Shining and it's amazing. I made the same face a lot of people make when they hear about a sequel to something as "important" as The Shining but I was incredibly pleasantly surprised with the novel.
The story follows Danny Torrence into adulthood and examines the problems that he has as a result of the terrible winter spent in the Overlook Hotel but also those problems that are simply the result of who and what he is.
In several of his novels King plays with the idea that some children carry magic inside of them, and it's fascinating to see that idea exploded onto adults with all of their vices and evils, and that is the world as King lays it out in Doctor Sleep, one with magic that saves lives and grows love, and with hate and avarice that want to steal that magic.
The book is creepy but not scary and touching but not sappy. In all aspects of the novel there is a wonderful sense of balance which, to me, proves that King is still writing because he likes it and cares for the craft - not because he just can't get out of the habit.
King, Stephen. Dr. Sleep. Scribner. New York: New York. 2013.