Book Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep (The Shinning #2)Image
Stephan King
Paranormal Horror
Published: 2013
Publisher: Scribner
4.5/5 stars


                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 Shinning and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King Canon.



                Doctor Sleep is a great work of fiction, Stephan King did a fantastic job bringing to life the rest of Danny Torrance’s reality. How he develops and who he becomes, how his past circumstances helped and hindered him in his development in his formative years and how that crossed over into adult hood where he was a struggling alcoholic was all very believable and made perfect sense.   One thing of note, this is not a sequel in the traditional sense and in my opinion it comes across as more of a companion novel which made this all the more fun to read.
                Dan Torrance’s character was soft, gentle, but he was also hard, and kept to himself. It was interesting to read how he would spiral, then build himself back up again only to spiral out of control once again. I was definitely happy when he finally got sober and was very happy to see that he stayed sober throughout the novel. I was disappointed however that Dan lost some of his ability in regards to his supernatural powers and was happy to find that eventually they came back. It was surprising to me that as a main character that Dan wasn’t the strongest character however, I believe that made the story more engaging and believable.
                Doctor Sleep wasn’t as scary as ‘The Shinning’ and I found ‘The True Knot’ not nearly as scary as I had been hoping they would be. Beyond the odd scene here of there, the focus on their power and what they were was more lackluster than I would have hoped. They weren’t nearly as scary as the cover flap would have led me to believe. I was hoping for more of a ‘coven’ feel in terms of their group but they seemed a little disorderly and for some reason I kept imagining them as people with poor hygiene and broken down RVs although it was clear that wasn’t what they were like.
                I found Abra’s character engaging, she was spunky and head strong. She is a twelve year old girl with terrifyingly strong powers and she was aware of them. She also struggles with trying to be normal in a world where she can never be just like everyone else. She’s unique, talented and beautiful and stronger than anyone else in this universe that Stephan King has created with ‘Doctor Sleep and the Shinning’. I found it refreshing however that she had flaws because as we all know a perfect character isn’t interesting to read at all. Characters need strengths and weaknesses to make them relatable and more realized.
                Over all, I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep. It was a fantastic addition to my Stephan King collection and I’m very much looking forward to all of the books that he writes in the future though I am not sure if I’ll ever anticipate a book the way I anticipated ‘Doctor Sleep’.
                Doctor Sleep was a great way to start my October reading month.
                If you’ve read Doctor Sleep what did you think of it? Or perhaps if you’re not interested in reading Doctor Sleep why not?  Interested in what you all are thinking!



9 thoughts on “Book Review: Doctor Sleep

  1. I’m reading it right now, and I am so close to the end that I can’t wait until my lunch break so that I can finish it! Although there were a few slowish sections, I found this a very intense read. In fact, I agree that it wasn’t as scary as some of his books, but I must say that it left me feeling disturbed on many occasions during my time reading it. It is amazing how King can make me on edge and make my skin crawl even though there is nothing hugely exciting happening at that moment. Does that make sense? He just has a way of affecting my emotions with his incredible writing skills. I hadn’t read any of his books for a number of years, and now that I am back into them again, I have remembered why he has always been one of my favourite authors!!

    • Totally makes sense!!
      He is totally the master of suspense for sure! It’s neat to see the way his writing style has evolved throughout the years (Though I’m sure he was writing before I was even born ha)
      Excited to hear what you thought about the ending! 🙂

      • I finished!! And I loved the ending but like with any great book, I’m sad it’s over. I don’t want to leave the characters because I feel like I’m just getting to know them well. The ending was exciting and intense (a word I use a lot to describe this book), but I also like how he slowed it all down to wrap everything up and let my heart settle down. My biggest surprise of all though was reading what King wrote at the end about how he came to write Doctor Sleep. After all these years of reading his books, I had no idea that he was an alcoholic!

      • I didn’t know either until recently when my Husband came home from work and said “did you know Stephan King had a drug and alcohol problem?” Apparently he doesn’t even remember reading Cujo! 🙂

  2. I’m trying to read it. About 1/4 of the way through and I have yet to find a reason to continue on with it. It’s a significant disappoint for me.

      • I’ve read Stephen King for 35 years. Loved, loved, loved him for many years and many stories. The love affair ended with the end to the Dark Tower series. And most of what he has written since then feels far too much like he’s writing the same story over and over again. My problem with Doctor Sleep is that I’m completely uninterested in the True Knot. The thing I liked about his early books is that there was evil afoot, but evil didn’t necessarily have a name or a face or any real form. Evil was just evil. I loved It for example, until the end and it turned out that the evil was caused by a large spider. It just ruined the whole story. I keep hearing how each new book he publishes is different so I go out and buy it, hoping that I’ll be fascinated again. The last three –11/22/63, Joyland and now Doctor Sleep — have been a major disappointment.

      • Ah, that’s really interesting because I also really enjoyed Joy Land, I have 11/22/63 perhaps I should settle down and read it, I’d probably like it then!
        I am not as big of a fan of his older works and really enjoy his newer fiction. I’ve read a few places that Stephan King’s work has ‘softened’, what do you think about that? do you think thats true? I wonder if that’s why I’m enjoying his newer fiction more. I find it so interesting how everyone has different opinions on everything.

      • There’s a simple reality about books, just like any art form. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. There was this thing that King did with much of his early work that seemed original. For me, much of what he has done in the last decade is stale. I don’t know if it’s because it has softened. To me, it’s just that he seems to be repeating the same themes and stories. Under the Dome could very easily be The Stand, as well as a couple of other stories, for example. Joyland includes the standard cast of King characters — a boy who sees and knows more than he should; an old guy who has some mystical powers, and this and that. There just seems to be so much repetition in his characters and his story lines. I’m glad you’re enjoying his work. It’s just not doing it for me anymore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s