Book Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

*Sigh* WTF was that, Mr. King?

I am a huge fan of Stephen King, especially his older books (Carrie, The Shining, It, The Green Mile…you know the drill). I have to say that I wasn’t jump up and down excited when I heard about this sequel. I wasn’t unhappy about it but I didn’t see a need for it. Then I got the book for Christmas so I figured I might as well give it a shot.

Ugh.

The Shining was scary. It wasn’t the writing that made it scary but the descriptions. I didn’t always see the ghosts but I “heard” them. That once part where the ghost approached the door and then tried to turn the doorknob and get Jack? That scene scared the pants off of me like no other.

There was none of that in Doctor Sleep.

What we get in Doctor Sleep was a whiny-assed Dan Torrance who has the power to help the elderly cross over to the other side. He finds a young girl named Abra who also has the shining and she has way more of it than he ever did. Dan and Abra run into a seemingly random bunch of “vampires” who ride around the United States in RVs. They torture and murder children with the shining and use the power to help them live forever. Because…Pickles? What was frightening about them was the fact that they are by far the least scary “monsters” I’ve ever encountered in a book.

There are some touching family scenes, some super obvious “plot twists,” and an ending that came complete with a shiny bow on top. Jack Torrance himself even made an appearance. I suspect that was supposed to be a heartwarming moment but I just wanted to throw the book through a window.

Doctor Sleep was full of everything I loathe in a book. Good guys are obviously good and bad guys are obviously bad. There are happy endings, all the loose ends are knotted, and every question gets answered by the time you reach the last page.

I fell in love with King’s novels because they are so human despite the supernatural elements. People don’t always get a happy ending. More often than not, they just break even. There aren’t clear-cut good guys and bad guys. There isn’t a happy, warm-fuzzy ending.

The whole novel felt a bit half-assed. It seemed forced. There was a blurb in the beginning where King mentions questions from book signings. Everyone always asked him what happened to Danny after he escaped The Overlook? If King wrote Doctor Sleep just to appease the masses I could understand the lackluster performance if his heart wasn’t really in it. I can’t forgive it but it would be understandable.

There was one absolutely terrifying aspect of the book: the ending left room for a third installment.

That is the stuff of nightmares.

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