Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Retro Review



Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Horror Fiction on Audio, 18+ Hours
BUY
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

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.


This audiobook was read by Will Patton, none other than the beautifully raspy voiced Colonel Dan Weaver from Falling Skies! I love that show. Wish more people would watch it. His voice makes you feel like everything will be okay.


Patton does some wonderful things with this work, breathing life into the characters and always managing to suck me back into things if I started to drift a little (sorry, it’s King, one can’t help but drift and if you deny it, well your undies are probably on fire). I wish Patton could narrate all the books I want to read on audio. I cannot lie. I freely admit that my rating may have been compromised because of that man’s magical voice.

As most, if not all, of you know this is the sequel to The Shining. But this book is really nothing like The Shining. And that’s okay. Danny Torrance is all grown up and he’s a bit of a mess. I suppose I might be too if I grew up seeing the terrible things he’s seen. In order to turn down his “shining” and shut out the ghosts, he’s taken up drinking. Dan’s life has not been easy and drinking has only made things more difficult. He hits a low after a drinking binge and his action and inaction will forever haunt him. He eventually learns to use his powers for the good and works in an assisted living facility where he is known as Doctor Sleep because he is able to ease the dying into the hereafter but every day is a struggle against his addiction. This depiction felt extremely real and honest and was painful to read.

When a young girl named Abra with incredible “shining” powers comes screaming into his life, he becomes her mentor and finds himself entangled in a battle with a nefarious enemy who call themselves the “True Knot”. The True Knot torture and suck out the essence of children with the shining. They bottle it up and inhale it to stay immortal but their supply is running low and they are succumbing to human disease . . .

To be honest, these True Knot loons didn’t scare me all that much. Now this loon?



This loon scares me at a bone deep level.


The True Knot were unique, horrible and selfish but in such bad shape that they didn’t scare me. Maybe if we’d met up with them at their strongest I might’ve felt differently. As written they were kind of lame and Abra is described as having incredible shining power. So much so that from the beginning, I never truly believed the True Knot steam sucking nutzos would stand a chance against her and that’s all I’m saying.

Doctor Sleep is eerie and suspenseful, with strong characterization and shocking moments of sadness and death but I didn’t find it flat out terrifying as I did The Shining. I did enjoy seeing what became of little Danny Torrance and I felt for him and his plight with Abra (abracadabra – sorry but that’s all I could hear in my head whenever someone said the poor child’s name). It was a terrific sequel that didn’t let me down and definitely worth a listen on audio.

Comments

  1. I have had this one for a while on audio, I actually tried it once but drifted even it Will Patton. After you review I think I need to give it another try. :)

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    1. Ah, Will Patton can read me King's "Insomnia" and I'd be in, lol, and that book put me to sleep. I just love his voice. I hope it works better for you the 2nd time around.

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  2. Holy crap! I just realized I never finished this one. I started it and had to set it aside. This will be my next read now!

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    1. You need to get on that :) I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I don't know I missed this King novel, but apparently I did. Glad you reviewed it. I've been wanting to read more King this year, and I'm putting this one at the top of my list. :)

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    1. I've missed a few here and there. That man is a writing machine! I hope you enjoy it, Lark.

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  4. I enjoyed this one when I read it but then, I never felt The Shining needed a sequel so that alone was a tad disappointing. While they may have not been really scary, for months after reading this I never looked at a Winnebago on the highway the same way. Oh, and by the way, LOVED Falling Skies - except the last season. I wasn't thrilled with how it ended but overall it was a good show and I totally miss John Pope!

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    1. Ah, we have so much in common! All of the good shows peter out and get cancelled :(

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    2. I just discovered a new show coming out in 2017 from ABC. It's called Downward Dog and it's a story about a woman and her dog. I watched the trailer on line and it looks AWESOME. I'm gonna mention it again on my Weekly Reads Friday but you might want to check it out. However, I have no hope that it won't get canceled quickly. Check it out!

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    3. Oh that looks adorable and I love that woman from Fargo. I will have to add it to my tv lineup! Thanks for the heads up.

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  5. I must be one of the few that didn't much enjoy The Shining as a book! My dad loves it though so he might be interested in reading this one. I haven't much enjoyed Stephen King's later work though I haven't read them all.

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    1. I *really* loved Joyland. If you decide to pick up a recent I recommend it whole-heartedly.

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