Here’s Danny! Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

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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.

I don’t know where to start with this book as it gave me a bit of a book hangover! Ideally, I need some time to digest and reflect…but I have too many books and reviews to get through this month so you’ll just have to bear with me.

I don’t know how Stephen King does it. He somehow makes you care about every single word he writes, which is quite a feat considering the length of some of his novels. This one is pretty short for him, coming in at around 500 pages depending on the edition.

I was glued from the off. He made me care about every character -even the minor ones- in one way or another (and there’s quite a lot of them). I instantly fell in love with Dan Torrence, now all grown up and in a bad way, alcoholic Dan is lost in life. The ghosts from the Overlook have continued to follow him around as well as some new ones and he moves from place to place, trying to find somewhere he can call home.

It’s when he arrives in Frazer that things change, especially his introduction to Abra. Abra was such a wonderful, in-depth character too. Her powers are crazy-good and a lot of weird shit happens to her from the age of 2 but she just kind of gets on with it. She’s not scared of it and when she grows up a bit, she sets her mind on using her Shining to help people. Little does she know, that she will end up having to save herself the most.

Abra was totally the star of the show for me.

I also love that this book wasn’t just about cheap scares (then again, when is anything Stephen King does about that!?), it was essentially about Dan’s redemption. I thought the link with The Overlook was done excellently, too.

The only reason this wasn’t a 5/5 book for me was that it didn’t scare me at all. It took me a while to appreciate what was going on with The True Knot (the big bad) but once I understood what they were supposed to be I did enjoy the creepiness of them; there were some great touches in there. The Cycling for one!

Overall, I’m so glad I got to have some kind of closure on Daniel Torrence. As a sequel, or a stand alone book, I certainly recommend it.

Oh, and I definitely almost cried in two places.

Disclosure: None, I bought it!
Details: Hardcover, 531 pages. Published September 24th 2013 by Scribner
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Phantoms by Dean Koontz

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12 thoughts on “Here’s Danny! Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

  1. I loved Doctor Sleep too — and adored Abra. She’s such an amazing character, and I especially loved all the freaky things that happened with her when she was a baby. I had a similar experience reading this: I didn’t find it actually scary, but it certainly has a lot of creepiness and fantastic writing. Great review!

    • Yes to all of the above, and thanks! 🙂 I’m so glad it wasn’t a disappointment, but I was still hoping for at least the threat of a chill as I was reading it!

  2. Great review! I am a huge SK fan and am so excited to read this one. I am hoping I get it for Christmas, if I can wait that long. 🙂 You mentioned that this one didn’t scare you. Some of his best works are the books that are not scary, such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. The man is a genus!

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