Review: Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King

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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 12-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 12-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 hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.


After being disappointed in The Shining I didn't have high hopes for Doctor Sleep. Especially since Danny might be an alcoholic in this one and I was not really looking forward to reading that. But I wanted to before I saw the movie so I picked it up to give it a go and was hooked from the first page. I enjoyed Doctor Sleep so much more than The Shining. They are different books, The Shining more like horror, whereas this was more like a revenge story/mystery and not so much horror. At least to me.

Doctor Sleep picks up when Danny is an adult and kind of adrift in the world. You get to see a few glimpses of the time between the two books, but not in great detail. You don't know everything Danny went through, but I did love how this all played out. Why he was drinking, how he tries to get sober, how he feels so bad for some of the poor decisions he has made. I really enjoyed watching him try and get his life together and live with the shining instead of trying to drown it out. It helps when he finds a place he can call home.

Now while Danny is figuring out his life in a nearby town a girl is born who also has the shining. She is super powerful, maybe even more powerful than Danny was as a kid. He keeps getting these glimpses and snippets of her reaching out to him, but has no real way of finding her or contacting her. So she is going about her life growing up and he his.

There are also the True Knot people. They were the creepy part of the book, but not as much as I would expect for horror. They were horrible people who pretty much have lived forever as long as they get "steam" aka the stuff that comes out of kids who have the shining once they die. So The True Knot are not great people because they have to abduct and kill kids to live. They were really interesting to read. How they feel about what they do and how they survive. How they can turn people and what happens to them if they do die. I really enjoyed them.

Now all of these storylines of course come together and I loved what came out of it. How the leader of The True Knot wanted the girl because she is so powerful, but she goes a little crazy with want. How Danny and Abra (the girl) find each other and work everything out. Really I loved all the characters good and bad. This was such a fun read and I didn't want to put it down once I started. I had to keep reading to see how it would all turn out.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


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