Starting reading SK for the first time ever a few months ago, and having read Carrie, Salems Lot, The Shining, Rage and Night Shift (im reading in order!) i was really looking forward to the Stand after reading so many positive comments about it and lots of people saying it was their favourite SK book of all time. I sort of knew it was about the Captain Trips virus wiping out 99.99% of the US population as i had read Night Surf and so had an idea of how the novel was going to go but didnt expect it to turn into a God vs Satan battle between two groups of people in 2 states of the US, brought together through dreams.
I got the uncut extended version on kindle. The first part (Captain Trips) was an excellent read, lots of interesting character stories, only dragged a couple of times (Frannie in the Parlour, Walkin Dude chapter and the Mother Abigail one) but overall i really enjoyed it and was everything i thought it was going to be. The second part where everyone met up in Boulder and formed a community etc was a bit of a let down at first, really started to drag with all the committee meetings and politics and more meetings and even more meetings, and felt like it was losing its way, then thankfully it kicked in again and just got better and better. Loved the chapter with the Trashcan Man and The Kid, cant believe he cut that out of the original 1978 release, also when Harold and Nadine turned to the dark side, the ledger, the bomb etc. But i have to say upto the end of Part II i was convinced it just wasnt as good as the previous books i'd read (my favourite was The Shining before this). How wrong was I!!, part III was just amazing, and felt like i couldnt stop reading, especially the final part where Stu is rescued by Tom and Kojak and the journey back to Boulder. When i finished (after having read 1200 pages or so) i still wanted more, WOW! what a book, amazing piece of work.
Overall, even though it dragged a little in the middle, even though i didnt quite understand the Walkin Dude/Dark Man and it had a few chapters that were very slow and a struggle to read at times, those little gripes are nothing compared to everything else in this amazing book. Really felt for the characters in this novel and this is now firmly my favourite SK book and i really hope there is even better to come. My next book is The Long Walk and i cant wait.