Did anyone NOT like Revival? #spoilers#

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Jul 13, 2014
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#1
I'm looking through most of the threads on here and there seems to be almost a universal love for the book (even those who didn't like the ending) - this I'm surprised about because it just didn't grab me at all.

I started the book shortly after my holidays in September and now in mid-November I've finally finished it. This is a long time for me to read a King novel (especially one relatively short on pages), normally I just want to keep reading and even with the longer books I find the unique way King writes his characters and the narrative along the way is just as (if not more) exciting/interesting as the beginning and ending.

With Revival, the idea seemed really intriguing but unfortunately, to me, the execution just didn't live up to it. I didn't find myself drawn along with the story and I didn't even enjoy most of it as there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary exposition of Jamie's life and not enough of his interactions with Rev Jacobs. Normally, I don't mind character's backstories and in King's novels especially, these details are usually the highlights but in this book, I just didn't like the way it was described or written.

I'm not even sure I can pinpoint why but I felt the style of writing (not the actual plot) didn't feel like King's "groove" for want of a better word. It felt like something that he could have come up with the idea for but then someone else had actually written.

I hate to say it because I've read and enjoyed a good majority of his work but I just felt like this book was a chore to read - I feel like it should have been a short story but then he got carried away and made it into a novel. I kept going with it because I expected it might pick up later on but I felt it only really hit its pace within the last sixty pages or so.

And then...whilst it was definitely more dramatic and exciting, it really went crazy silly with the "ants" and the "mother" and the mass suicides. They seemed just there to be a twist or a shock - they certainly didn't fit with the rest of the more human story. I guess most people thought that Jacobs was trying to find a way to "revive" his family and I honestly think, that whilst that was expected, it would have been a more fitting denouement to the story, even if it ultimately ended badly for Jacobs or Jamie (as is expected from a King novel - not many happy endings!).

I'm very saddened that I didn't enjoy the book and I wasn't overly keen on Finders Keepers (although I'd enjoyed Mr Mercedes), so I'm hoping that whatever comes next will "revive" my love for King's stories, as they've always been something I've very much been excited to read.
 

Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
2,906
6,211
56
#9
Revival was okay. I don't much get into comparative ratings, but I think it's important to remember that a baseball player (for instance) who gets a hit once in every three at bats is considered wildly successful.

If I liked other works better (or not at all) doesn't really bear upon my enjoyment of what I'm reading at any given moment.
 

stacy270

Keep On Floatin' On
Aug 2, 2006
1,014
7,791
Maine
#10
Seems to me more people didn't like it than did.HOWEVER it became my third favorite King book.The ending (and I know I repeat myself here).........it was like someone reached out and smacked me upside my head and it made my skin crawl.All of which was awesome! How great is it that words on a page can give someone such a physical reaction( other than crying-alot of books make me cry).Loved IT!;)
 
Jul 13, 2014
12
60
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#13
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who wasn't keen on this one - by most of the other posts, it seemed everyone loved it. Aside from the ending, which I'm sorry I found ludicrous, the rest of the book was just ok. As I said, I actually thought the idea had great potential but it turned out not to be engaging enough - some parts seemed dragged out. I think had it been a short story or novella, then it might have worked better because it could have focussed on the main story more. Except the ending, which I will never get on board with!

Favourites from the past have been 'Salem's Lot, Christine and Duma Key but (aside from The Dark Tower series) I have read a lot of his novels and I have usually found something to enjoy in them. Mainly I just like his style of writing but I felt it was "off" in Revival. I guess some books just suit more than others - I mean, I liked Cell, Dreamcatcher and The Regulators, which others seem to think are not great, so it's all down to personal preference!

Actung - I have not read Bazaar of Bad Dreams, I tend not to buy the short stories books for some reason, although I have read and enjoyed some that King has written. I might give it a try but generally I prefer a novel, as I like the build up of longer stories.
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,659
4,037
#15
On a Stephen King forum, you are mostly going to find those who like everything he does. I didn't care much for Revival. It was a conceptual mess and felt rushed. None of the characters was particularly interesting. King's biggest strength is character development. But not in this one. It was difficult to figure out what it was supposed to be about. If this was King's ode to Frankenstein (like Salem's Lot harked back to Dracula) it didn't work. The themes of man's ability to usurp the role of God etc. got mixed up in a silly Lovecraft conclusion. Many of King's books and horror genre in general have to end with the final showdown (i.e. the trip to Dracula's castle). Very predictable and often disappointing endings. I felt the same about Dr. Sleep which I enjoyed a bit more only because The Shining is my favorite SK book. Other than 11-22-63 which I thought was great there haven't been many outstanding efforts in recent years. It's like watching Mick Jagger write songs like "I Got a Brand New Car" instead of "Street Fighting Man." Likely difficult to compete with the younger self particularly when you have been rich and famous for decades and not exactly struggling for your art. That all sounds very critical but I actually like even King's lesser efforts like Revival more than most other authors. He's a great storyteller even with his lesser efforts. No one better.
 

do1you9love?

Happy to be here!
Feb 18, 2012
7,879
57,850
Virginia
#16
I was not blown away. I re-read most everything and have not successfully been able to re-read Revival yet. Part of the problem for me is that the book was promoted on these boards as the "darkest, most disturbing" story that would make folks "question their faith, etc." I think I had set the bar of expectation very high and it just didn't come close enough for me.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,522
116,818
Spokane, WA
#18
I enjoyed Revival and, while I didn't like the whole 'ant' theory, I liked how King attempted to have his Constant Readers question what happens after we die. As for it not being written with King's usual style, voice, etc., I've always thought that Revival was a Richard Bachman book in that it didn't have the character depth that a King novel usually has and the writing style was sparse, lean and mean. I have re-read every King book to date except for the ones following Duma Key as I have too many other books by other writers in my TBR pile, but I will eventually get to do a re-read on Revival just to see if it still holds that sense of dread that it had upon the first reading.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
81,712
313,833
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#19
...I also feel the build-up prior to the book release was overwrought, but the execution didn't perturb me....it was thinner on character development-but I got the feeling that was purposeful....the theme/philosophy was the focus, and the characters were there to drive it rather than the other way around...what lies beyond, rather than what made all the characters "revolve"....
 
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