Very good sequel, but the ending...um...

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Reactor

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2009
78
46
Szirmabesenyo, Hungary
#1
I just finished Doctor Sleep.
Even though many people say that Mr. King "forgot" to write a horror story, I never really felt the necessity for Doctor Sleep to be a horror novel, or trying to compete or surmound the Shining in any way. I haven't found any particularly scarry or gruesome parts in the book either - well, compared to King's usual body count, where people are dropping like flies, suffering fates WORSE than death, this book has a rather calm and soothing tone. Seriously, the tension build-up comes in waves, rather than constantly escalating, like in its predecessor. This is not a bad thing. I also enjoyed how the shining was used regularly for communication, telekinesis and was purposefully utilized in many ways. And, apart from the dislikes-paragraph, I really liked the happy ending. It was a relief from Stephen King to read sumthin which actually ends well.
Alright, so these were the good news. Now for the bad news...

- My biggest problem, if y'could say that, is the ending. Compared to all giant battles between good vs. evil in previous Stephen King books, this one appears to be a weird mish-mash of half-baked ideas mixed together in a big hodgepodge. It's clear that Mr. King made Rose the Hat miserably weak, having absolutely no control above the events at all. Along comes Dan, unleashes the tainted steam which kills off the True Knot, then that spinning wheel-thingy, releasing Horace Derwent, Freeman smashing his truck against the lookout point, and even Jack Torrance's ghost joining the party...it is clear to me that Mr. King had several ideas how Rose could have be defeated, but for some reason, he didn't want to write a truly epic bossfight about all these possibilities, and just unleashed everything in a few pages.
I don't know 'bout you, but this is NOT how an ultimate evil mastermind is defeated. The showdown with the evil Jack in the previous book was awesome, and this...meh...I consider anything but. If Rose could "build up" places from images in the other person's mind, she could have recreate the dramatic events at the end of Shining. That would have been a gazillion times better. Well frankly, anything would have been better than this rushed butchery.

- The second part I disliked was how Crow Daddy kidnapped Abra, and then how Dan took over Abra's mind and killed Crow Daddy. No matter how many times I re-read it, it seems that this particular part is pretty shallow and half-made. A second raiding party sent by the True Knot and suffering the same fate would have been much better, perhaps this time Abra using her powers extensively. Seriously, seeing how she could cause a mini-quake, her power alone could easily vanquish the entire horde to kingdom come.
Just compare: If the Overlook Hotel could manifest drinkable alcohol, party guests real enough to open doors and strangle children, Abra could have been able to manifest a Devastator Tank and a blast from its twin plasma cannons would blow the Rose the Hat and her entire company to subatomic particles!

- The dying of the True Knot was also pretty unimaginitive. Disappearing-reappearing until they disappear forever...this is something which you'd see in an old 90s computer game (Golden Axe for instance), not something which'd fit in an exciting thriller novel.

- There were too many paragraphs about Dan and how he fights alcoholism. These parts were so frequent like alcoholism is a vital part of the story, but alas, it is not. I always felt that these paragraphs are just fillers, interludes and such. Don't get me wrong, I love King's interludes and intermezzos in his novels - as long as they have sumthin to add to the main storyline! If their sole purpose is making the chapters longer and longer, then...no-no-no-never.

All in all, Doctor Sleep is a good piece of work. Sure, it will never be that good the Shining was, especially because of these annoying little flukes, but if we don't expect a book is all about terror and bloodshed, then it's a pretty good effort. A keeper, that's for sure.
 
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Mel217

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2017
904
5,754
#6
I actually really enjoyed the part(s) where
alcoholism and AA were discussed. Then again, it tied into Jack Torrance (in my mind) to show the reader that yes, this CAN be genetic and yes, it CAN be environmentally induced, and yes, it can (easily) be a combination of both things. (Plus, I'm always pleased when the idea that AA is nothing but sissy men sitting around and talking about their feelings is debunked; attend an open meeting and you'll see this is SO not the case. Friendships forged there are for life, and that kind of friendship with someone is very precious and pretty solid.)
OK, I got way off track. Again.
My biggest issue with the book were the fact that Wendy and Dick have already died, two of my favorite book characters from the previous book, but then again...this is SK and SK's world isn't always perfect. If I want perfect, I watch Disney movies! ;)
I was thrilled that Dan's dad returned to help deliver the final shove in winning the battle, but was hoping Mr. Halloran would have done so, too!
An interesting thought is that Dan knows that the shine is inhibited by his poor lifestyle, and once that lifestyle gets kicked to the curb he knows it's stronger, maybe stronger than ever. Abra never grew up in an alcoholic home, and her shine practically blew the roof off the house when she was barely able to talk. It made me wonder if Danny (in the Shining, as a small child) would have had a much more "brilliant" shine had he not grew up in the situation he had.
 

KINGSMAN129

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2013
1,669
4,635
B.F.E. MISSOURI
#8
Personally, I loved it, I would recommend it to anyone whether they've read the shining or not. I believe the problem people are having is that first of all Stephen's stories aren't all meant to scare the HELL out of you, but have to do with fantastic and supernatural ordeals that are often times bizarre and macabre at most, however I find the idea of modern day, soul sucking gypsies to be fairly spooky. Secondly, don't mistake this novel for it's predecessor, The Shining should terrify you, but this is not that. I liked that he used the A.A. meetings to fill in the character and let us in on what's occurring, this struggle helps to humanize the all powerful star of the story. I very much loved the whole thing beginning to end, and I believe, as stated before that it can even stand on it's own.
 

Mel217

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2017
904
5,754
#9
Personally, I loved it, I would recommend it to anyone whether they've read the shining or not. I believe the problem people are having is that first of all Stephen's stories aren't all meant to scare the HELL out of you, but have to do with fantastic and supernatural ordeals that are often times bizarre and macabre at most, however I find the idea of modern day, soul sucking gypsies to be fairly spooky. Secondly, don't mistake this novel for it's predecessor, The Shining should terrify you, but this is not that. I liked that he used the A.A. meetings to fill in the character and let us in on what's occurring, this struggle helps to humanize the all powerful star of the story. I very much loved the whole thing beginning to end, and I believe, as stated before that it can even stand on it's own.
The scariest part about the soul-sucking gypsies is how SK went to such great lengths to describe them (before they were actually introduced) as completely "normal looking" people you might see every day. If I saw a group of people in RV's hanging out at a campground, I'd think "what fun!", be a tad jealous, and then blow it off as nothing. It's a great reminder that sometimes people who appear perfectly normal at first glance can be extremely dangerous.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
82,541
319,900
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#10
The scariest part about the soul-sucking gypsies is how SK went to such great lengths to describe them (before they were actually introduced) as completely "normal looking" people you might see every day. If I saw a group of people in RV's hanging out at a campground, I'd think "what fun!", be a tad jealous, and then blow it off as nothing. It's a great reminder that sometimes people who appear perfectly normal at first glance can be extremely dangerous.
....like any serial killer ever....."he was a quiet boy....".......
 

KINGSMAN129

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2013
1,669
4,635
B.F.E. MISSOURI
#11
The scariest part about the soul-sucking gypsies is how SK went to such great lengths to describe them (before they were actually introduced) as completely "normal looking" people you might see every day. If I saw a group of people in RV's hanging out at a campground, I'd think "what fun!", be a tad jealous, and then blow it off as nothing. It's a great reminder that sometimes people who appear perfectly normal at first glance can be extremely dangerous.
You got it.
 

Joanie Kay

Well-Known Member
May 25, 2017
74
336
57
North Carolina
#12
Personally, I loved the AA parts of Dr. Sleep. Admittedly, that's partly because I'm a recovering alkie. I did wonder if this book would have widespread appeal beyond the rooms of AA, since sometimes it reads like a paraphrased version of the Big Book...but I'm awfully glad King wrote it. For one thing, it literally kept me sober for three separate weekends. I was away from home (away from my controls and safety nets), couldn't get to a meeting, and already knew the Big Book by heart so was drifting off mentally when I tried reading it. I discovered that as long as I was reading Dr. Sleep, a magical thing was happening: I had no urge to duck down to the hotel lounge and order a drink. Three weekends, six nights. (I finished the book on one of those nights, turned back to page 1, and started again.) Six nights I managed not to relapse. SK and Dan were my Higher Power for a short time (and may be again), and I'm grateful.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
82,541
319,900
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#13
Personally, I loved the AA parts of Dr. Sleep. Admittedly, that's partly because I'm a recovering alkie. I did wonder if this book would have widespread appeal beyond the rooms of AA, since sometimes it reads like a paraphrased version of the Big Book...but I'm awfully glad King wrote it. For one thing, it literally kept me sober for three separate weekends. I was away from home (away from my controls and safety nets), couldn't get to a meeting, and already knew the Big Book by heart so was drifting off mentally when I tried reading it. I discovered that as long as I was reading Dr. Sleep, a magical thing was happening: I had no urge to duck down to the hotel lounge and order a drink. Three weekends, six nights. (I finished the book on one of those nights, turned back to page 1, and started again.) Six nights I managed not to relapse. SK and Dan were my Higher Power for a short time (and may be again), and I'm grateful.
....how cool is that??.....great share and congrats on keeping the demon at bay....
 
Oct 8, 2017
8
23
37
#14
I prefer sequels that do their own thing rather than try to rehash the original. Except...

The ending is actually very reminiscent of The Shining. Both have out of place big action sequences that are resolved with contrived plot devices set up from the start. (Mental lockboxes=broiler.) The antagonist being dispatched in a relatively easy fashion is also typical King; from Rose to Flagg to Perse, etc. Even the multiple ending sentimental conclusion was done in The Shining as well as many others.

That said, the last chapter in the hospice is imo an apt/redeeming end-note, rather than The Shining's tacky epilogue.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2, 2017
15
49
38
#15
I finished the book for the first time yesterday, and my biggest gripe was that the villains seemed incredibly weak/Abra and Dan were too powerful. Abra had no trouble mentally slapping Rose around.

I agree with the OP that they never felt like a real threat. Here is this powerful group of people that have been around for centuries (some of them), had billions of dollars, all having either a lot or a little bit of the shining, and they had hillbilly-like personalities.

Dan and Abra were ahead of them every step of the way. I at least expected a good guy death at the hands of Rose or Crow Daddy, but everyone ended up safe and sound. With Roses’s temper, which seemed to be much bigger than Dan’s (maybe even Jack’s), and her joy in hurting Rose, I half expected the epilogue to allude to her becoming a villain in the future.

Overall, I did enjoy it. I wasn’t disappointed that it wasn’t much of a horror, although I liked the beginning with Ms. Massey haunting Danny and when Dick told the story of his grandpa. I’d recommend for anyone that read The Shining.

P.s. during Abra’s first mental battle with Rose, Abra yelled out that she expected her to show up just like Dan said she would. Afterwards, Rose never thinks about that, and, up until the end when she finally sees Dan, she’s wondering if Abra has any help. Is that a mistake by King, or did am I misremembering?
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
82,541
319,900
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#16
I prefer sequels that do their own thing rather than try to rehash the original. Except...

The ending is actually very reminiscent of The Shining. Both have out of place big action sequences that are resolved with contrived plot devices set up from the start. (Mental lockboxes=broiler.) The antagonist being dispatched in a relatively easy fashion is also typical King; from Rose to Flagg to Perse, etc. Even the multiple ending sentimental conclusion was done in The Shining as well as many others.

That said, the last chapter in the hospice is imo an apt/redeeming end-note, rather than The Shining's tacky epilogue.
 

fljoe0

Cantre Member
Apr 5, 2008
14,084
58,182
57
120 miles S of the Pancake/Waffle line
#17
I liked the first 2/3 of Dr Sleep a lot but wasn't crazy about the ending either. My own opinion is that Steve got stuck and had to finish it. We are all aware of Steve's ability to set a book aside if he gets stuck and go on to the next project. Sometimes it can be decades before he finishes a book he struggles with. ;-D But if I remember right, he kind of committed himself to this book before he was done. There was so much hype about it before he was done with it that I don't think he could set it aside. Wasn't there something in the notes about Joe helping him finish it? Anyway that's only my uninformed opinion.
 

Spideyman

Uber Member
Jul 10, 2006
41,430
156,051
74
Just north of Duma Key
#18
I liked the first 2/3 of Dr Sleep a lot but wasn't crazy about the ending either. My own opinion is that Steve got stuck and had to finish it. We are all aware of Steve's ability to set a book aside if he gets stuck and go on to the next project. Sometimes it can be decades before he finishes a book he struggles with. ;-D But if I remember right, he kind of committed himself to this book before he was done. There was so much hype about it before he was done with it that I don't think he could set it aside. Wasn't there something in the notes about Joe helping him finish it? Anyway that's only my uninformed opinion.
Wasn't it 11/22/63 that Joe suggested an alternate ending? Memory lapse.
 
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