book review – Stephen King, Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining, one of Stephen King’s most famous works. Young Danny Torrance is now a man who resembles his dead father more than he had hoped he would: he too is an alcoholic with anger issues. Wandering the U.S. Dan can’t escape the past and the shining, the supernatural ability that allows him to see ghosts and read thoughts. It is through this power that he meets a young girl and comes into contact with a shadowy group with malicious intent.

While this sounds like a great setup for a book with tons of suspense and drama, Doctor Sleep‘s mostly boring. King uses most of his book as an introduction to characters he doesn’t really define and events he keeps postponing, all the while not shying repetition. Most of the book consists of long gaps between a few noteworthy situations often alluded to chapters back. Having to wait until King finally tells you what he has to say serves no purpose, all it does is make Doctor Sleep an annoying drag. There’s nothing really memorable about a novel that features people who really have nothing to do, who have the same conversations over and over, while you wait for something to finally happen.

Even the antagonists disappoint: the opponents never pose a threat to Dan and his group of friends. The protagonists are so powerful, have so little difficulty with overcoming the few obstacles that are put in their way, that the villains seem like nothing more than a pathetic bunch of cheap vampire knock-offs. When there’s no threat even Stephen King can’t scare you.

Doctor Sleep contains a set of good ideas, but the execution is lacking. The plot quickly turns into a tedious and predictable story that isn’t a bit scary. 3/10

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