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A Book Review — Revival by Stephen King


Regular readers will know that I have no love for Stephen King’s recent efforts.  And by recent, I mean most of what he has written for the past 10-15 years.  To me, he has written far too many versions of the same story.  The same general cast of characters facing the same general threat of some unknown evil.  Frequently, that cast is divided into the good guys and the bad guys.  There’s an old guy and a kid.  The narrative voice always seems to be that of teenage boy who is wise beyond his years, but still thinks farts are cool.

There was a time when King wrote some incredible stories.  The Shining will go down as one of three books that actually scared me.  Pet Sematary is the second.  Ghost Story by Peter Straub is the third.  King has some other really good books, but hasn’t really written a good one for a long time.  I have sworn off him more times than I count, but I keep getting drawn in by reviewers that promise his latest effort is different, better King.  And I keep getting disappointed.  11/22/63 may just be the greatest disappointment I’ve had when reading.

A few months ago I re-discovered the library and have been checking books out like crazy.  Last week, I was walking through the current release section and I saw Revival by Stephen King.  It didn’t cost me anything so I decided to give it a try.

Is it a great story?  No.  I wouldn’t give it five stars, but …  It’s basically about a man who believes he has found the secret to learning what the afterlife is all about.  It’s a slowly developing idea that spans a lifetime.  But finally King has written a different story.  It’s not the same set of characters and the narrative isn’t in that obnoxious teenage boy voice.  Some of the story takes place in areas of Maine you may find familiar if you’re a regular reader of King, but that’s not a fatal flaw.  Unlike the last few King novels I have read, I didn’t want to throw this one against the wall when I was done.  I didn’t want to fly to Maine, find the man, and beg and plead with him to write a new story instead of continuing to trot out retreads.

So, if you like King but are like me and grew tired of what he was doing, give Revival a try.

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5 responses to “A Book Review — Revival by Stephen King

  1. Carrie Rubin May 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I thought Revival was pretty good. Some scenes went off on a tangent, making me speed-read ahead, like passages on the character’s guitar playing (though I suspect other readers would enjoy those). But you’re right–it was a bit different than his other more recent stuff. But I’m still hoping for a scary one, like he used to do. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I can no longer be scared by what I read. All I have to do is turn on the news for that…

    • kingmidget May 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      You’re right, there were definitely some rambling places in the story which is why I can’t give it five stars. I wonder if he wasn’t King, how this might have been edited down. I wish I could be scared by a book again, too, but like you I’m pretty sure I can’t be scared that way anymore.

      • Carrie Rubin May 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        I think many of his books could use some editing. Another example is the tangent he goes on in 11/22/63 when he goes into full detail about the play the teacher’s students put on. It didn’t advance the story at all. But I forgive him his ramblings when he gives me a great story.

      • kingmidget May 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

        I’d like to meet the person who would have the guts to say “Excuse me, Mr. King, but I think there’s about 200 pages you could cut from this.”

      • Carrie Rubin May 29, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Ha, you and me both!

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