Series: The Shining #2
Released: September 24, 2013
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
Doctor Sleep is only my third Stephen King book, but definitely not the last. It follows on from The Shining, and we get to see what happens to Danny later in life. It is different in style from what I remember from The Shining, and relies more on the underlying story rather than going from scare to scare.
And, who would have known, that King guy is really good at writing a story.
Fortunately Doctor Sleep isn’t “Danny, part 2”, and plenty of new characters are introduced, and much of the story plays out without Danny being a part of it at all.
The story seems perfectly paced, gets just complex enough to be interesting without getting annoying, never becomes predictable, and ends just on time. The book has some thrilling moments, but also some really beautiful ones. The characters are established well, and easy to care about.
No, Doctor Sleep is not a book that will transform anyone’s life, and it is not a book that sets out to make any deep points or statements. It is just a story, but an extremely well told and entertaining story, and, in my opinion, a better one than The Shining.