Before I get to that review I know you’re simply dying to read- I just wanted to note that I know I haven’t been as consistent in keeping up with the comments not only on my blog but just generally following what all of you are doing.
Remember back in June when I was unemployed? It only lasted a month (it’s a good thing, but also an exhausting thing). I am now commuting an additional hour each day to and from work, getting home an hour later than I used to, and rushing to get the dog walked and dinner on the table and the kid ready for bed.
So please forgive me! I am trying to keep up with everyone still. Don’t feel obligated to reply to my flurry of comments on last week’s posts. I know I can be kind of obnoxious returning to comment again and again, but the conversations about books is why I blog. Sure I love the reviewing and stuff- but I honestly just don’t have enough people in my day-to-day life to chat books with, which is why I come and bug all of you :). On to other things.
I added myself to the library waitlist for this back in April. Not kidding. And by then I’d already been checking to see if I could add myself for a few months. That’s how long I’ve been waiting.
Anyway- while it wasn’t the epic I’ve been wanting to read since the last time I read Under the Dome, it was still thoroughly enjoyable and well worth reading. The opening was perfect. We meet one of the side characters, Tim Jamieson, as he finds his way to the small town of Dupray, South Carolina. Slowly, we are introduced to some of the background characters.
It was everything I love about King’s characters, the subtle detailing that brings them to life. The homeless woman who follows conspiracy theories and wears a sombrero, the motel owner who’s too nosy for his own good, the brothers who no one can tell apart and run the convenience store… it never ceases to amaze me how he can paint a full portrait in just a few lines and make the world feel as populated and colorful as the one we live in.
I was so enchanted by these opening chapters and feeling like I was going to get exactly what I’d been hoping for, it was really jarring to switch to Luke’s POV and not see Jamieson again for another 300 pages or so. I just kept thinking, yeah, but what’s going on in Dupray? Surely there’s a reason we were introduced to Jamieson so early?
But sadly it wasn’t. And I think I was so taken with Jamieson as a character and Dupray as the setting that it detracted a little from my enjoyment of Luke and his friends.
A heads up to all the parents out there- this novel focuses heavily on kids, and nevermind happy endings, they don’t have happy stories, period. What they are put through is horrible. I think it was made more tolerable by the very fantastic premise, feeling like it was a far departure from reality, but it was still difficult at times.
The pacing was pretty quick, with shortish chapters, and I was never really bored at any point in time. I made the mistake of thinking I knew how it would end, and I was terribly, horribly, wrong. I wish I had let my expectations go a bit, so that I would have felt more of the suspense.
WARNING: If you are uber sensitive to spoilers- I recommend stopping here. I won’t actually talk about plot or events, but more themes and ideas.
The ending was pretty shocking, and I don’t often say that of a King book. Usually I have an idea… good wins out over evil… the villains are served their just desserts…
This ending is much more ambiguous- but it was ambiguous in a good way that made me think. I know what physically happened to all of the characters, I don’t feel like I’m left wondering about where they’re headed. But I was given a lot to think about. Right vs. Wrong. Moral and Immoral. How one weighs the greater good against the rights and freedoms of a few.
All in all – this felt like classic King while also feeling like something new. I enjoyed it for the most part even if it won’t go down as an all time favorite. If you like King, this is definitely worth checking out!