A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Not sleep inducing

More of a combination horror and adventure tale than an outright horror novel, Stephen King's Doctor Sleep was engrossing and fun. For those looking for more of a direct horror sequel to The Shining, you do get that in the early chapters, as the young Dan Torrance (still called "Danny" at that point), has a few more encounters with the ghosts of the old Overlook Hotel (kind of like the way the henchmen in those old James Bond films would show up for one final confrontation after the main villain was defeated). But then we jump ahead and get a different type of story, one where grown-up Dan is a struggling recovering alcoholic who has made- at best- a shaky peace with his special abilities and his past.

The story takes off when Dan is distracted from his own issues by a young girl also blessed (or cursed) with the "shining" ability, a girl who is targeted by a traveling group of psychic vampires who feed on children with her unique attributes. While there is definitely suspense about the story's outcome, I especially enjoyed the fact that the otherwise cute and friendly young girl, Abra, was shown to be extremely powerful and extremely strong willed, and regularly stood up to her attackers with only minimal help from Dan, who basically just gave her a little guidance on her powers. No patronizing damsel-in-distress scenes here.

Likable yet nuanced supporting characters (including Abra's parents and Dan's friends from Alcoholics Anonymous) and decent attention to Dan's own issues round out the proceedings, all making for yet another strong, late-career entry from Mr. King.