Everything. The story was pure formula -- Good versus Evil on a comic-book-superhero level. The ending was a foregone conclusion. Good triumphs over Evil, what a colossal bore.
Also, at one point one of the two principal "Good" characters goes way out of her way to do something ridiculously stupid, without any motivation, obviously just to serve the plot. I guess at least King plays fair when it comes to jerking his characters around like marionettes to serve the plot, though, because later the principal "Bad" character similarly makes a series of unbelievably stupid, dense and unmotivated decisions, apparently for the sole purpose of letting Good triumph over Evil.
Even with the principal "Bad" character playing into the hands of the "Good" characters at every turn (at least in the last 1/3 of the novel), King *still* feels the need to resort to *two* dei ex machina to allow the "Good Guys" to win. First, he trots out one of the most evil, sadistic, corrupt and venal "ghostie people" (uh, you mean "ghosts"?) from "The Shining," and has him, for no logical or any other reason, turn Nice and help out the Good Guys. Talking about the other deus ex machina would probably constitute a spoiler (for those who might for some strange reason care about the plot), so I won't discuss that one.
None of the characters seemed like real flesh and blood -- they were just "Good Guys" or "Bad Guys." I therefore couldn't have cared less about any of them.
Worst of all? Not scary. Not even a momentary tinge of creepiness.
I can't believe the same guy who wrote "Dolores Claiborne," "N," "1922" "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" and "Pet Sematary" wrote this drivel. (In fact, I wonder if King has an army of "ghostie-people writers" working for him now. Either that, or he's already written everything he has to say and now he's just churning out soulless, meaningless words for some reason, maybe just out of habit.) I was never a fan of "The Shining" (not scary), but it wasn't awful, and this worthless piece of hack writing cheapens "The Shining" by association, diluting the impact of its "brand," to use the current business-speak cliche.
Also, in King's afterward, he says that over the years he often thought about "what happened" to Wendy, Danny and Dick Hallorann after the end of "The Shining," and that this book was his exploration of that. That's fine as far as Dan and Hallorann go, but pretty much nothing at all "happens" to Wendy. Oh, well, she was just a Wife 'n' Mom character, who cares about her.
Written something vital and original, not a color-by-numbers exercise that only pays lip service to the notion of "telling a story." If I hadn't needed something to listen to while stuffing the dishwasher or going to the gym, I would've put the book down after the first chapter.
OMG, please excuse me while I howl in pain a moment. ... Okay. It was overwrought from start to finish. Whenever Patton thought he was getting to an even slightly exciting or scary bit, he would descend into this hyper-dramatic, emotionalistic whisper and overemphasize every important (to him) word. It was as if he were reaching through the mike, grabbing the reader by the throat and screaming, "It's scary and exciting, dammit, don't you get it?!" He also has an unfortunate way of speaking (*not* a Southern accent -- a lisp, slight speech impediment, affectation or something like that) that makes him sound unintelligent.
It wasn't quite as bad as "It," "Bag of Bones" or the utterly contemptible "Lisey's Story."
King desperately needs an editor. One who will not only prevent him from running on and on after the climax has ended (as he does here and in every post-2000 book of his I've read), but to tell him when there's a major problem in the very conception of the book. It seems he's been surrounded by nothing "Yes people" for the past 30 years. Too Big To Be Edited. It's done him no favors.
What happened to that little kid from The Shining, once he grew up? What would have happened to his dry drunk of a father, if he had found Alcoholics Anonymous? These are two of the questions Stephen King wanted to answer in Doctor Sleep, he explains at the end of the novel. King has built up quite the tale out of the Overlook Hotel’s ashes: this was just awarded best audiobook of the year at Audible.com a few days ago.
Doctor Sleep brings us that little strong, sweet, and smart kid Danny Torrance all cragged and grown up; Danny is such a painful portrayal of innocence lost he’ll make you wistful for your own early childhood, before all the mistakes started piling up. The Overlook still haunts poor Danny’s dreams, and he’s now a drunk who despises himself for turning out like dear old dad.
King takes us through Danny’s alcoholic bottom with the descriptive language he has such a knack for, making the first bits of the book difficult, but necessary, to get through. King loves to linger a bit on the rough stuff in life; rather than having an off-putting effect, this is part of what makes him a horror powerhouse. The man who spent paragraphs describing wind-up teeth in “Chattery Teeth” and didn’t shy away from documenting the split of a woodchuck into two in Under the Dome turns his attention to Danny’s low points with alcohol, and we are spared no detail of where Danny’s drinking takes him. Danny’s recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous is a part of the story, something that is becoming more common in novels and television shows.
Oddly enough I may have been happy with a story of Danny Torrance without the horror, but rather than only documenting Danny’s struggle to find recovery, King introduces a new and unlikely set of villains: a nefarious band of energy banshees called the True Knot, disguised as old folks touring America in RV’s and campers. They feed off of the shining that those like Danny possess. They sense something delicious in a bright young girl named Abra, who shines something strong and needs a mentor like Danny desperately.
The characters here were delightfully vivid for me. The evil figures, roving in a band of trailers, were reminiscent of the post-apocalyptic armies in Robert McCammon‘s Swan Song, and I’d be interested to know if King was influenced by that classic in any way while writing this book. King has in Doctor Sleep, as he does in many of his books, an appreciation for the full spectrum of human capability. It would have been so simple for King to write Abra as a one-dimensional sweetheart, but she has her own dark side–as we all do, King seems to be noting.
Where the story lost me a bit was in the action. Without giving too much away, many of the battle scenes felt a bit silly to me because they were taking place, well, in people’s minds. When used in books and in films, incredible mental powers (let’s face it, all magical powers) can often feel a bit hokey as they can at anytime become a cheap trick. I think King relied on this type of thing too much towards the end of the book. Things become much more cerebral than they did in The Shining, and I was disappointed there wasn’t a more epic The Stand style battle between good and evil.
The final question here is Abra, Danny’s delightful and powerful-beyond-belief mentee, whose temper matches her strength. Will we meet Abra again, in her own book? It would be wonderful to see the capabilities of an older Abra, adolescent and out-of-control. It seems like too good of a story not to tell.
He's done it again! But this time, he's reunited us with one of our favorite victims, Danny Torrance.
All grown up, it seems Danny is a lot like dear ole' Dad. But does it have to be that way?
Giving him a purpose, and allowing him to help another with the 'Shining' was a wonderful way to bring Danny back.
Though this wasn't 'Balls to the wall' horror, the suspense and the action pick up about half way through. I found myself waiting for more and dreading the pause button. It really is a book for those who love King's twisted horror writing.
I personally think the Shining was a lot more scary, but the idea behind this villain is eerily familiar.
I also enjoy the way King and his son, Joe Hill, play off of each other's novels and create their own little 'other' world.
Pay attention folks, there are references to some of Hill's books in here!
All in all though, it was a great book that kept me on my toes and anxious for more.
I am not familiar with Will Patton's readings but will now buy anything he reads. His narration was award winning perfection. I have not read much of Steven King since my college days and after listening to this book I am flooded with musings as to why I have always loved his work; perhaps it is because I grew up in Maine and find his novels quietly familiar, but I suspect mostly it is just because his books scare the crap out of me as they offer a roller coaster ride worth of fright with the hope that the ride will end and I can get off and go on with my life. I love the way Mr.King writes and this book was fantastic to listen and it was wonderful to "see" Danny again.
I wouldn't necessarily say the audio is better than the print, it is just more convenient for me to listen to recreational books than read them.
While I enjoy listening to Will Patton, I don't think he really hit the mark with this book. His half whisper style, while gentle to the ear, seemed to fail in capturing the suspense of the story.
As a recovering alcoholic, King really nailed what it is like to fight the urge to drink even though you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I enjoyed when he revealed his deepest secret and no one seemed to notice. It is so true to form for an alcoholic.
It was good to continue where The Shining left off. I have been hoping for years King would do the same thing with The Stand.
You just can't beat Will Patton as a audible book performer - team him up with a story by Stephen King and you have a sure hit. I enjoyed this immensely and am hoping for a sequel about Dan and Abra. :)
I am a daily commuter, 1 hour each way. Audible rides shotgun with me every day. The time flies by when I am listening to a good book.
Not since Stu Redman in The Stand have I enjoyed and loved a character so much as Dan Torrance in Doctor Sleep. There were at least 2 scenes towards the end that had me fighting off tears. I was lost in the story and almost sobbed out loud! Will Patton did a great job with the cast of characters and I hope we get to meet some of them again. I wasn't sure I wanted to read a sequel to The Shining as it scared the crap out of me when I read it a few years ago. To me, Doctor Sleep provided a satisfying conclusion.
I love to shop & listen to audio bks
I think SK did a fabulous job showing how a little boy named Danny Torrence grew up after going thru the Overlook ordeal and working with whatever outcome he had to work with throughout his adult life. That part was realistic, esp AA. The other part of the story just added to SK's imagination and kept us readers interested in mind telepathy as well as ghosts even coming from the old story the Shinning, As SK even admits at the end of his novel, sometimes a sequel (most times) cannot compare to the original, this one came pretty darn close. Worth the credit and more....
Stanley Kubric's movie adaptation of "The Shining" is one of my favorite scary movies. So many people told me that I had to read the book that I finally did a few years ago. Now, Stephen King and his avid fans think the book is better, but I prefer the movie. "Doctor Sleep" is the story of a grown-up Danny Torrance. I was skeptical of a sequel to such a well-known story, especially after such a long time. I also approach Stephen King with caution. His books tend to be hit or miss with me. I thought "Salem's Lot" and "The Stand" rambled too much. I thought "Under the Dome" was very cliched and had a dumb ending. I love "Firestarter", "Joyland", and "11/22/63". "Doctor Sleep" falls into the category of Stephen King books that I love. I loved the characters and their relationships. The scary parts were suitably scary. Danny's character development seemed very authentic. I highly recommend this book with the caveat that you need to either read "The Shining" or see the movie before tackling this.
Will Patton's narration is practically perfect. I'm not sure if I've listened to any of his narrations before, but I surely will again. When trying to decide between text and audio, a Will Patton narration will definitely swing me to the audio.
How are there 13+ reviews on a book that was released less than 24 hours ago? The book is 18 1/2 hours long.