Audie Award Winner, Fiction, 2014
Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration - Male, 2014
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.
©2013 Stephen King (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
"Will Patton's delivery enhances King's prose in ways that make King's work so much more enjoyable in audio than just reading it…Patton's narrative voice captures the rhythm of King's words. His character voices, filled with a variety of regional American accents, remain consistent. Most importantly, the sinister aspects that embody characters and moments of this novel are superbly executed and will certainly leave listeners on edge." (AudioFile)
"King, not one given to sequels, throws fans a big, bloody bone with this long-drooled-for follow-up to The Shining." (Booklist)
"…a gripping, taut read that provides a satisfying conclusion to Danny Torrance's story." (Publisher’s Weekly)
I read, I write; I listen
"Doctor Sleep" is the sequel to the book; not the movie.This is an important fact that Stephen King shares in his author’s notes. Although, I am a fan of both the movie and the first book, Stephen King makes it clear that if you want the true story of the Torrance family you need to read the “Shining,” published in 1977, and then you will enjoy the sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” that much more.
Little Danny Torrance was only five when he became an iconic character in one of the scariest books ever written; and the ethereal haunted Overlook hotel, room 217, “Redrum,” and his possessed and murderous, alcoholic father, Jack, will be forever remember in literary history.
In “Doctor Sleep,” Danny is grown up; he works in a small New England town as a hospice worker and has the special ability to help patients come to terms with their deaths. Given his history its no wander, like his father, Jack, he is an alcoholic; but is trying to cope with his addiction by attending AA meetings. Alcoholism is very prevalent in this book, as it was in the first book of this series; in fact its diminished exploration in the movie, “The Shining,” by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the many reasons Stephen King was not a big fan of the movie, as he struggled with his own challenges with alcohol addiction during that time.
Danny is still psychic, although his abilities have weakened with age and its obvious when he comes in contact with Abra Stone, a girl who, at the age of twelve, has not yet fully tapped into her powers.
The young girl, is in danger, and she needs Danny’s help to keep her safe from a group, called The True Knot, that feed off of psychic powers; particularly children.
“Doctor Sleep is more than just a sequel, although it has roots to “The Shining,” this is a story that has its own wings; and boy does it fly.
If you’re wondering whether to purchase the text or the Audio version, the narrator of this audio book should make that an easy decision. Will Patton gives a spectacular performance and should not be missed.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
I discovered Stephen King the summer I was 13 years old. I remember reading "The Shining" (1976), "'Salem's Lot" (1975), "Carrie" (1974), and "Night Shift" (1977) over a hot and humid week. When the weather broke one night with a spectacular summer thunderstorm, I woke up screaming, convinced that a long-dead priest was in my room.
Carrietta White and Danny Torrance psychic abilities - their shines - fascinated me. Wouldn't it be fun to make the tight Jordache jeans the tall blonde who was "going with" the boy I had a crush, on split the bottom of her jeans wide open, just as she tossed her perfectly feathered Farrah Fawcett hair? But Margaret White, Carrie's mother was a religious zealot; and Jack Torrance, Danny's father, was a raging alcoholic. Carrie and Danny didn't use their shine for fun, they used it because the people who loved them were murderous. Only Danny survived his childhood.
In 2001, about the time Danny is learning to become sober, Abra Stone is born into a family with two (mostly) normal parents and an adoring great grandmother. Abra shines, and shines brightly. Her parents realize it, and take an approach to the situation Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, 2012) would approve of: they have a pediatrician observe her, confirm what they know - and love and support her.
Danny has a great evil to fight - alcoholism. He started drinking at 13. It dulls his shine, and considering what he does for a living - he's an orderly at hospices, and he helps people pass on, who could blame him? But, as any alcoholic knows, Danny drinks because he is a drunk. King has been sober for 26 years, and writes about Alcoholics Anonymous - 'the program' - with the passion, clear head, and understanding of someone who knows the program far deeper than being able to recite the Serenity Prayer from memory. King's description of Danny's longing for a drink at a dive bar with neon lights advertising $2 pitchers was so vivid, in one of the most narratively tense parts of Doctor Sleep, I found myself thinking, "Don't do it Danny, don't do it!"
Danny and Abra have another, prescient and cannabalistic evil to fight - Rose the Hat and "The True Knot," a band of seemingly ordinary people criss-crossing the United States in those spectacularly expensive RVs you sometimes see on long drives on the 10 West, heading into Arizona; or parked in a Walmart lot, easily taking up a dozen parking places. The people in them look normal - even dull - but . . . and Rose and the True Knot are very, very old - because they take something from children with the shine.
Would I have enjoyed Doctor Sleep as much as I did if I hadn't read "The Shining," or for that matter, "Carrie"? I think I might have liked it even more, because I would have been truly surprised by the Overlook Hotel/Lodge - and frightened by the ghosts, maybe as I was that long ago summer.
I'm giving the audio a 4, not because Will Patton isn't a fantastic narrator - he is. He's got the characters to a t. When he was Dick Hallorann, I actually saw Scatman Crothers from the 1980 movie "The Shining" in my mind. However, there's a small portion of the narrative that is difficult to follow as an audio book. It sorts itself out eventually, but that's why I knocked a point off.
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Criminal defense attorney. Love audible and I'm kind of obsessed with writing reviews. No plot spoilers please. Seriously.
The title says it all. I adore The Shining- it is a watermark aspect of my life, when I first read it and when I read it again 15 years later. But I just couldn't get into this, no matter how hard I tried. I would force myself for an hour at a time, getting through about half of it. I just had to give up. I know people love this book. I am actually semi-devastated that I didn't love it- I was looking forward to it for a long time. I know when I love a book- I'm done it in a day or two. I worked (and that is a terrible thing to say about a King) on this for a month to get halfway.
I just... I just couldn't get into the whole dynamic between the characters, the Steam Eaters, all that. It seemed forced, like King was trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. And I am sure many of you will exclaim "But you just have to get to the end!!! It'll all make sense and it's totally worth it!!!" That honestly may be the case and I fully accept that... But I just can't make myself work through a book for dozens of hours for some eventual payoff. This is coming from a man who listened to *all* of the Dark Tower saga in just a couple of months and *wasn't* enraged by the ending, like so many others.
Oh well. I'll always have the Overlook and the Rose.
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
In appreciation of the hours of terrifying enjoyment King has given me over the years, I felt I owed it to this author to digest on this newest novel at least a few days before putting in my 2 cents and my initial reaction. I also wanted to be honest and not just pander to fellow King fans.
5,861 die-hard fans of Stephen King contributed to the completion of Doctor Sleep, having voted in a poll on King's official website whether he should write a sequel to The Shining, or write the next Dark Tower novel. Dark Tower lost by 49 votes. It's hard to not love anything from an author that seems so dedicated and accessible to his readers/fans. I realized that it's unfair to compare King's books, or expect each new work to start from the high point of the previous book and then surpass that zenith. If I became desensitized along the way -- that was failure on part of this reader rather than the fault of the writer.
In an interview, King said, writing this book, he is not the same man that wrote The Shining, Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary, It. Those were written while King was a young man tormented by personal demons, and "you write about what you know." King came face to face with a much scarier adversary than any monster he could make up while facing those demons in his publicized battle with addiction. He said about returning to one of his fan's favorite novels, it was daunting to write the sequel from where he is now, to a book he hadn't visited for 30 years. For the factual continuity, he hired an avid, long-time reader/fan to go over The Shining, making sure Doctor Sleep was in sync with the previous book, and accurate. *[Remember the *chocolate Payday* fingerprints in The Stand? Let's face it...some of his novels could be used in college courses to show the importance of doing your research!]
Doctor Sleep melds both kinds of monsters King was so familiar with. A grown Danny Torrance is fighting the alcohol addiction he has used to shut down his *shine* and keep the residual monsters, both mental and physical, from the Overlook Hotel contained. After one booze and cocaine fueled night, he takes money from a woman he has spent the night with, a messed up young mother, then later is haunted by a *bad shining* about her little toddler that stumbled into the bedroom while Danny was making his escape. This, he realizes, is his rock bottom. Vowing to stay straight, he takes a new job, but without the dulling liquor the Shining starts again, threatening his new sobriety. In his clear-headed state, he also begins picking up thoughts from another with the Shining, a young girl named Abra.
Joining the villainous ranks of Pennywise, Randall Flagg, little Gage Creed, and the vampire Barlow -- is King's latest: a group of polyester-wearing, RV driving, Wallmart shopping nomads called the True Knot, whose top knot is *Rose the Hat,* a fabulous Cruella Deville on steroids kind of female villain (that I would love to see more of). Her group caravans across the country from their home base near the now burnt out Overlook Hotel, in a necessary search for children with the Shine, to suck out their *steam* and rejuvenate themselves -- whatever they are (much like the 3 witches from Hocus Pocus). When the murderous convoy picks up deliciously strong signals from the gifted Abra, the fight between good and evil is on.
As noted by reviewers, this can be a stand alone novel. Much of the connection to the book The Shining is given through the characters conversations and thoughts. The familiar *Easter eggs* (as King's son calls the trivia-like references to previous books included in all of King's novels) tell you that you're in King's familiar and resourceful hands (there are even a few familial nods to NOS4A2). Danny wasn't a forceful character in The Shining (even less so in the movie) and isn't much grander here, but Abra was well thought out and feisty to Danny's passivity, and Rose the Hat was a character I'd love to see fleshed out with her own story. During the listening process, I may not have appreciated this as much as I do after a little reflection. While traditional King, this is also a smarter book, one that it takes a little wisdom, maybe a bit of life's hard knocks, to really get an appreciation for the levels of evil contained. I ended up going from 2* to 3maybe4* with my pondered rating, and think I might even read this one again one day -- less eager and more attentive. And Will Patton...he could read George Carlin's list of ugly words and I would adore him; he does a great job giving the book (especially ol' Crow Daddy) some complimentary gusto. Doctor Sleep is old King and new King; a King with some hard earned wisdom on top of that natural talent.
King and Will Patton together. Am I dreaminig or is this for real? So many of King's books have been ruined by bad narration(THE CELL for starters) so i was so happy to see Will Patton as the narrator. Patton brings the characters to life just like he does in all his other narrations, mainly in James Lee Burke books, but his performance here is just as good or maybe better. Some free advice today.....If youve never read King but like Patton, I say you will be thanking me later for pushing you towards buying this audiobook. If you hate King but love Will Patton, still get it. I think Patton is sich a great reader that even when I hit the dull times he was able to keep me focused. 5 out of 5 for me all the way around
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
When Dan Torrence was a five-year-old boy in The Shining (1977), his wannabe writer father succumbed to alcoholism and to the malign influence of the haunted Overlook Hotel and tried to kill him and his mother. (I still remember being terrorized by Stephen King's book when I read it back then in high school by a pool in broad daylight.) Fast forward to the present era in King's Doctor Sleep (2013), and 40-year-old Dan is still struggling to survive. For most of his life, he has been afflicted by the shining (the psychic ability to dream future events, to mentally receive and send thoughts, and to see dead people up and about, etc.), fearing that the gift was a curse that would drive him insane and believing that the only way to handle it was to drink it away: "The mind was a blackboard. Booze was the eraser." But the more he drank, the more he unleashed his inner feral dog and the more people he hurt and jobs and towns he lost. Luckily, in the opening chapters of this sequel to The Shining, Dan seems to find his home and calling in Frazier, New Hampshire, living and working at the small town's hospice, where, with a stray cat named Azzie, he helps terminally ill patients peacefully fall asleep into whatever comes next. Unluckily, the Overlook isn't finished with him.
Into Danny's life King interweaves two more story strands. The first features the True Knot, a "family" of self-proclaimed "Chosen Ones" who travel around America feeding on the "steam" emitted by the shining-gifted kids they torture to death. By feeding on steam, the True Knot members attain near immortality, not unlike vampires, though of an ironically all-American type, for, far from the usual sophisticated European aristocrat look, the True Knot adopt a "harmless RV folks" one, sporting tacky tourist t-shirts and driving gas guzzling campers and sporting conservative bumper stickers. Then there is Abra Stone, a precocious girl born just before 9/11 with a prodigious amount of the shining, much to the consternation of her parents. Despite hiding her gift to ease her parents' minds, Abra comes to the loving attention of Dan and to the scary attention of the True Knot. With exquisite suspense, King brings the three sets of characters ever closer together.
King writes great action set pieces that are exciting, scary, funny, unpredictable, inevitable, and inventive fusions of the physical and the paranormal. One of the reasons his work is so suspenseful and moving is that he's so good at writing three-dimensional characters we care about. Dan is fragile, brave, caring, and witty, Abra immature, sweet, vindictive, and powerful. The supporting characters are mostly convincing. And True Knott members like Rose the Hat, are scary and vulnerable, inhuman and all too human.
One of King's great insights is that perhaps the most terrifying thing of all is the possibility that our closest family members may harm us, especially when we are children. Just in the novel's "Prefatory Matters" he introduces a father who rapes his eight-year-old daughter, a grandfather who molests and torments his grandson, an uncle who beats his toddler nephew, not to mention Dan's own abusive father. King also of course taps more typical horror reflexes: our fear of pain and death and of powerful people who may do with us what they will. And he depicts the disease of alcoholism with harrowing realism (Dan's struggle against it and his AA organization feature prominently in the novel).
The novel is about families (dysfunctional and functional, biological and relational), about death (and life), about the way in which our childhoods, genes, and environments shape our adult selves, about power and responsibility, and about culture and horror. Despite depicting harrowing psychic and physical violence and potent evil, King maintains faith in some higher power balancing things out in our mysterious and mortal universe: "Life was a wheel, and it always came back around."
King is a pro with a keen ear for memorable lines, whether vivid descriptions ("His smiling, predatory face was the damp whitish-green of a spoiled avocado"), cool similes ("He felt like some breakable object that has skittered to the edge of a high shelf but hasn't quite fallen off"), quirky humor ("The hungover eye had a weird ability to find the ugliest thing in any given landscape"), frisky frissons ("At some point, as she had been concentrating, a corpse had joined her in the tool shed"), philosophical nuggets ("Death was no less a miracle than life"), and personal epiphanies ("I am not my father").
Another fun virtue of this book is King's keen eye for American culture, as in his pithy descriptions of recent presidents by their renowned identifying features, his understanding of how small towns function and feel, his depiction of highways as the arteries of the body of America, and of course his many cultural references, which range from the popular (Shrek, Twilight, Catching Fire, Facebook, etc.) to the literary (Moby-Dick, East of Eden, Ezra Pound, etc.) and cult (Pink Flamingos). The most intense action scenes occur in spots redolent of Americana: a mini-railroad picnic area, a highway, a campground.
Will Patton gives a stellar reading of Doctor Sleep. His voice is scratchy, tender, masculine, clear, and flexible. He is convincing as a child, adult, or old person of either gender in any mood. His scary characters become even scarier in proportion to his voice becoming softer. He enhances King's contextual humor and horror. The audiobook features an opening dedication and closing author's note, both read by King.
People who like The Shining should enjoy Doctor Sleep (though it's not necessary to have read the earlier book to appreciate the sequel), and anyone who likes character-driven, theme-laden, page-turning, well-written paranormal horror should like it, too.
Yes. Will Patton did such a marvelous job here that I went out and purchased two other books he narrated less than ten minutes after I finished listening to DOCTOR SLEEP. I also believe that, had reading this been my only option, I might not have finished it. Patton made this book for me.
The conclusion was a huge let down. Abra and Dan were far too overpowered and I never felt any true fear for their safety.
His narration of DOCTOR SLEEP is only slightly better than his performance on James Dickey's DELIVERANCE. DOCTOR SLEEP was my first experience with Patton as a narrator, but I've been a longtime fan of his acting.
DOCTOR SLEEP will tie a "True Knot" in your guts.
Stephen King has said on several occasions that his books are always more about the journey than the destination. He proves this, once again, with Doctor Sleep. I loved this book, that is, until the last thirty percent.
I really, really, REALLY wanted to love this book, and I did, for over half of it. Then, King did as King does, and phoned in the ending.
The book peaks with the death of Crow Daddy. After that, it's all downhill. I still have no idea why Concetta's steam killed the True Knot in the lodge. Yeah, I get that she had cancer, and that cancer was transferred over to them through the steam, but why did the cancer kill them so quickly? I think King took the easy way out. Not for the first time, he created too many characters and didn't know what to do with them.
Could I have done better? Probably not. But that doesn't lessen my disappointment. Does it stand up to The Shining? Get off that horse. You knew it wouldn't. Is the first 70% of the book some of the scariest stuff King has written in almost thirty years? Yes.
Canny. Enough said.
I have friends who've given this book five stars, but I can't bring myself to give it higher that a three. And it gets that three because I love the first three-quarters of the book. Read it for yourself.
I'm very happy that this book faithfully follows the original book, not the movie.
Although the original was written nearly 40 years ago, the story picks up right after the original and it quickly fills in the gaps to move to present day, leaving the reader with just enough of the past to tie everything into a nice little package.
Those who read The Shining will enjoy the references to the original, but the story itself is self-contained, so you don't necessarily need to read the original to enjoy it.
I've read The Shining several times so far. Oddly, I've never seen the movie version, but from what I know, although it's a great film, it's not a good adaptation of the book.
I've been on a Zombie apocalypse binge this year. Let me know if you've read any really good ones not on my list.
This follow on to the Shining is entertaining if predictable. The life of post Overlook Hotel Dan is actually more interesting than the main plot. Although there are ghosts and supernatural creatures I wouldn't say the book is scary in that way. The main problem is that the bad guys come across as rather silly and end up being done in more by microbes and old age than anything Dan and his posse do. Worth a read/listen but don't expect any chills.
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.
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