Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Male, 2013
Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 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.
©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.
Ardent Audible listener with 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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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.
Say something about yourself!
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
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
note: i've only read or listened to 3 other stephen king novel's (the shining, the stand, and the talisman) so i wouldn't be able to tell you if this was a "great" king novel, but i CAN tell you this is a truly good story.
of all the books i've ever read or listened to, the shining is the one book i compare all others to when it comes to a good scare. to me, that is "horror." i haven't found many stories that are comparable, but maybe that's b/c i was 18 when i read it. even though it was the summer of my freshman year at college and was your typical meathead frat boy, the shining still scared me! but of course like many of you, i HAD to keep reading! LOL now in my late 30's, i was psyched to learn danny's story continued. so, i was eager to listen to doctor sleep. i wanted to know if i could be scared again.
after listening to doctor sleep, i can safely say i wasn't scared again, but what i can say is that it was an entertaining story even though i never got the creeps. stephen king does a really good job portraying danny's life as an alcoholic. i found it kind of sad that he'd fallen to that level. i drank a lot in college, but i never felt like i had to drink just to make it to the next day. the theme of alcoholism plays a credible part of the story, especially when considering danny's family history. there's another compelling reason danny drinks, but i'd rather let you discover why instead of divulging it.
listening to the story, i got attached to danny. i cared about his character. i was pulling for him to overcome his temptations to drink, and i found those scenes powerful and realistic.
i really liked how stephen king integrated the character of abra into the story and how danny and abra finally come together. it's just one of those things that you keep listening for b/c you anticipate it soo much. needless to say, i had a few late nights. LOL stephen king does a good job pacing the story as danny's and abra's stories merge. i actually found myself getting kind of giddy!
so yes, i bonded with the characters in the book. i also liked a lot of the minor characters, such as danny's friends. again, stephen king doesn't rush the story. he credibly builds frienndships so when friendship is called upon, it feels real and not contrived.
as far as the villains, i didn't find them as scary as the overlook or its inhabitants, but the one creepy thing about them was their plainness- how they are able to hide in plain sight. geezzz...maybe i'm contradicting myself! but i can honestly say i'll never look at a rv the same way again! seriously! even though the villains didn't scare me, i LOATHED them. i soo wanted them to get their comeuppance! so on a level, i bonded with them.
i enjoyed will patton's narration. his voice eases you into the story, his voice matches what i believe danny's would sound like.
overall, i really enjoyed the story. if you're interested in finding out whatever happened to danny torrence, then listen to this story. it is a rewarding conclusionof his story!
p.s. after listening to this, i'm definitely tempted to listen to more of stephen king's work, especially his older work b/c he is an exceptional storyteller!
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.
I enjoy well researched historical fiction where I feel like I've learned something as well as being entertained.
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.
I can't say I loved this book in audio form when I might have loved it in paper form, maybe because of Will Patton. It was impossible to get a good volume because he goes from shout to mumbled whisper constantly. His sentences start out strong, and he ends them with barely audible mush. Drove me crazy. I'm on the last few chapters, and speeded it up to 1.5 just so I can finish and be done with it.
Another quibble - I would have loved to hear more about the intervening years with his mom, Wendy. She has no presence in this book, and I wanted to know more about how she survived the Overlook horrors.
As I've gotten older, reading has become a labored event. Typeface is smaller and my arms aren't long enough to see text clearly. So, these days audiobooks are my salvation. Having said that, it stands to reason that I find the audio edition better.
Dan, aka Doctor Sleep aka Doc. At first it was painful to see little Danny from the Shining become a drifting out-of-control alcoholic. Then I had to remember. As children, we're all little packages of potential and promise. Then after life kicks the crap out of you for a decade, or so, we become scratching, clawing survivors...some are better at it than others. Dan finds his survival in a bottle, and life makes him very thirsty. Dan is the perfect example of what I love about King's characters. His stories' heroes have flaws, warts, demons and nightmares, just like the rest of us. If a falling down drunk can give up his selfish, petty needs in order to save the day, well, there's hope that all of us are capable of being heroes.
I had not heard Will Patton's performance before Doctor Sleep. However, I was so very pleased because he reminds me of the late, great Frank Muller.
The end of the book when Dan has a talk with Abra. She thinks he's scolding her about an incident when she used her shining powers to break her mothers dishes. Instead, he explains that just like her shining, she also inherited a bad temper, which needs to be controlled just as much as her supernatural powers, maybe even more so.
King is so brilliant at creating monsters and the villains in Doctor Sleep are no exception. Old aged, badly dressed soul vampires that kidnap, torture and kill children - the True Knot are up there near the top in the King monster menagerie. King still holds the record of being the only writer that scared me so badly I slept with my closet light on for month. That was back in my early twenties. Today, I don't get frightened to that extent by fantasy. There are far too many things in the real world that are much more frightening. But, King's stories can still cause my heart to race, and that's always a welcomed delight.
This is not one of my favorite books. That place is held firmly by all of the Dark Tower books. But, it was an enjoyable ride. Hell, life serves up a lot of crap, so when you can have a few days of heart-racing, what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next adrenalin, life just doesn't get any better than that.
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