Alli’s #CBR5 Reviews 10,11,12 – Dark Tower Completion

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Here are my final reviews for CBR5. I didn’t quite make my quarter cb goal for the year but I am excited to get started on CBR6! I will be using my twitter name this year @allibaba77 and I look forward to being a part of this wonderful community again.

I decided to compile them into one as I am not sure how much I will have to say about each one as they really do all fit together into a really long story. Of course although it doesn’t really need to be said, there will likely be spoilers so if you have not read the series and do not want to know about it then this is not the best place for you to be. Also my details might get all mixed up but that is the way things go sometimes.

Ok, so “Wolves of the Calla” really got me back interested in the story again. I enjoyed “Wizard and Glass” but it was almost entirely a flashback so I was glad to get back into our main story as that is where the heart of the tale lies. I was a bit concerned that we would never get back into our heros’ quest as this story takes us into another town, Calla Brin Sturgess where they have this unique problem where “wolves” come every generation or so and take some of their children and they are returned “roont” or ruined. Some of the citizens ask our gunslingers for help an although this aid takes up most of the book, I was glad that it really tied in well with the main story.

Read the rest on my blog

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Kira’s #CBR5 “Review” #47: Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

dr-sleep-coverReleasing a fiction sequel more than thirty years after its predecessor is the kind of gambit only Stephen King can pull off (though credit is due to The Shining movie he’s so consistently talked down) and King, fortunately, seems to recognize the absurdity of trying to pick up where we left off in the 70s. Doctor Sleep, The Shining’s 2013 sequel, is cast forward — through Danny Torrance’s troubled teenage years and his struggle to forget the Overlook (uh, YEAH), and into the present, where Obama is president, the Internet exists, and an adolescent boy band called ‘Round Here is at peak popularity. Even Twitter gets a mention.

In the present, Dan has learned – mostly through drinking – to temper his visions, and wanders from town to town doing odd jobs until some drunken episode forces him to pack up and move on. It’s only after settling down and getting sober that he is forced to face his shining head-on, and in so doing stumbles across a young girl in need of his help.

Dan is 100 percent an Official Stephen King Male Protagonist: scrappy guy with a dubious past, a heart of gold and maybe a substance-abuse problem (see: Eddie fromThe Dark Tower series, Stu in The Stand, Dale from Under the Dome, etc.) But Danny is, of course, no stranger – we’ve already seen him defeat evil shrubbery and a bathtub-hoarding lady corpse – and so I was from the very first page rooting for him, and against whatever wicked shit I assumed King had cooked up.

[FULL REVIEW]

Kira’s #CBR5 “Review” #46: The Shining, by Stephen King

shiningHere’s the thing: I read at night. I mean, not only at night – also on the train, and on weekend mornings, and during commercials, and during superfluous portions of TV shows (read: all of X Factor). But I do a lot of reading at night, in bed, acting as a human Berlin Wall between my cats and further damaging my grandma eyes with the light of a propped-up iPad mini. (I actually have a book holder/travel pillow that, for the record, is dope.) I like to read in the (extremely relative) quiet of Bushwick-After-Dark, when the 18-wheelers stop rolling by for long enough that you might catch the sound of a bump in the night.

Which is all to say that The Shining is most definitely not a night book.

Everyone and their mother has been pointing me to Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s long-awaited sequel to The Shining, which came out in 1977. But it irks me to read sequels without reading their predecessors, so even though I’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s famous film adaptation about 65 times, I wanted to check out the original material.

[FULL REVIEW]

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 49: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

doctor_sleep_coverWhen I was at summer camp between 7th and 8th grade, a friend told me that she was reading The Shining, a book I had never heard of, by some guy from Maine named Stephen King (please note, I am super old, so this was when King was sort-of-famous, but not yet a global literary force to be reckoned with). I loved Maine and I loved to read, so I immediately got on board and read this book in about 2 days and very, very long nights. And I was hooked. That same summer, I read The Stand, Salem’s Lot, Pet Semetary, and Carrie. And I was hooked. I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written ever since.

Last year, I had the chance to go see King speak nearby. He talked about the changing publishing industry and he talked a lot about himself and how his writing had changed over the years, and how he was trying to get back to basics. And then he gave a reading from his upcoming sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep.  Wouldn’t it be cool, he said, if we had a chance to peek in on Danny Torrence’s life right now, and see what became of him? Find out what kind of man he was?

And the answer is yes. It was pretty cool.

Whatever was “wrong” with King’s writing in the early 2000s has clearly been fixed. Remember Duma Key, Lisey’s Story, Dreamcatcher, Cell, and the horrible, awful Song of Susannah? The stories were pretty good, but the endings. My god, the endings. Terrible. Under the Dome? WORST OFFENDER OF THEM ALL. He simply could not end a story.

And then, he went and published some more short stories (always his forte), a short Dark Tower novella, Joyland, and 11/22/63. And he really nailed the ending with those last two, and all was right in the world again.

And luckily, I think Doctor Sleep continues on that path. The story was good — yes, thanks, Stephen, it was interesting to see what kind of man Danny had become — and the ending worked. Of course, I did have a few “meh” moments. TEENY TINY SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. For one, I thought it was too long (a familiar complaint with King, I’m sure). And secondly, I admit, I think King was a bit soft when it came down to the “big battle” section of the story. Old Stephen, like Joss Whedon, would have killed off a few of the supporting good guys (our favorites, of course), and thought nothing of it. But this time, everyone I pegged as a potential sacrifice for the greater good made it out alive. I definitely thought Doctor Dave and old Billy would be casualties of the fight with the True Knot, and was seriously surprised to find them more or less alive and well at the end.

I know not everyone here in Cannonball land agrees with me — looks like reviews of this have been fairly divided. But I really enjoyed it, and devoured it over the course of a weekend. Which, when you have three little kids, birthday parties, homework, sports, etc to manage, is actually quite a feat.

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

ABR’s #CBR5 Review #19: Joyland by Stephen King

 

joylandI am a fan of Stephen King. I think Carrie and Pet Sematary are horrifying reads. I think Different Seasons is brilliant. That said I haven’t read Stephen King for years. When Joyland was published I thought it was a good time to start again.

My first thought was that if you are a rabid Stephen King fan, you might be disappointed in Joyland. It’s more a tender, nostalgic coming-of-age story than a “typical” Stephen King horror story. But the more I read the more I thought that if you are a King fan, you’ll love this book. And if you’ve never really enjoyed Stephen King, you too might just love this book. While it does contain some of the tried and true Stephen King tropes – horror, suspense, great dialogue, sympathetic characters – the story isn’t so fantastical you have to suspend disbelief to enjoy it.

 

The story is told in flashback by Devin Jones, now a man in his 60s, who spent the summer of 1973 working in the Joyland amusement park. Years before Devin’s arrival a young girl was murdered on one of the rides, and rumors and legends about her ghost abound. Through a series of serendipitous events, Devin becomes a star performer at Joyland, attracts the attention of a protective single mom and her son, and delves into the murder. 

Joyland won’t get under your skin the way some Stephen King stories can, but it does have a little something for every reader. There is horror, violence, heartbreak, romance and yes, sex. But the heart of the story is quite sentimental and wistful. 

taralovesbooks’ #CBR5 Review #47: The Green Mile by Stephen King

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Cannonball Read V: Book #47/52
Published: 1996
Pages: 548

Genre: Mystery

Having read most of Stephen King’s books, I’m not sure how I managed to never pick up The Green Mile. I’ve also never seen the movie (yet…working on that), so I went into this book only knowing the basic plot: It takes place on death row and there’s a giant guy who may or may not have done the crime that landed him there.

Paul Edgecomb is the narrator who is in a nursing home type place writing down this story that happened when he was a prison warden in the 1930s. He saw a lot of people die while working on death row, but John Coffey stood out to him. He was brought to the prison after being convicted of raping and murdering two little twin girls (but did he actually do it?). He’s a strange man – absolutely huge, but gentle and soft-spoken and seems to never stop weeping tears. Turns out, John Coffey has some special healing abilities as well.

Read the rest in my blog.

taralovesbooks’ #CBR5 Review #46: Duma Key by Stephen King

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Cannonball Read V: Book #46/52
Published: 2008
Pages: 700

Genre: Horror/Fantasy

Another brick of a Stephen King book. Some are completely worth wading through 1000 pages (The StandUnder the Dome…shut up, I liked that one) and some aren’t (InsomniaThe Tommyknockers).Duma Key was pretty middle of the road. Good enough to actually finish (can’t say the same for those last two I mentioned up there), but not crazy good.

Read the rest in my blog.