Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep
By Stephen King
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781476727653, September 2013, 544pp.)

The Short of It:

A solid follow-up to The Shining as far as the story goes,  but I was disappointed with the execution.

The Rest of It:

Readers of this blog know that I am a King fan through and through. A Constant Reader, if you will. He writes a book, and I read it no matter what it’s about because the man can write. And yes, I did enjoy The Shining quite a bit and for those of you that aren’t in the know, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to that much-loved book. So going in, King had a lot up against him since the first book was written so many years ago and written when he was battling alcoholism. I’m sure that writing Doctor Sleep in a sober state presented its own challenges too.

But, I was not all that impressed with Doctor Sleep and it pains me a little to say it. The story is a about a young man, Dan Torrance, who finds himself battling the demons of his youth. He sees things and he has special talents that even he has yet to fully understand. He’s also an alcoholic because the drink, is just about the only thing that puts his “shining” to rest. As he moves through life, he encounters a young girl who shares his talent and the two get to know each other quite well when they are forced to fight a band of wandering life suckers called the True Knot.

Doctor Sleep is ultimately a battle between the good and the not-so-good. Some of the characters are more developed than others. I felt that King took more time with Dan and I expected that since he is one of the original characters from The Shining. But Abra, the young girl he encounters, seemed cartoonish to me. I had a problem with her age. She felt younger to me than she was. I also had a problem with the main villain, Rose. I never really saw her as a viable threat and I think that is what really disappointed me about the book. You need a really evil villain, one that you can really remember, and Rose was weak in my opinion.

The ending wrapped-up too quickly, whereas other parts of the story seemed to plod along. Was it entertaining? Yes. I’d say that most of King’s books are and there are glimmers of wonderful-ness here and there, but overall, it was a little too safe for me to love it. However, I did feel as if King did Dan justice in the story itself. It was not a bad story line at all. I just wish it had finished a little stronger than it did.

I read this as part of a read along so if you are interested in those posts, you can read them below. I never did a final wrap-up post, just this review so count this as the wrap-up!

Doctor Sleep Read Along (Chapters 1-6)

Doctor Sleep Read Along (Chapters 7-13)

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “Review: Doctor Sleep”

    1. I love anything the man does. I mean his worst is still better than a lot of other books out there, but the payout was a bit safe in this one.


  1. I would generally agree with you. It WAS safe, and Rose was lame. But I did love Dan and Abra. And Uncle Stevie still spins a great yarn.

  2. I liked Doctor Sleep a lot, but only just posted my review of the audiobook yesterday, too!
    I guess there were some weaknesses in the book, but I wonder if they were just less noticeable in the audiobook edition, with narrator Will Patton just carrying you along for the ride. I was annoyed when the story switched to Abra and Dan wasn’t involved, and also when the story switched to the True Knot, but that always happens when I’ve become attached to a particular character’s storyline. The character of Abra just didn’t rub me the wrong way the way she did you, I guess!

    1. I seem to be in the minority on Abra. I am not sure why she bugged me so much. I guess because I have kids close to that age. She just didn’t ring true to me. She seemed babyish and she was a teen by the end of the book. I liked her best when she was in Rose’s head. I wish she could have stayed there. LOL.


  3. This is too bad… though I must say, King’s classic stuff is a lot more gritty and traditionally “horrific” than his new material. Carrie, for example. I’m still curious to try Doctor Sleep, but I’d rather read The Shining first.

    1. I think I wanted more of Dan’s story too, now that I am thinking about it. I just didn’t think Abra, the little girl, even needed to be in the story at all! His older stuff is grittier, but according to the interview I heard recently, that was all due to his drinking problem!


  4. I’m so bummed that you didn’t enjoy this one much, but am so glad that you still are a solid King fan!! And, I’m so glad that you joined in on the read-along.

    Just curious, from one King fan to another … which of his books are your favorite?

    1. Great question.

      For its pure evilness, my fave is IT. Childhood horrors magnified times ten. Nothing like it.

      For the handling of the characters and the good fight against evil, The Stand.

      But most recently, I loved Duma Key. That was a surprise for me because it was one of his sleeper books. I am not sure it did all that well. There didn’t seem to be much talk about it. But I read it and loved it to pieces for the characters.

      I’ll stick with these but I love his books for all sorts of reasons. What’s your fave?


  5. I understand why , as a committed and loyal King fan, you didn’t like this book so much. Now, when I think about Abra, you’re right that she was kind of cartoonish and she was definitely portrayed as younger than her age. I wonder why? Maybe King was trying to distance her from the Abra with powers, show how she was a regular girl but also a girl with powers? I don’t know! I enjoyed the book because it’s so well written and is a great story (despite some weak spots at the end). But I’m not as familiar with King’s work as you are.

    This is a great review, Ti.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s