Review: Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
By Stephen and Owen King
Print: Scribner Book Company, 9781501163401, September 2017, 720pp.
AudioMarin Ireland (Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

(Note: Review of both audio and print copies)

The Short of It:

After falling asleep, women around the world find themselves wrapped in a cocoon-like substance.  Alive, but for how long?

The Rest of It:

I read Sleeping Beauties as part of a read along (@sleepingbeautiesRAL).  Truth be told, I always look forward to King’s fall releases but this one was a little different. Mainly, because he wrote it with his son, Owen. However, the tone of the book was very different from what he’s written before.

Much of the story details how one particular town is overtaken by this “webbing” and how the male inhabitants, although baffled by it, are also terrified that their significant others, their daughters, mothers and sisters may never come out of this dream state. This is a real concern for them but for some, it begs the question, why? Why are they so concerned? Because their loved ones will never be the same? Or because they will now be forced to live without women taking care of the house? The kids?

Sleeping Beauties is a horror novel but not in the traditional King sense. It’s King’s way of burning a bra without owning one. It’s a poster-waving tribute to women’s rights but the agenda was too obvious and much of it felt scripted. There are no surprises here and truthfully, I felt a little depressed when I turned the last page.

Because some of you have asked, I could tell which sections King wrote and which sections his son wrote. All of the weird, quirky mannerisms and the setting of the stage, felt like Uncle Stevie to me. The progression of the story felt like Owen may have handled that part. Of course, I can’t know for sure but that is my guess.  It would be interesting to know their writing process for this one.

Audio & Print

I read this in print and listened to it on audio. I tried both formats because in print, the visuals were pretty stunning. King is so good at setting the stage. The audio copy was pretty respectable though. Read by Marin Ireland, I felt she did an admirable job of giving each of the many characters a true, authentic voice.  As you may know, King loves to includes lots of characters and this book was no exception.

In the end, the story left me wanting . I feel dissatisfied and a little angry. Perhaps, this is the point.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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19 thoughts on “Review: Sleeping Beauties”

  1. This was a DNF for me, I was just so bored. It sounds like your sentiments are felt by many others who finished the book. Sorry it left you disappointed…even more so I’m sure because that was a huge reading investment!!

    1. If you took King’s name out of it, I would say it was okay but knowing how great his books are, I had super high expectations I think. Plus, it could have been edited down by a couple hundred pages. SO long for the town to fall under Aurora’s spell.

  2. This was such a dud for me. I was so disappointed that I didn’t bother reviewing it. I started reading the new Dan Brown right after I put this one down – I needed something fun and fast-paced. And I agree that you can tell who wrote what in Sleeping Beauties.

  3. He really needs an editor..someone to say..hey..cut 200 pages out of this!
    And I didn’t like him shoving his politics down my throat…trying to be hip and cool. It felt like they were trying to hard to be up to date
    And some of the characters were just stereotypes…the old man is one that comes to mind
    I guess I was wanting halloween horror…and it wasn’t there

  4. I didn’t read this one yet, but sounds like one I may table for a much later date after the hype and disappointment has passed from my mind and I can assess with an open mind. I love Uncle Stevie, but books written by 2 people are hard to do well. Sounds like this one didn’t get there.

    1. It did get better from the point where you stopped. Because I remember you telling me you were giving up at a certain point. But at about 3/4 in I got tired of it. I got tired of Evie and her antics. I just didn’t have the King stamp on it, that I am used to.

  5. I finished this last night and am going to be one of the rare few who actually enjoyed it. I like that it was not horror in the traditional sense. After all, nothing is scary than what is going on in the country right now. The hatred and divisiveness and potential violence is shocking and terrifying. I like the sacrifices everyone ended up making. I loved what they had to say about gender balance and the environment. I even like that the ending is so vague. It makes it more real to me because there are no easy answers to our current gender divides. We all have to make compromises, and we all have to decide what we are and are not willing to put up with when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex.

    The audiobook had a brief interview with Uncle Stevie and Owen during which they said that they wrote over each other’s sections two to three different times so that it really is an honest blend of their work. For example, Owen would write a section but leave a hole in the middle for his father to go back and finish. Then, during the rewriting process, anything Owen initially wrote in the first draft, his father would rewrite and vice versa. I never could pick out distinctly Stephen sections or distinctly Owen sections, and I believe this is why. Because they truly co-wrote it.

    1. I didn’t notice that interview in my review audio copy. Hmmm. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t love it. It didn’t have the King stamp on it. IMO. It’s gotten some flat out horrible reviews though.

  6. Yes yes yes. I finished it yesterday and the politics were too heavy handed. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with them, but it was too much. The ending was so anticlimactic. Like what was the point?

    1. It WAS heavy handed. I felt like it was being forced down my throat. It had some good moments but I was constantly getting pulled out of the narrative because of some political statement. With the admin we have right now, I read to escape and this was not escaping.

  7. I’ve been wanting to read this one, and I still hope to by the end of the year. I actually was able to see Stephen and Owen King speak about this book earlier this month. It was fascinating and hiliarious! Stephen actually stated that he really kind of did have an ulterior motive behind wanting to write this book, but the idea behind it was really Owen’s. Knowing all of this makes me curious, and the discussion you have going here only increases my curiosity!

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