Tag Archives: Doctor Sleep

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.

Doctor Sleep Read Along (The Wrap-Up!)

Doctor Sleep Read Along

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t been reading along with us, save this post for another day. There will be spoilers!

Before we started reading, we asked if you had any expectations for Doctor Sleep. Did you get what you were hoping for out of the book?

Unfortunately, no. I really wanted a continuation of Danny’s story and it was that, loosely but this story took on a life of its own and sort of went an entirely different way. It didn’t feel like a sequel and it lacked action. Seemed almost too safe at times which is not what I expect to feel when reading a King book. It was a bit of a snoozer towards the end and it seriously pains me to say that.

On a positive note, I do feel as if King had a firm grasp of Dan’s character but I can’t say the same for the other characters. Rose was just a shell of what she should have been and Abra ended up bugging the shit out of me at the end. Rose was comical in a way, and I don’t think that is how King intended her to come across. The hat and her little tirades were a bit much and I never felt her power or that she was a real threat to anyone.

Abra’s youthfulness got old after a while. She was a teenager by the end of the book and she was still acting like a small child. Didn’t feel believable. It’s harsh but I really didn’t care what happened to her.

I wanted more of Dan. His story was much more interesting to me.

Having finished the book, do you think having read The Shining is important for enjoying this one?

Doctor Sleep was technically the sequel to The Shining, but I don’t think you have to read The Shining to understand what is going on. Sure, it adds to the story but King does a good job of bringing a reader up-to-speed.

In one word, one phrase, one sentence, describe Doctor Sleep. 

Plodding. As with most unpleasant things in life, facing your fears and your wrongdoings can be a tedious task and it felt that way while reading. I felt as if I was along for the ride and at times, it seemed like too much. Not too much like it was way too intense, because it wasn’t, but too much like… get it over with already. I saw the ending long before I read it, so the last few chapters took forever for me to get through.

Anything else you feel like discussing about the end of the book? Or, about the book as a whole?

Oh man, I thought the ending was on the weak side. The blood-tie that was revealed was not a surprise at all. I saw it coming and hoped with all hope that it would go a different route but nope, it didn’t.

I felt that Rose’s demise was really, really played down. So much so that I missed it! I had to flip back to see how it happened. I mean, how could I have missed it the first time? I am not sure but I did and then when I did find it, I was like… meh. No wonder I missed it.

I thought it was nifty how Dan was able to use the contents of his lock boxes. I was wondering about them and it seemed fitting for him to use the boxes the way he did. Plus, it was a nice way to give him the closure that he needed.

Was anyone else sad to see Crow Daddy go so soon? I was really liking him. He seemed a lot more complex than Rose and more in line with what I’ve come to expect from King.

That’s all I have to say for now. My review is going to be interesting, to say the least. I hope to get it written soon.