Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King—A Shining Sequel

While some of the people on this website are busy writing new novels and reviewing indie fiction, I’ve been reading Michael Crichton and listening to Stephen King.

But a review is a review, and TheShortStoryTeller reviews both the good and the bad!

I’m not quite old enough to remember when the original The Shining movie came out, but I’ve watched it anyway. Jack Nicholson will always be the best crazy man in Hollywood.

I never thought that this story needed a sequel. But now that I’ve both seen the movie and listened to the audiobook, I must admit: the sequel is worthy.

Read on to see if you agree!

Compared To The Movie:

I like Ewan McGregor as much as the next fan. But this book is significantly better than the movie (as you might expect).

Stephen King really has a reputation of getting his books adapted for the screen. And to be fair, I’ve enjoyed most of those movies. But they never quite measure up to the books, do they?

The changes are subtle, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice them. The book really brings out the demons of alcoholism. The book really strengthens the ties of family.

Check out the movie. But enjoy the book more.

What Is The Shining?

The Shining got its name from an off-screen character, the old grandmother of the Overlook Hotel’s chef, Dick Hallorann.

Many people have a little shine; a few people have a great big shine.

The Shining is a mysterious set of psychic abilities, such as telepathy, astral projection, precognition, and clairvoyance. Each person with the Shining exhibits different strengths and weaknesses. Typically, but not always, these powers fade as the subject gets older.

One group of such subjects call themselves The True Knot, and they sustain themselves and increase their power by feeding on the psychic energy of other subjects with the Shining. They call this psychic energy steam.

Another significant set of abilities that are associated with the Shining is the communication and interaction with ghosts, and the ability to predict death, and ease the passage of dying people.

The Criticism: Not A Lot Of Scare

This is a pretty weak criticism of an otherwise excellent book, but Doctor Sleep does not deliver the terror that one might expect after reading The Shining.

This book has more magic, more mystique, but lacks the gradually-deteriorating Jack Torrence, and barely includes the horrifying ghosts haunting the Overlook Hotel.

The True Knot are scary, in a way, but their impact is reduced by the intrigue of their powers. They kidnap and kill children, which makes them clearly evil, but not very threatening for adult readers.

The Good: Psychic Powers

I think many readers finished The Shining and were disappointed that there wasn’t more explanation of Danny’s telepathic powers. Of course, that book was probably intended to leave some mystery behind the Shining in order to increase the wonder and horror of the hotel.

Those same readers should be satisfied by the exposition in Doctor Sleep. Many new characters exhibit the Shining, and the use of these psychic powers is a major part of the plot.

The Recommendation: 5 / 5 Stars.

Stephen King deserves the credit that he’s often given in reviews. Doctor Sleep delivers a thoroughly satisfactory sequel to a book that never expected a sequel.

The mystical powers, the familiar characters and their history, and a new team of nearly-immortal antagonists work together to produce an excellent story, from start to finish.

Are you looking for more stories featuring ghosts, magical powers, and psychic vampires? Well, we have good news for you: Stranger Back Home delivers all of those features, packaged in an action-packed fantasy mystery!

Which Stephen King books do you recommend for our next review? Drop us a comment below, and share this review with all of your King-loving friends!

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