I'm still not sure how to go about fairly summing up and reviewing a book that everyone is anticipating reading (if they haven't already, I'm a bit behind the game) by an author that I adore, but here goes.
It's been years since Dan Torrence and his mother escaped the Overlook Hotel. Now, Dan has made his way to Frazier, New Hampshire. Here Dan has found friends and supporters who have helped him to battle his demons. He's dried up, joined AA, and is on the road to recovery when he meets Abra Stone. Though not in the traditional sense. See, Abra is like Dan - she shines. And Abra soon discovers that someone is after kids like her. They're called the True Knot. They travel the roads of America in their RVs and campers, seeking out kids who share Dan and Abra's talents. And now they've got their sites set on Abra.
First, yes - you have to read The Shining before reading Doctor Sleep. Sure, I'll admit you can probably get away with it; Doctor Sleep is a story in and of itself that doesn't rely on The Shining. But c'mon! Why would you skip Dan's early story and jump right into this one? Take my advice, treat yourself to both if you haven't already.
I love, love, loved returning to Danny Torrence and his story. Doctor Sleep is creepy and completely excellent, as I'd expected it would be. There are some little Easter eggs and references to other works (if you've read Joe Hill's NOS4A2 then you'll notice that King refers to Hill's big bad from book and vice versa).
King has honestly never let me down and again his latest is no exception. I've been anticipating this book even before last October when King and son Joe Hill released their short collaboration, "In the Tall Grass." See, I quickly realized that the short story included excerpts from both King's and Hill's upcoming releases (Doctor Sleep and NOS4A2). I had to resist the call of that early teaser, however, because I figured it would be sheer torture to wait another year before reading the actual book.
It was still torture to wait for the book - I start to get more and more anxious as the day of release grows closer, finding that the anticipation of a new Stephen King can sometimes squash my desire to read anything else. It's a personal problem. I'm dealing with it :)
Lo and behold the day of release finally came - and (I found this out in July) King was making a stop in Boulder for his tour. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would actually have a chance to attend a Stephen King event, but here it was! My chance! The event sold out, of course, but thankfully I had my tickets in hand. It was hosted by the fabulous Boulder Bookstore at our Chautauqua Auditorium and each ticket came with a copy of the book - with 250 randomly distributed signed copies included in the book handout (we didn't get one).
King spoke about his career, his time in Boulder, The Shining and other works, and of course Doctor Sleep, treating us to two passages - Dan's bottom and Dan's own return to Boulder - before answering questions. It was truly a fabulous event and I'm so glad that I had a chance to attend.