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Doctor Sleep (2013)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Shining (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,6403041,399 (4.05)263
"Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-- mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the 'steam' that children with the 'shining' produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.' Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival"--From publisher's web site.… (more)
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» See also 263 mentions

English (293)  Italian (2)  German (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (304)
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
The problem with Stephen King is that he is no longer a hungry writer. He has fallen into a place where stories just fall out of him into pieces on the floor. He decides what he should pick up and where he should place them. They tend to be watered down and contrived.
  Joe73 | Oct 19, 2021 |
Heartfelt. Riveting. A paranormal fantasy thriller with a few well-placed horror scenes.

In typical King style, it has dark imaginative threads and some brilliant moments that kept me turning the pages throughout. I couldn't get enough of it. Excellent pacing until the end, where things became a bit stodgy and predictable for the grand finale, but that overall didn't negatively affect my lasting feelings on the book. Some of the most chilling moments I still think of, over a year after first reading it!

This book also gave me an insight into the world of a recovering alcoholic, which is a story I hadn't experienced before. It feels authentic, and I am grateful for that insight.

I believe that it piggybacks off the brilliance of [b:The Shining|11588|The Shining|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1353277730l/11588._SY75_.jpg|849585] a little too much; callbacks to the first novel were cute at first, but littered the whole book. You should read The Shining (or perhaps re-read if it's been a few years) since this book doesn't work as well as a standalone. ( )
  Katrana | Oct 13, 2021 |
King is still on top of his game with his effortless storytelling skill. An excellent, vivid, compelling story. It wasn't super scary, and the denouement wasn't quite as pulse pounding as I had hoped, but there was a couple of nifty misdirections along the way, and the book as a whole was very enjoyable. ( )
  usuallee | Oct 7, 2021 |
The Shining worked so well because it captured the brilliance of childhood innocence and naivety. We saw it mostly through Danny’s eyes, a kid who was exploring a shiny, new place and lived with parents whom he truly loved and was afraid of at the same time.

In contrast, Doctor Sleep focuses on an older, grizzly version of Danny who is boozing and fucking his way through small-town America. He’s thoroughly unlikeable at the beginning of the story. Problem is, it doesn’t get much better. There is none of the charm and sparkle of the young Danny we knew. He’s a totally different guy, and that makes for a frustrating beginning.

The tone continues with Abra, who’s a 12 year old shining prodigy. However, she’s a pre-teen who doesn’t behave or think at all like a pre-teen. It’s an odd place to be: neither of the chief protagonists are very likeable. Maybe that’s how King designed them, but it feels like an odd choice, regardless. Their dynamic is interesting to watch though, so that’s a relief.

The Knot, meanwhile, are far more interesting people. They have wealth and power and know how to use them both. They’re like a family, traveling and loving each other through America. Yes, they’re comically evil, but sometimes they show shades of humanity, especially in how they express vulnerability. They’re also wildly incompetent and gets outclassed pretty much throughout the story. They’re designed to show just how fallible even immortals can be but fail at being truly engaging.

Doctor Sleep is a difficult book to judge. Standing at 500 pages, it feels too long for what it is. The story could’ve been much shorter and more exciting. I understand how King wanted to flesh out the characters, but it feels mostly pointless at the end of the day. As it stands, it’s a good read but had the potential to be a great one. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Any follow up to The Shining is bound to be a disappointment, because it was, as far as I'm concerned, King's pinnacle. The best for scares, the best for story, the best for characters...the best.

Still, I gave Doctor Sleep a chance. I wanted it to be as good. It wasn't.

That's not to say it's bad. It isn't. It's still a great story, it's still got a lot of heart and a lot of depth, but--and again, this is simply my opinion--there was a lot of missed opportunities here.

The first is with a character we meet right up front, Andrea Steiner, better known as Snakebite Andi. She was introduced to great promise at the beginning, then barely mentioned for several hundred pages, then dispatched far too quickly. A shockingly (for King) underdeveloped character. And there was also her mate, Silent Sarey. Same deal. To be honest, King could have left these two out altogether and given their parts to some of the True Knot we got to know better.

Next, there was missed opportunities to tie this book more firmly to the King Universe. The True Knot goes looking for large disasters to take steam, right? Where were they in 1979 when the town of Chamberlain was being destroyed by Carrie White, a girl who surely had as much steam as Abra Stone. Or the town of Castle Rock during the events of Needful Things? Or Derry, during Insomnia? A small mention is all that was needed.

And then there is Abra Stone. She's Carrie without the psychotic mother. No, King couldn't have used her, as she died two years after the Overlook burned. But what about little Annie Jenks, mentioned at the end of Carrie, who would be just 24 at the time of Doctor Sleep? Hell, why not Charlie McGee, the Firestarter herself? How much fun would it have been to catch up with her as well? What could the True Knot done with Charlie, who would be in her early thirties, but still damned interesting.

So, yes, a book of missed opportunities for me. However, as I said, still a good read, and an excellent tip of the hat to his son, Joe Hill's brilliant N0S4A2 villain, Charlie Manx.

Gotta say though, a little disappointed at the direct steal from The Green Mile toward the end. Would have liked to have seen Dan use a different tactic with the members of the True Knot.

A good book. Not a great one, which the follow up to The Shining should have been. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
What are those virtues? First, King is a well-trusted guide to the underworld. His readers will follow him through any door marked “Danger: Keep Out” (or, in more literary terms, “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here”), because they know that not only will he give them a thorough tour of the inferno — no gore left unspilled, no shriek left unshrieked — he will also get them out alive. As the Sibyl of Cumae puts it to Aeneas, it’s easy to go to hell, but returning from it is the hard part. She can say that because she’s been there; and, in a manner of speaking — our intuition tells us — so has King.

Second, King is right at the center of an American literary taproot that goes all the way down: to the Puritans and their belief in witches, to Hawthorne, to Poe, to Melville, to the Henry James of “The Turn of the Screw,” and then to later exemplars like Ray Bradbury. In the future, I predict, theses will be written on such subjects as “American Puritan Neo-Surrealism in ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘The Shining,’ ” and “Melville’s Pequod and King’s Overlook Hotel as Structures That Encapsulate American History.”
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Margaret Atwood (Sep 19, 2013)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Levinsen, JakobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
We stood at the turning point. Half-measures availed us nothing.
- The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. [It is] the dubious luxury of normal men and women.
- The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Dedication
When I was playing my primitive band of rhythm guitar with a group called the Rock Bottom Remainders, Warren Zevon used to gig with us. Warren loved gray t-shirts and movies like Kingdom of the Spiders. He insisted I sing lead on his signature tune, "Werewolves of London", during the encore portion of our shows. I said I was not worthy. He insisted that I was. "Key of G", Warren told me, "and howl like you mean it. Most important of all, play like Keith."
I'll never be able to play like Keith Richards, but I always did my best, and with Warren beside me, matching me note for note and laughing his fool head off, I always had a blast.
Warren, this howl is for you, wherever you are. I miss you, buddy.
First words
On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground.
Quotations
The True's towns, with colorful names like Dry Bend, Jerusalem's Lot, Oree, and Sidewinder, were safe havens, but they never stayed in those places for long; mostly they were migratory.
"There are other worlds than these."
The one thing of which Dan was sure was that there were no coincidences.
Life was a wheel, its only job was to turn, and it always came back to where it had started.
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Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish Stephen King's novel, Doctor Sleep (2013), from Madison Smartt Bell's novel of the same title (1991).
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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"Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-- mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the 'steam' that children with the 'shining' produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.' Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival"--From publisher's web site.

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