books and stuff


Revival – Stephen King

Reading Challenge 2016

  • No.3 ‘A book by an author over the age of 65’


The first half of Revival was exactly what you’d expect from a King novel: exciting, original and imaginative. The fantasy/horror element technique he uses is always a treat, with some of his fiction proving completely terrifying – The Shining (1977). This one is no different, touching on precarious subjects like death, religion and the afterlife.

King’s foreshadowing first glimpse of unnerving character, Charles Jacobs had me hooked, ‘…when a shadow fell over the battlefield. I looked up and saw a guy standing there. He was blocking the afternoon sun, a silhouette surrounded by golden light – a human eclipse.’

The Morton family had depth, each member seemed important and necessaryespecially narrator, Jamie Morton who repeatedly mentions how he wished his path hadn’t crossed Jacob’s. They are tied together like magnets, meeting at pivotal moments in their lives. 

I finished the first half of the book in a couple of days. The second half took me about two weeks – an embarrassing effort. The latter half felt like a different book. It was long-winded, overdrawn and featured a relatively tame ending. As a King fan you know that he is the master of the slow burner, building tension up effortlessly, but I felt that this only aided in watering the narrative down, and I found the repetition rather tedious – I wanted to get to the end!

When I finally reached the end, it seemed rushed after the extended journey to get there. It wasn’t moving or disturbing like Carrie (1974), instead it fell into the same pile as Gerald’s Game (1992) – promising and suspenseful, yet fell short half way through.

I feel guilty writing this because King is usually so great at accomplishing a modern take on the Gothic genre. In Revival, his Gothic horror muses are clear, i.e Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, entwined with elements of the Bible, which seems to work, at first. By the end, the narrative is lost and the plot becomes confusing and almost silly.

Although a disappointing read, I’ve not been put off. King published Mr Mercedes in early 2014 – a fantastic thriller which won an Edgar Award for best novel – perhaps, then, this book was rushed? Leaving readers with a flat, dead conclusion, that isn’t worth a revival.*

*Sorry Stephen King – I love you. 


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