Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: The Stand

The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know if I'd recommend "The Stand." Considered to be the best work by King, from what I've read from him ("The Green Mile," "Carrie," and the entire "Dark Tower" series), I'd tend to disagree. For one thing, the book is far too long. I read the uncut edition, and in paperback form, it clocked in at over 1400 pages. That's ridiculous. And so much of the book seems overwritten. The council committee sections are especially trying. I just wanted the book to get through with those scenes and push on. It was tough to sit through and I feel most of it could have been left out. I was not a fan.

But my biggest problem is probably how it ends. It's very unsatisfying. I won't spoil anything, but after the big event that is the stand itself, it spends about 90 pages winding itself down and in a very unsatisfactory way. It's spent with characters I never really cared for in the first place, so it was a major drag. I hated it.

But for all its problems, it does have some shining moments. I mostly read this book because I was interested in Randall Flagg since he appears in "The Dark Tower" novels, and he didn't disappoint. In fact, there was SO much build-up, that that may have been my biggest complaint. The pay-off wasn't worth it. It would have been so much better if King kept to his promise of a stunning conclusion. But alas, he didn't, and that's what makes it a disappointing book. You read all those pages and get to know all those characters, and it just falls completely flat. What a bummer.

Overall, it's not a bad book, but far from what I would call his best. And that front cover shot of the grim reaper fighting Luke Skywalker (That's what it looks like, right?), just ignore it. Nothing in the book like that ever happens. If you want to get more perspective on "The Dark Tower," pick it up. But if you never even read "The Dark Tower," series, I would advise against it. It's just too long. Read something else.

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