The Stand, by Stephen King

So, Mr. King, I gave you another chance despite being less-than-whelmed by Gunslinger. And I was less-than-whelmed again–and for over 1,000 pages this time. I stuck with it, but I’m not entirely sure why. I do love a good end of the world novel, but this one made me hope the end was coming sooner…

It felt like King decided he was going to fill 1,000 pages so gosh darn it, he did. There was lots of rambling, he seemed to have little direction until suddenly getting an idea for a hundred pages of action followed by more lack of direction. He didn’t build a plot or story or novel, he just stuck random stuff together until he had enough pages for a book. He killed off characters left and right, and only a few died to serve the plot–the rest just seemed to be conveniently done away with when King got tired of writing about them.

King’s “Dark Man”/Great Evil of the novel was disappointing. He seemed like a giggly weasel with no motivation or character beyond evil-for-the-sake-of-evil. In fact, all of the “bad guys” just fell into the random “bad guy just because” category. This kept them from ever being scary, as they were simply flat. King had 1,000 pages to develop some characters but instead decided to hold meeting after meeting and then construct stupid societies that served no ultimate purpose beyond filler.

Maybe I’m being harsh. I know a lot of people do like this book–I’m just not one of them. If this book had been 700 pages shorter, or if those 700 extra pages had served even the vaguest purpose, I might have read this more favorably. I gave King two books to impress me, or at least interest me, and with that I’m done.

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