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Book Review: "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King

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An avid reader who shares her love of books and their contents with others.

"Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King

"Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King

A Start to a Wonderful Tale

Doctor Sleep is the sequel to Steven King’s The Shining and takes a very different turn from the original psychological thriller/horror genre that we all know and love. Though I do suppose it could still fit in that particular genre, I feel it has a more paranormal suspense feel to it and definitely grabs you in a new splendid way that The Shining didn't.

In this fabulous tale, we get to see how the happenings of The Shining affected Danny, who now goes by Dan, through his life and see the kind of mess the “shining” can put someone into.

A Life of Drinking to Cope

In Doctor Sleep, we get to follow Dan around and see how he grew up and meet some new characters as well that make a great impact on Dan. One of these characters is Casey Kingsley. At first I wanted to hate Casey, but I feel the character definitely was needed for the steps Dan had to take to prevent furthering his alcoholic tendencies.

After having seen what drinking did to his father and having to deal with the shining for so long, I could see why drinking had been a big thing in his life. Especially since there had been mention that drinking actually dulled the shining. With the Overlook haunting your nightmares and the shining tormenting your waking hours, whether it’s ghosts or hearing others' thoughts, who wouldn’t want to be drinking?

Although Jack, Dan’s father, was also a drunk, Dan hadn’t just picked that up from him. Dan had also picked up the temper as when drunk as well. Though it seemed to be more free when drunk. So in the beginning of the book we do see Dan moving a lot. Until he gets off a bus in New Hampshire, where we meet Billy Freeman and Casey Kingsley.

As I said, I wanted to hate Casey. He just seems to be distant at first, and we don’t get a whole lot on him, just a few snippets here and there. But he does become Dan’s sponsor and helps Dan through his journey through Alcoholics Anonymous—which in my book makes him an OK guy.

Cleaning up and giving Dan a permanent home in New Hampshire was probably the best gift Casey could have done. Though the home part was mainly due to Dan’s gift of the shining, which began to show up after just a couple of AA meetings when a small child named Abra started reaching out to him with her shining.

"The Shining" and "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King

"The Shining" and "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King

So It Continues

As in The Shining, we get to see multiple perspectives on Doctor Sleep. In the beginning, we get to see things from Dan’s side, the Stones’ side and the True Knot’s side.

Unlike in The Shining, however, we aren’t dealing with ghosts or those who are no longer with us. We are dealing with a group of vampire-like creatures, as once described by a few of the characters in Doctor Sleep. The True Knot actually feed off the shining but only in children. Which is a terrifying thought, if you think about it. However, the True Knot in many ways was quite an entertaining bunch, if not terrifying in the way one could really see something like that being a thing in a degree.

The Rewards of Watching Characters Grow

I found watching Dan grow through his personal troubles with alcoholism and his career as Doctor Sleep enjoyable, and watching Abra develop and grow was enjoyable as well. Seeing her shining growing then possibly waning was a shock, because we saw that with Dan it lessened if he drank and wasn’t as strong as when he was a child—but he still had access to it and knew how to use it, but not to the degree that Abra did. Though we did get to see how powerful her shining was when she decided she had to use it.

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Abra had reached out to Dan a few times when she was a child but ended up stopping because she worried about her parents. That was something that made me smile when she had admitted it to Dan. It showed the girl really cared about her parents and also showed that she was like a normal child wanting to please them.

When her childhood nightmare of another child’s death popped up in a newspaper and she ended up being haunted by it, however, it became clear she knew she had to do something about it and that brought the devious True Knot into the story more.

It also brought our beloved Dan and Abra together. If anything it made the story more suspenseful, as we got to see Abra’s parents more, and I found them very relatable. After all, what parents want to see their child hanging out with a full-grown man? I especially enjoyed reading about how that went down, because it was extremely relatable.

The End Is Nigh

Although as reader you know it is for the best, there are a lot of situations that can cause you to really be uncomfortable with how a lot of them are handled in Doctor Sleep where Abra is concerned. I will not be going into them, as I feel it would spoil too much of the story and I probably have done so as is. However I can, without a doubt, inform you that Doctor Sleep is a wonderful sequel. I do feel that it could be read on its own though without one having to read The Shining.

It does reference some of the things in The Shining, especially in the beginning, and it can be easily forgotten later in the book, as you dive deeper into the story. But I feel you don’t really need to read The Shining to fully understand Doctor Sleep, as it does touch the basics where it is needed. However, having read The Shining, it did put into perspective some of the issues Dan was going through and discussed with other characters here and there. It does, however, stand relatively well on its own as well.

My Overall Impression: Hooked From Page One

I really enjoyed this book and feel it was a delightful read. If I was to rate it, I would rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I try my hardest not to ever rate any five stars as of late, just because of my own personal reasons if I feel things could always be better.

In Doctor Sleep, I feel we could have used a little more information at the end regarding one of the situations in the end fights that does reference Horace Derwent from The Shining, as I do wonder if it is something that will come back to haunt Dan later, as it had done in the beginning in the book.

But overall I do feel Doctor Sleep was an amazing read and definitely had me hooked from page one. If you haven’t read it but have been debating on, I recommend you pick it up and dive on it. You won’t be disappointed. And as always, happy reading.

© 2021 Chrissy


Chrissy (author) from Indiana on October 03, 2021:

Thank you Pamela for commenting and taking time to read my review. I definitely recommend this book. It was a fabulous read and enjoyable.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 02, 2021:

This sounds like an interesting book, Chrissy. I enjoyed reading your review. Thank you for sharing.

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