Some minor spoilers are contained within this review.
A solid sequel to The Shining. The character of Dan, although an important part of the story, was again not the main protagonist. Instead the young girl Abra is the main focus of the plot. The cult of the True Knot are introduced as this novel’s foe; they apparently feed on a person’s “shining” and torture their intended prey in order to prolong their death (in order to get a bigger meal). By feeding in this way, they are immortal. (SPOILER WARNING!) Except that they’re not. In fact, the cult are already dying of a mysterious form of the measles, and as such I felt as though they didn’t come across as particularly menacing. (END SPOILER!) There is one murder that leads Abra and Dan into an investigation of the True Knot, and therefore bring Abra’s shining to their attention as their next meal.
I very much enjoyed the character development of Dan as we learn how he battles with alcoholism and becomes a better person thanks to AA, and through the help of his friends. More so, the latter. I’m not sure, based on their description here, exactly how helpful AA meetings in fact are.. perhaps that’s just me being cynical (which I am!). More importantly, how Dan has put his shining to good use by helping folks in a hospice to pass over peacefully; with the aid of a slightly psychic pet cat – which does seem to actually happen in real life.
Stephen King, as usual, writes evocatively and eloquently and Doctor Sleep is a solid book. Personally, I enjoyed the characters themselves and reading about their lives more than the supernatural battle with the True Knot. Maybe in a future instalment, Abra will be able to “shine” on her own.
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