I’ve read a lot of King. I read a lot of King, and this is among his best. I know some people feel that after his accident he lost his touch for the creeping horror that made him famous, but I assure you that is not the case. This book proves that King not only still has it, he’s still improving.
I listened to this on audio, and I’m sure that lent something to the suspense, but I’m very glad that I did. (I downloaded from Audible, and each part was preceded by music that is creepy on its own. I’m not sure if the audio CD’s are the same way.) Listening to this made me pace myself, and made sure that the build-up was properly built up. I have a tendency to speed-read when I get excited, when I know I hold something great in my hands and want to experience it as quickly as possible. I couldn’t do this with the audio, and so the anticipation piled up until I had to finish, regardless of the fact that it’s now 4:19a and I had to work the next day.
John Slattery’s reading was just about perfect. He had this great tone, a feeling for the story, and a subtle way of lending personality to the characters that makes them come alive. King obviously gives him a lot to work with and build on, but I don’t know if another reader would have done the book justice the way Slattery did. I could tell exactly who was speaking at all times, even before he got around to telling me who it was, yet he didn’t make the characters HIS characters, if that makes sense. He just gave them life. His reading of Perse (this is how I’m assuming it’s spelled, as I haven’t seen it in print) gave me goosebumps, and I think will haunt me for a long time.
This book contained more than a few of the things that creep me out the most. But I couldn’t stop listening. I loved the aspects of Elizabeth’s childhood history. That part of the story fascinated me. I also felt that the book brought back pieces of other books that King has written, making it a part of the larger universe that links his stories together.
-Perse’s red robe, and the mentions of red throughout the story brought the Crimson King to mind. Could she be the Crimson King’s consort, maybe?
-Perse speaking to Ilsa from the drains and toilet obviously brings IT to mind.
-Edgar’s ability to create (and uncreate) through his art. King does this with every story he writes, but I kept thinking specifically of Peter Rickman from Kingdom Hospital and Patrick Danville from The Dark Tower series and Insomnia.
-Edgar’s accident and injuries acting almost as a muse/catalyst for his artistic ability, as Peter Rickman’s did, as King’s own did, if you consider the shift his stories took after his accident. How the ability seemed to flow through him, but was not invented BY him. (Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but these are the things I was thinking of…)
-Wireman not only mentioning that he’s a gunslinger, but actually being a gunslinger, if only temporarily. I have no doubt that had he made his way into that section of the SK Universe, he’d have found 5 missing members of his Ka-tet.
Anyway, I found much to love in this book, and I have a feeling it will become a favorite. I would highly recommend it.