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Just started End of Watch, having read the previous two books. I really enjoyed the first, but wasn't that keen on the second.  

 

I should have seen it coming, given it's King, but slightly disappointed that the third book isn't a straight up psychological crime tale like the first book, bringing in the psychic ability. Not sure if there is more to it, but hoping it ends well. 

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5 hours ago, Alan Stock said:

Any more feedback on Sleeping Beauties? Reviews of the book and audiobook are very variable, not helped by sexism controversy which make an average impression really hard. I also saw complaints levelled at the vast number of cast members, even more than Under the Dome. Is it worth me picking up the audiobook? FYI I loved Under the Dome, but felt that the Shining Sequel (forgot the name) was pretty average. 

Not sure where the sexism comes into it, the female characters generally come out of it more favourably than the males. But I’m reading from a male perspective so I may be off the mark with this one. Be interested to hear from a female perspective.

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55 minutes ago, Fierce Poodle said:

Not sure where the sexism comes into it, the female characters generally come out of it more favourably than the males. But I’m reading from a male perspective so I may be off the mark with this one. Be interested to hear from a female perspective.

Yeah from what I gathered that's where the controversy lies, unusually it's the opposite to the norm, where men are getting the short end of the stick. I don't care either way, I'm more interested in whether it's a good story or not, the sexism "issue" has made opinions of it quite polarised so it's hard to get objective opinions about the book. 

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10 minutes ago, Alan Stock said:

Yeah from what I gathered that's where the controversy lies, unusually it's the opposite to the norm, where men are getting the short end of the stick. I don't care either way, I'm more interested in whether it's a good story or not, the sexism "issue" has made opinions of it quite polarised so it's hard to get objective opinions about the book. 

 

Wait, so people are complaining that it portrays women in a more favourable light than men? Am I getting that right? I am not reading reviews or anything for fear of spoilers.

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On 10/24/2017 at 20:44, Illyria said:

 

Wait, so people are complaining that it portrays women in a more favourable light than men? Am I getting that right? I am not reading reviews or anything for fear of spoilers.

 

Spoiler

It does get pretty heavily into the "is all the bad in the world the fault of the male sex?" question later on. Personally, I think it's a great question and it explores it in an interesting way. At no point have I thought "men just wouldn't behave like that!". It all feels pretty on point.

 

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  • 4 months later...
On 23/08/2017 at 15:04, PeteBrant said:

Im finding it really difficult to get into The Stand, and I am a huge SK fan. But for some reason, every time I try I just doesn't grab me in the way many other King books do.

 

Did you ever finish it? I quit on the book at about 30% through but I've just finished listening to the Audiobook version (all 48 hours of it!) and I've enjoyed it. It has its problems, but there's some parts of the book that are a really good read/listen. 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I picked up his new one, The Outsider, last week and I'm about 60% of the way through. A young boy is brutally murdered and all the evidence points at a teacher from his town as the killer. The problem is he has a rock solid alibi so there's no way he could be the killer. 

 

I'm really liking this so far. The characters are well written, the mystery is solid and he's just started to turn up the creepiness. Feels more like the Stephen King of Revival than of the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. 

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27 minutes ago, Silent Runner said:

I picked up his new one, The Outsider, last week and I'm about 60% of the way through. A young boy is brutally murdered and all the evidence points at a teacher from his town as the killer. The problem is he has a rock solid alibi so there's no way he could be the killer. 

 

I'm really liking this so far. The characters are well written, the mystery is solid and he's just started to turn up the creepiness. Feels more like the Stephen King of Revival than of the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. 

 

check out his interview on the late show wuth Stephen Colbert, earlier this week

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 27/05/2018 at 19:29, Silent Runner said:

I picked up his new one, The Outsider, last week and I'm about 60% of the way through.

 

I had a lot of fun with The Outsider

 

Liked it more than Mr. Mercedes, which I thought was really interesting but SK still finding his feet in the police procedural (and, consequently, was a bit messy). This is much more assured, well-paced and didn’t rely on the impact of the first murder to carry it along. 

 

A few spoiler thoughts:

Spoiler

 

The basic premise is essentially the same as The Dark Half, with just a couple of tweaks. Ralph is almost a carbon copy of Alan Pangborn :)

 

It shucks that feeling off as it goes along, though, and the middle part of the book is the strongest. I liked Holly reappearing, and from the bit where the other detective guy (alcoholic bloke) investigates the barn right through the Texas escapade, it really hums along.

 

The ending was satisfying too… a little IT-esque, with the characters gathering and affirming their belief, then going into the lair and the evil professing it’s just part of the natural order. As well as it feeding on kids’ fears (!) not to the overall detriment of the story, though.

 

I only caught one direct Dark Tower reference: a fleeting mention of Ka. That (and the underground setting) gave me flashbacks of Desperation, and I was half expecting El Cuco to whip out a Can-Tah :)

 

 

 

I think that post-Dark Tower completion period tells an interesting story itself: he published The Colorado Kid / Cell / Lisey’s Story / Duma Key / Under the Dome * which I thought were all – at best – mediocre bar the one detective story. I’m not sure how well-read The Colorado Kid is, but people really should read that. Anyway, I think the relative failure of those stories – and the bookended successes of TCK and Joyland – proved to himself the detective novel route was the way to go.

 

King’s been dabbling with pulp crime since right back at the beginning of his career and it’s impressive he’s pulled the transition off at this late stage.

 

* ...and Blaze, but that was a ‘trunk’ novel from decades before

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Outsider spoilers:

 

Spoiler

 

I never made that Dark Half comparison, I've not read it in years. Good spot.

 

I agree that King is developing as a procedural writer. This story was nicely plotted and even though some of the leaps of logic Holly made were a bit silly it flowed in a way Mr Mercedes didn't. I thought the alcoholic cop was one of the better characters, he brought a bit of King nastiness to it and I loved the shootout sequence. And the wrap-up with Ralph and Holly in the cave complex was beautifully done in a gross and slimy way.

 

I thought this was one of his better efforts in recent years. But I'll be happy if Holly doesn't show up in future books. 

 

  

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  • 1 year later...

I'm almost finished his new one, The Institute, and it's really good. The setup didn't really interest me at first but the execution, the pacing and the characters are so well written it's a delight to read. 


I think I've about 100 pages to go, I'm in that classic King moment where I want to fly through the pages to find out what happens but I want to drag it out as much as possible too.


The best thing he's done since Revival and one of the best things he has written in a lot of years. 

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12 hours ago, Silent Runner said:

I'm almost finished his new one, The Institute, and it's really good. The setup didn't really interest me at first but the execution, the pacing and the characters are so well written it's a delight to read. 


I think I've about 100 pages to go, I'm in that classic King moment where I want to fly through the pages to find out what happens but I want to drag it out as much as possible too.


The best thing he's done since Revival and one of the best things he has written in a lot of years. 

 

Finished this up tonight and thought it was fantastic right up to the end which was a little weak - it felt like he lost his nerve in the last few pages. But otherwise it was a great read. 

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  • 1 month later...

The Drawing of the Three is excellent, it really expands on the ideas of The Gunslinger and is filled with strange and unique ideas. I am only on the third book (The Waste Lands) but the series is only getting better in my view. I think it's clear that a lot of his ideas had time to percolate and his his themes develop between the publication of the first book and him continuing the series.

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@Plums

 

My biased view is that they are all magnificent.

 

My unbiased view - if that's even possible - is that the first book is an unusual one for King. It's curious on first read, but more likable in retrospect, once you've read the others.

 

If you like his novels, I think you'd find it hard not to love books 2 thru 4 (Drawing of the Three | Wastelands | Wizard and Glass). King's novels are always at least "one genre + horror" but those four are his widest reach in terms of mashing things together into a tasty and satisfying genre-stew. Every sci-fi principle, fantasy trope, wild west-aping, post-apocalyptic, Arthurian, Lovecraftian horror inflection is exploited to its fullest, with even less restraint than he usually has (!) The fact he blends them all so well is a testament to his ability stick the needle firmly past the red line, whilst also weaving his other stories into one big universe.

 

The final three (Wolves of the Callah | Song of Susannah | Dark Tower) are recommended to fans, but some people are less keen. The stuff constant readers love (intense focus on characters, some of whom may have little bearing on the narrative; lots of evocative description whilst the main plot is spinning its wheels; minutiae about how the world works and a general expansiveness that could- probably should - be whittled down in editing) is in full-force. It's still a fantastic story being told, but you will only feel the full benefit if you like his novels generally - a good barometer is: do you love and re-read The Stand? Do you appreciate and obsess over the tiniest details in IT? If so, you'll fly through 'em.

 

As for the final book in the series...I don't agree King's endings are poor. Yes, they often run to natural conclusions, which means a lot of characters you care about die! I think some readers find this irritating & off-putting. Book seven simultaneously manages to be peak-King and also subvert those criticisms to an extent - impossible to explain without spoilers. I think, though, that the series' ending is fantastic and had me chuckling with glee. That's not a common reaction, though! It is a very divisive book in general, but I would argue the end of huge fantasy epics are rarely what the fans want, nor what they feel they should get. If you make is as far as #7 I would temper your expectations.

 

So I guess my tl;dr is: for King mega-fans, the series is as essential as converting air into carbon dioxide. For people who haven't pored over every book but quite like his style, books 2, 3 and 4 are fast-paced and will appeal to just about anyone into genre fiction, but that audience might be turned-off by the latter third of the trilogy, once King series settles into his more usual style. So, keep going for now, Plums, but don't waste your time on them if you aren't intrigued enough to get you through the dense thicket of lore and character that springs up in the final three novels :) 

 

EDIT: I'd say another barometer of taste is, have you read the His Dark Materials novels? How did you feel about them? DT is sort-of comparable, as it's often hard on its protagonists, is often emotionally tough to get through and (narratively-speaking) can never end up being anything other than bittersweet, at best.

 

 

 

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I think my favourite parts of the first book were the flashbacks to Roland's training, quite brutal and very compelling.

 

I read some Stephen king as a child but can't remember any of it really. I remember enjoying His Dark Materials too but again my memory of it is hazy. Oddly enough I heard a podcast with Phillip Pullman recently and had a strong urge to reread it. I got rid of the books ages ago, sadly.

 

Anyway I think I'll probably get the second book and see how it goes. Having no good second hand bookshops near me is really reducing the amount I am reading. 

 

I noticed that right at the beginning there's an incongruous mention of Roland feeling dizzy or somesuch. This immediately had me thinking that there is going to be some circular narrative/time travel/quantum leap stuff happening. End loops back to the beginning type thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been reading The Institute. It's a fair-to-middling late-period King page-turner - a good read but I don't think anything he's done in the last few years has matched the power of his earlier works. The central story, about a bunch of psychic kids trapped in some kind of experimental facility, is decent, and King still writes about kids better than almost any other author, but it suffers a bit from a surfeit of interchangeable goons and it's all a bit predictable. I'm glad he's still writing, he's as prolific as ever and I've not read a King book I haven't enjoyed in some way, but I do miss his wilder flights of fancy a bit.

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  • 2 months later...

How strange, I'm re-reading The Stand as well. I'm just up to the first Mother Aibgail chapter so things are starting to get interesting. I've not read it in 15 years but there are so many sections that I can remember so clearly; The Lincoln Tunnel bit, one of Lloyd and Polks murders, Frannie digging a grave - they were just hanging out in my brain until I started reading then they came back in total clarity. 

 

Love this book so much. 

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