Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

October 14th, 2013 Kimberly Review 95 Comments

14th Oct
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King
Series: The Shining #2
Genres: Horror
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.” Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

I am a huge fan of Stephen King and can remember the first time I read The Shining. I was in junior high at the end of sixth grade and had been devouring King’s books. The Shining both terrified me and enthralled me, so when I learned we would be revisiting the little boy Dan Torrance as a middle age man I was all sorts of excited. Doctor Sleep held me captive from the first page, and while it did not scare me like the first, I found myself again impressed with King’s ability to weave an incredible tale. Three word review: captivating, suspenseful and worthy of a reread.

King weaves several threads together as we meet up with Dan Torrance as a child, and then fast forward to him as a struggling adult. We also meet a group known as the “True Knot.” They travel as a group across America in RV’s as they search of substance. We also dip into the life of Abra Stone, growing with her from an infant to snarky twelve year old. The True Knot feed on the “steam” of children or as Dick Halloran referred to it in The Shining the “shining.” The tale that unfolds was weaves these stories together keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.

I have said this before, but it is worth mentioning again; King is the master of flawed, quirky characters that draw the reader in. Dan is all grown up, struggling and still struggling with the shine. I still see the little boy in this complicated man and loved watching him transform throughout the novel. My feelings for him were like those of a parent; sometimes I wanted to hug him and other times send him to his room. Abra Stone is a brave little warrior whom I adored her. For all of Dan’s darkness, she is light. I loved watching them interact and felt their connection. Rose the leader of the True Knot was a perfect villain and King described her perfectly bringing her to life before my eyes. Even the secondary characters impressed me in this tale and added depth to the story.

Doctor Sleep was brilliant, and I am so glad King chose to listen to that inner voice that kept asking “what if.” I am not going to share any details as I fear spoilers. The world was fleshed out, and my understanding of the “shine” clearer. All of the different POV’s and their interaction to one another made this tale incredible and suspenseful. While I was not scared, after all I am no longer a twelve year old, reading this in bed with a flashlight, but I got the shivers once or twice. The tale unfolds at an incredible pace, with moments of tension, and then a slowing as we gained insight. All of the voices and threads came together to propel us towards the climatic ending. I loved King’s descriptive voice as he brought both the characters and the world to life. The tale unfolding like a movie in my head and I achieved that book high I crave, losing myself within its pages.

For fans of King and the Shining, Doctor Sleep is not to be missed. Before picking this up, clear your schedule as I can assure you, you will not be able to put it down. A thrilling page turner, King, has done it again.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

95 Responses to “Doctor Sleep by Stephen King”

  1. Gayle Pace

    I love Stephen King. I’ve also read his wife’s books and his soon too. I would say that I’d go with THE SHINING. I have read and watched that over and over and it’s just as creepy as the last time. King is good.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Me too, and I hope you get a chance to read this..good luck!

  2. Berls

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately and I think your review may have finally pushed me into reading a King novel. Yep – I’ve actually never read King. For one, I’m afraid – I watched the Shinning as a teenager and had nightmares for like a week. But I can’t deny its genius and have been wanting to read the book. So I think I will and if I survive, I’ll move on to this one. If I don’t – it’s your fault for writing such a great review LOL 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You should try 11/22/63 it is time travel and more fantasy then horror so is the Doctor Sleep.

  3. Beckie

    Okay, don’t shoot me but before last week I had never read anything by Stephen King. Yeah, I know. Sad. Now I have watched plenty of his movies and or course see his books around but just never thought I would enjoy his books. I ended up reading The Shining last week for the WWreadathon and ended up loving it. Doctor sleep sounds really good. I am glad you enjoyed it so.

    Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂 I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

    – Beckie

    • kimbacaffeinate

      No shooting here, and I am so glad you tried The Shining and enjoyed it! Hopefully you will get a chance to read Doctor Sleep as well 🙂

  4. Mandy Earles

    Love Stephen King. My favorite is the Gunslinger series. Can’t wait to read this one. THanks for the giveaway!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That was a good series Mandy, good luck and I hope you enjoy this one as well. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope this peaks your interest in his books again, good luck Mandy!

      • Tanya

        I thought about signing up for a SK reading challenge and start with the non-horror ones and work my way up through the scary ones. I really want to read 11/22/63. But if i win, i guess I will have to put my big girl panties on and read The Shining, because the movie completely freaked me out!!

        • kimbacaffeinate

          11/23/63 was really good, and not scary. The Shining scared me the first time I read it, but I was very young, I reread it last year and while creep-tastic it is more of a psychological thriller. Glad you are willing to get those big girl panties out and try!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Good luck to you Jodie, and I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

  5. Sharonda

    I love stephen king’s work. He really is the master of horror because like you said, he definitely knows how to weave a story and draw the reader in.

    great review Kim.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Sharonda, and yes I love his tales, and his flawed, realistic and disturbing characters. 🙂

  6. Denise Z

    I have watched movies and miniseries galore by Stephen King, but not read many of his books; primarily because the prices are usually too high for my budget. I did read Dolores Claiborne and really enjoyed it.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Check out used book stores you can often find a lot of his paperbacks there. Good luck and Dolores was one of my favorite characters.

  7. Autumn

    I really enjoyed this book, aside from one of the ‘reveals’ near the end (won’t spoil for anyone else :D)I don;t think anyone is better than King in creating realistic characters who behave and speak as real people, even when the situations are fantastic. DOCTOR SLEEP struck me as more of a spin off than an actual sequel, and I’d love to see a third with Abra as a villain–doesn’t she seem more Jack Torrance than Danny to you?

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I would like to read more about Abra as well, and can anyone really compare to Jack..LOL I also agree this was more of a companion book.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was quite good Diana, and I hope you lose yourself in it, like I did 🙂

  8. Adriana

    Your review gave me chills. I’m reading the Shining right now and I’m so excited to see how Danny has grown up. I like that the book seems different from it’s predecessor but has the same sort of feel.
    P.S. Sixth grade!? Really? You put me to shame (;

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I took it from my mom’s bookshelf and would read it with a flashlight in bed after lights out..LOL

  9. Alise

    Ohmygosh I had NO idea there was a sequel to The Shining! Where have I been!? That cover is gorgeous, and while I have not read or seen the original movie, I am definitely going to soon so I get in with all the King action 🙂

  10. Christy

    I’ve been so curious about Doctor Sleep. I haven’t read The Shining, only saw the movie. My favorite King book is probably Salem’s Lot. It’s been so long since I’ve read one of his books.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      if you saw the Shining, you could easily follow this, it really is a whole new novel. 🙂

  11. Lupdilup

    You know, even though the Shinning is probably one of all-time favorites horror books, I wasn’t in a hurry to listen to Dr. Sleep, but after reading your review and the Geeky blogger’s book blog, I will be moving it to the front of the line.
    Excellent work as always 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You so need to read it, it was wonderfully done, and I am still thinking about it two weeks later.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That is one of my favorites as well..I lost myself in it for days!

  12. Lanaia

    I haven’t read any of his books yet, but I’m planning to read Joyland this month 🙂 thanks for the giveaway!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Sweet, I hope you enjoy it, and so we can add you to the club!

  13. Felicia The Geeky Blogger

    WOOT WOOT! I love your review and totally agree. I thought the explanation of The Shining was fantastic. I am now going to read The Shining. I wonder since I did it backwards how that will affect my views on the first book.

  14. Jennifer Bielman

    AHHH, So effing excited for this one. My fav King books are The Shinning and It, so when I saw this one coming out I freaked. Happy to hear it was pretty awesome.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      “they all float down here” eep! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did Jennifer 🙂

  15. Michele

    I went through a huge Stephen King phase. I think my favorite was Silver Bullet — I love the movie, too! This book sounds perfect for this time of year. Awesome review! Thanks so much for sharing and for the giveaway! ~Michele with one l 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Michele, I have actually read all of his novels and short stories. I love how he sweeps me up into his crazy world.

  16. Candace

    I learned my lesson long ago to stay far away from Stephen King! I can handle some scary, but definitely not Stephen Kings kind of scary! It’s good this one wasn’t disappointing for you. I know how it is when you love an author for so many years, it seems like their style often changes and not always for the better.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      you could so read 11/22/63 not scary,at all..time travel 🙂

  17. Heidi

    I am desperately trying to find time to read this! I am a huge SK fan and I have practically read everything he has written. My fav three being IT, Bag of Bones and Wizards and Glass. I might just have to do this on audio!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you manage it soon, it was wonderful! I loved Wizard and Glass 🙂

  18. Sarah

    I’ve never read any King (other than his work on the initial arc of the American Vampires comic book), but I really need to start! He just has SO many books it’s hard to know which to pick up first.

  19. Lauren

    This sounds wonderful, it’s on my nightstand but I’m saving it for when work craziness subsides. I think I’m going to really feel for Dan and love Abra Stone too. You’re so right about King’s characters, they are so quirky and they just suck you right in. Glad you loved this one! Lovely review 🙂

  20. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I still haven’t read his fiction. I am thinking it might be about time. I know people who love him but they love to be scared. This one I may try… may… you are convincing me I may be able to handle it. Maybe… I still may need that flashlight after tho… wanna let me borrow? LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ya know Melissa when I was in middle school/high school and read his books they scared the crap out of me, but in my twenties and now forties ..nope, they are suspenseful, sometimes creepy but not sleep with the bathroom light on scary at all.

  21. Jenea

    I absolutely love The Shining, and this sounds awesome! Great review!

  22. Debbie Haupt

    Great review Kimba, I’m not a huge fan of King I do like a few like The Stand and 11-23-66 that was really good, as far as his true horrors not so much

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved the Stand and 11-22-63 of course I love all of his books..LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I saw that, and hope it sparks interest in King for this new generation.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes Pamela you so need to read them…some of my favorites 🙂

  23. Braine Talk Supe

    I think I’ll skip reading the books BUT I do want to see the movie. I haven’t yet! I love Jack Nicholson & I know his performance in that is memorable so I’ll go down that route instead and hope they turn this into a movie too.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The movie is a classic, but I prefer the book, even though Nicholson out did himself. I hope they make a movie for this one too.

  24. Ellen

    I can’t believe I have never read a Stephen King book. This sounds good and kind of creepy. Wonderful review.

  25. Susan

    I’ve read Duma Key, The Gunslinger-The Dark Tower #1, On Writing. I love when authors pull characters from their other books for new stories. Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. Jenni

    I bought Doctor Sleep, and have not yet read it.

    I heard someone say that while it was not quite like The Shining, horror wise, part of what made this book great was the nostalgia that it brings back.

    I read The Shining 5 years ago, for a class. I LOVED it, and can not wait to read it.

    In fact, the last book I finished was The Long Walk, also by King. 🙂 You should check out my Teaser Tuesday post from last week, if you haven’t read it alread!


    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh he wrote the Long Walk as Bachman and ooh I loved that and Lawn Mower Man and the others..fantastic tales. I have read almost everything he has ever published including his collaborations. Hope you enjoy this, and yes it brings back memories.

  27. Jenny

    Hmmm. Normally I would immediately disregard this book as I’m not a horror fan at all Kim, but I wrote a whole 20 some-odd page paper in high school on The Shining, so I think this is going to be a must read for me! I love that he decided to revisit Dan Torrance, I definitely have always wondered what became of him!

    Also, that cover is amazing. I love it:)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      After that paper heck yes, and this isn’t really scary but creepy and suspenseful.

  28. Rebe

    I read Joyland recently and loved it, so I think I’m going to have to go back and read The Shining. I never read it, because I’m a wimp, but both film versions were really intriguing.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I reread the Shining last year since I read it years and years ago, and it didn’t scare me as much as it did the first time but man can King write..eep!

  29. Nick

    I’ve only read a couple of books by Stephen King, but I remember him writing in such an intense way that basically doesn’t let you stop reading the book. He definitely knows how to write horror well.
    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this despite it not scaring you that much.
    Great review, Kim!

  30. Evie

    I totally agree! King is so good at creating complex, flawed characters that readers can relate to. And I just love his prose, the way he draws you in and makes you a total junkie 🙂 I need to read this book ASAP, I loved The Shining, and can’t wait to find out what happened to that little boy!
    Great review!! 🙂

  31. kindlemom1

    The Shinning was one of the few King books I didn’t read but that may have more to do with the fact that I saw the movie before and I refuse to read a book after seeing the movie.

    I am so glad this still help all the magic and scariness that the first did!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      My mom was a fan and I remember taking the novel up to bed at night and reading with a flashlight after lights out. I use to shove a blanket under the door so my Dad couldn’t see the light and I would read and read till I fell asleep. Then look around sheepishly when my Dad was wondering where the hell all the D batteries went he just bought..hehehe.

  32. Mary

    The Shining freaked me the hell out when I read it — I’m going to have to talk myself into being brave and reading this one, though, because I want to see little, freaky Danny Torrence all grown up!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This one didn’t even have me sleeping with the bathroom light on, but I loved it!

  33. Book Bunny

    I am currently reading Pet Sematary and enjoying it very much 🙂 I have read Under the Dome and adore it as well ^^

  34. Sharon - Obsession with Books

    I used to be a big fan of Stephen King’s novels but horror freaks me out now. I do enjoy his flawed, quirky characters as well but I’m not sure if I’ll read this one.

    A wonderful review 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I don’t think he is nearly as scary as he use to be or maybe I just grew up..LOL

  35. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Stephen King, but I sure miss the elegance of his writing and the dread it provokes. My favorite by far is Dolores Claiborne, he really outdid himself with that novel.
    I’m glad you were so happy with this one.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved that one too Maja, but my favorites are the Stand, It and his short stories.

  36. Jess

    Great review Kim! I’ve been debating picking this one up since I really enjoyed the first book and sequels can be hit or miss especially anticipated ones. You’ve swayed me to give it a try. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree Jess but this is a story all on its own. Hope you decide to read it 🙂

  37. Megan

    Wow, this one sounds awesome! I haven’t read The Shining, but the film scared the pants off me, partly because I watched it for the first time in a hotel (I had no idea what it was about other than being scary)!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh creepy Megan, this one isn’t as scary but it held me captive.