When you sit down to a Stephen King novel, pretty much the only thing that makes the insane length worth it is the horrifying payoff. I learned that lesson a long time ago with titles like Pet Sematary, Dreamcatcher, and of course, The Shining. I'd put off reading Doctor Sleep for a while in favor of reading new authors, but once I saw that Ewan McGregor, one of my favorite actors, was going to be playing grown-up Danny, I knew I had to get up to speed.
I will still be going to see the movie, but it's not going to be because I loved the sequel. I didn't. There were some things that were interesting, if not necessarily compelling. For example, delving into the life of a recovering alcoholic and exploring the cultural invisibility of "RV people." However, the concept of psychic vampires has always felt kind of lame to me. And that held true for this story. I'm not saying they didn't do terrible things, but that wasn't really enough to make the very large chunk of the book taken up by them compelling.
Danny Torrance as a character was compelling. He was why I came to the book after all, which is probably true for most readers. But there were so many other, less interesting things going on, that dealing with his haunted past is not something that takes center stage here. Which was a crying shame. Because that stuff was just as good as I expected it to be.
Likewise, I didn't like the main plot where Danny becomes acquainted with and must help save a young girl who has an incredibly strong shining. It was interesting, but only in an "ok" sense. It's not as if she had the same terrible dreams as Danny did at her age because, well, there's no Overlook Hotel.
When the specter of the first novel does rear its head, it's all bark and no bite. Again, the stuff that you came to this book for is buried in other concepts, that honestly could have been in a book that didn't have Dan Torrance in it. So it begs the question.
I might be in the minority with this review here, and that's fine. King is allowed to do whatever he damn well pleases. He's earned that honor. And if he wants to do psychic vampires, fine. It just didn't hit that nostalgic sweet spot for me.
K. Rating: 2.5/5