As a college-aged chick who hasn’t started school and quit her job at the call center she was working at, I don’t have much money to play around with. Which is why I was grateful when a dear friend bought me no book other than the new Stephen King novel I had been salivating over, Doctor Sleep. It’s the sequel to The Shining, focusing on Danny Torrance as an adult. And it is wonderful. The fabulous Mr. King has done it again. It took a lot of willpower just to put it down for a few hours.
The book opens not long after the incidents at the Overlook, and we find Danny is still being haunted by some of its citizens. Dick Hallorann to the rescue, telling Danny one day he would be teaching someone, himself.
Grown-up Dan Torrance is not a pretty picture. A drunk who’s run his life into the ground, can’t hold a job for long, and is constantly drifting from town to town. Why drink? It shuts up the shining. But eventually it got to the point where I could stop whining in sympathetic misery, because he got to a town where he was employed by a former alcoholic himself, who became his sponsor, and got him into AA.
The villains, the True Knot, are basically Shining Vampires (not sparkly ones, because this is Stephen King we’re talking about, and we would never muck his image with such filth). They trek around the country, finding children who shine, and torturing them to death so they can suck up their essence (they call it steam)–their vitae (Amnesia: The Dark Descent called it that). It makes them younger, so they can live forever.
Abra Stone, the girl destined to be Dan’s student, is the shiningest shining kid who ever shone. She telepathically contacted him when she was a baby, at which age she also knew about 9/11 before it happened. So, of course, the True Knot wants her. And she and Dan have to stop them (play dramatic chords).
Not very many writers I’ve seen can go back to a standalone novel after a few years and churn out a sequel without ruining everything. But King did it well. As a fan of the first book, which I read in middle school, I don’t think it disappoints, keeping up all the delightful chills. It hurt to see Danny (or Dan, now that he’s All Grown Up) had become an alcoholic, but it was good to see him not following in Jack’s footsteps.
Also, there are plenty of references to the original. Those little things tend to make me happy. Little quotes repeated in that way King has that puts me in absolute awe of his style.
Basically, if you’re a fan of The Shining (here meaning the book), Doctor Sleep is a fantastic must-read.