Tag: Bag of Bones

Stephen King – Insomnia | Review

TitleInsomnia
Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 760

Rating: 3.25/5

 

 

I have pretty mixed feelings about this book, because there were elements and themes to it which I liked but it was also pretty boring in places. There were also some unusual formatting elements being used to convey psychic conversations that made it a little harder/more involved to read it, as well as tiny print and super thin pages that sometimes made the actual book difficult to hold.

This is definitely not one that you should read if you’re new to King, and there’s a very specific reason for that. It has some heavy tie-ins with the Dark Tower series, including a cameo from Roland and references to ka-tets and a whole section named after the Crimson King. The stakes are high, too. If the life of a certain child isn’t saved, the Tower will fall down.

If all of that means something to you, you’re probably ready to read this book. If not, maybe leave it for a while, especially because it was the lore and the tie-ins with the multiverse which made this worth reading, at least in my opinion. Other than that, it was pretty dull, although it wasn’t as tedious of a read as Bag of Bones. It was also confusing at times, but there were at least these little periods here and there where it sort of managed to reabsorb me again.

 

 

I was also kind of disappointed with the fact that insomnia itself didn’t really play a major part in the story line. It was more as though it was the inciting incident and then the rest of the story just went off on a tangent with almost Donnie Darko vibes when it comes to how the protagonists could see auras and influence people and the events that were happening. That was all fine, but as an actual insomniac, I was kind of hoping to see more from that.

It also felt as though the pacing was off, with a little too much worldbuilding for my taste. The only saving grace there was that it was set in Derry, Maine, one of King’s most iconic settings, and so it was good to get a little extra background information. It stopped me caring too much about whether the plot was going anywhere because I was just happy to be there.

Then, when the plot did go places, it quite often took off like a rocket, hooking me in for fifty pages or so before it went back to not much happening. Then it was followed up by what felt like a rushed epilogue with a pretty cliché ending, but then I suppose King isn’t really known for having the best endings anyway. I think if anything, it just ran out of steam, and when you consider that it was written across a three year period, perhaps that’s understandable.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

There’s just something missing here, that magic spark that King’s work sometimes has. I think different people experience his different books in different ways, and there’s a risk that sometimes with his longer work, if the book doesn’t connect with you, it ends up feeling like a chore. This one wasn’t quite a chore, but it also wasn’t far off it, and if it had been another hundred pages or so I think I would have given up and switched it out as a bedtime book.

My experience then was mostly positive, but I don’t think I’d be in any hurry to pick it up again for a re-read unless there was some big reason for it. I think one time was enough, and it pretty much ranks towards the lower middle of the list of King books that I’ve read so far, which is most of them. It’s just okay, nothing more nor less than that, and while I’m definitely glad that I read it, I’m also glad that it’s over and I don’t need to pick it up again. So yeah.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy Insomnia.

 


Stephen King – Bag of Bones | Review

Title: Bag of Bones

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 660

Rating 2/5

 

 

Well, I finally found a Stephen King book that I didn’t enjoy. Goodness me, it was just incredibly dull and difficult to engage with. I didn’t care about the characters, the antagonist wasn’t even a villain, and while there were supernatural elements, they were super minor for 550 pages and then suddenly went nuts at the end. It just didn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what King set out to do here. I guess this was written during his “literary horrorperiod, after he got sober and before he found his feet again. Some people (Todd the Librarian, for example) say that after King sobered up, he was never the same. I disagree because he has some great recent novels like 11/22/63, but I do think that his hit to miss ratio took a big hit when he cleaned up.

But I don’t have a problem with that, and I’ve already decided that I’m going to work my way through everything that King has ever written. I’d also rather that he lived longer instead of burning himself out, because occasional bad books are offset by the fact that he’s also written plenty of other good ones.

This one felt a lot like filler, and I think he could have told the story a lot better if he’d dropped it to half the length. There were also a few good ideas in there, and it’s not exactly badly written, it was just super boring. I rated it a 2/5 based on my enjoyment of it, but objectively I guess I’d say it’s around a 3/5. I also know a few different people who love this book, and so I guess as always it’s a case of different strokes for different folks.

 

 

It also doesn’t help that I’ve read enough King books by now that I’m bored of reading about characters who are writers. He’s done it to death, and I wasn’t a particular fan of it even to begin with. They say you should write what you know, but I don’t think it’s meant to be taken that literally. Plus it’s not like he knows about all of the creepy stuff that he writes about, and if he can come up with that then surely he can come up with someone who isn’t a writer.

I also wasn’t a fan of the back story here. It’s one of those where we keep having little flashbacks to the past until eventually the past and the present come together. I’ll agree that when it works well, it really works, but I also think that it’s pretty rare for authors to nail it, and I don’t think King did it here. It got to the point where things were being revealed towards the end and I just didn’t care because it had taken far too long to get to that point and I wasn’t that interested to begin with.

Overall then, I’m not about to recommend this unless you’re a completionist and you want to read all of Stephen King’s stuff, and even then I think you should go in with low expectations. I only got a couple of hundred pages in before I realised that I didn’t want to keep it as my main book. Instead, I switched it out as the book that I read before bed, and it’s true that it helped me to fall asleep. Apart from the times when it made me rage so much that I had to wake my girlfriend up to rant about it.

I think the main problem is just my own expectations of Stephen King’s stuff. I’m a fan of his and love reading his stuff, but then I get to a book like this and it’s just a disappointment. Avoid it unless you’re determined to read it.  

 

 

Click here to buy Bag of Bones.