Tag: Spark

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.

 


Agatha Christie – Dumb Witness | Review

Title: Dumb Witness

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 416

Rating 3.75/5

 

 

This was a pretty fun little Agatha Christie mystery, although I will also admit that my attention started to wander in a few places and so by the time that I got to the end, I’d lost all of the different threads and couldn’t really make a guess at what had happened. But with Christie, that’s almost not the point for me anyway – the journey is just as much fun as discovering the destination.

In this one, an old lady has a fall down some stairs, changes her will as she’s recovering and then dies soon afterwards. Of course, Hercule Poirot happens to be on hand and ends up poking his beaky little nose into things, and even though the doctor swears blindly that she died of liver disease, Poirot thinks otherwise. Of course, there’s always a chance that the doctor’s involved, too…

This book has everything that I’ve grown to know and love about Agatha Christie, and I really don’t think I can fault it other than the fact that it’s missing that vital little spark that turns an Agatha Christie novel into an Agatha Christie classic. It’s not too far off the mark though, and I also think it’s pretty accessible and not a bad place to start if you’re new to Hercule Poirot.

 

 

Of course, I’m not such a fan of Hercule Poirot as opposed to Miss Marple, and I’ve always found him a little annoying to read about. Here, though, he was bearable, and even though this copy of the book was over 400 pages long, it only took me a couple of days to whizz through it. It probably helped that I had a beautiful Harper Collins edition of it too.

There’s not too much more that I can say about this one, because it’s pretty bog standard for Christie and just what I’ve come to expect from her in the first place. It’s the kind of book where if you see it in a charity shop and you can pick it up cheap, I say go for it. It’s not a bad little introduction to Christie and her style, and it would work just as well as a standalone as any of her other novels.

All in all then, a pretty successful read and just what the doctor ordered. I like to read Christie books as palette cleansers. Hurray!

 

British writer of crime and detective fiction, Dame Agatha Christie (1891 – 1976). (Photo by Walter Bird/Getty Images)

 

Click here to buy Dumb Witness.

 


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