Title: Desperation

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 552

Rating: 4.5/5

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this going into it because it’s one of those King books that I haven’t really heard anyone talk about. I still can’t figure out why that is.

This has got King’s small town feels just right, centring around the little Nevada town of Desperation, where the local cop has gone a little bit mental. There are reasons for why that is – supernatural reasons, of course – but I don’t want to tell you what they are because they would constitute major spoilers.

What I will say is that I thought that the villain here was fantastic, at least in its first incarnation. I guess if I was nitpicking I’d say that over time, the bad guy became a little less bad and I was less afraid at the end than I was at the start, but it wasn’t a major problem. And besides, the story itself is still good enough to keep you reading just because you want to find out what happens in the end.

And then there are the characters, who are excellent. In particular, there’s a young kid called David who’s found the Lord, and indeed he has a super important role to play in the narrative. As King often does, he goes into the back stories for each of his protagonists, and David’s back story in particular stands out to me and will be something that I remember for a while.

But this isn’t a book about religion, except in the sense that it’s a battle between good and evil. King does that a lot and he does it well, and I can kind of see why there was a comparison to The Stand on the book’s blurb, although The Stand is definitely far broader in scope. Still, there are definitely similarities between the two.

For me, though, what I liked the most was the way that this had the feel of an old slasher movie, and I’m glad that I picked it up when I was spending time travelling because it meant that I could focus on it and whizz my way through it over a couple of days. I think it definitely helps if you’re able to build up some momentum because if you put it down or give up on it then stuff will stop making sense, because it’s a pretty complex world.

There was one other thing that I particularly liked, too. King does it a lot, and that’s the way that he writes songs that I know into his stories in a way that makes it feel like a little Easter egg when I know who he’s talking about. At the same time, if I don’t know who he’s talking about, I never feel as though he’s talking down to me or I’m being ridiculed in some way.

All in all then, I’d definitely recommend this one, and it’s actually not too bad even if you’re new to King, although I imagine you’ll want to go with one of his more well-known books instead. If you’re a completionist like me, this is one that you’re going to want to look forward to. There’s a lot to like in here, for sure.

Learn more about Desperation.