Revival

Revival by Stephen King

Revival by Stephen King

Once upon a time, I would have said we choose our paths at random: this happened, then that, hence the other. Now I know better.

There are forces.

After a less than stellar shot at crime fiction, King makes a triumphant return to his bread and butter: old school, balls-to-the-wall horror.  In his new novel Revival, we follow Jamie, a burned-out rhythm guitarist, destined to be forever tied to Charlie Jacobs, a man he met when he was younger.  Jacobs was a youth minister stationed in a small Maine town when he made an indelible impression upon Jamie and his family.  Leaving town and burning bridges along the way, Jacob’s philosophy on life changes and as years go by, he becomes a very different man from what Jamie so fondly remembers.

I was worried that Revival would suffer from the dreaded hype machine that seems to follow all of King’s work these days and after Mr. Mercedes left me feeling underwhelmed, I certainly had my reservations going in.  Luckily, while it didn’t knock my socks off, I was left with an overall feeling of satisfaction along with an ending that had me gripping my Kindle a little harder than I would’ve liked.

With Revival, King presents a pretty wide cast of characters and does his best to fully flesh them out.  I liked the style in which he presented the story, having Jamie seemingly write a memoir, trying to get everything out of his system in an effort to cleanse his soul from the madness.  Jacobs is truly a character that I can see King having a blast writing.  Jacobs goes through so many changes that in the end, he is hardly recognizable from when we met him in the first dozen or so pages.

I should note that Revival is the first “blockbuster” novel I have purchased for my Kindle on its release day.  As you move through the text, it shows you specific lines or passages that other readers have highlighted – moments that stuck out to them while going through the story.  While it’s something you can no doubt turn off, it was interesting to see what grabbed a lot of King’s fans.  It felt like I was reading along with hundreds of others.

While I can give Revival a firm recommendation, I wouldn’t suggest it for anyone looking for nightmare material.  The ending is chilling – there’s no doubt about that – but if you’re looking for something to scare you stupid, check out Nick Cutter’s “The Troop”, a book that will make you want to sleep with the lights on.

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