Bit of a controversial one this week. The Shining is one of Stephen King’s most well known novels and is widely spoken of as amazingly written and a masterpiece. First published in 1977 it was his 3rd published book and 1st Hardback Bestseller. This book is what bagged King a firm spot as a horror writer. It is said that this book is influenced by some of his own experiences with some of the themes and a famous hotel, The Stanley Hotel. This book was made into a very successful film and as was its sequel. Some of the themes that this book touches on are physical abuse and alcoholism and addiction as well as many others.
I was given this book for Christmas from my dad, and we all know I love a Stephen King novel however, despite this being possibly his most famous, I had not read this one before. Most people will know the gist of this book but as I usually do I will add the synopsis below…
Danny is only five years old but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a ‘shiner, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny’s visions grow out of control.
As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel – and that too is beginning to shine…
I can’t lie. I had mixed feelings about this book. Which I know that to many people, would be surprising but don’t judge me yet. On the positives, I absolutely loved the plot. It was gripping and shocking and so creepy. There were parts where I was so taken aback and so caught up that I was reading with a look of shock or confusion on my face. I loved the ending and how Danny at the end was able to feel sadness and loss but not hate. I loved Mr Hallorann and how kind and caring he was as a character. On a whole this book was great.
But, there’s a but. It was a tiny niggle in the grand scheme of things but there were a few sexual references in the book, that the way they were written made me cringe a little. They weren’t worded very realistically and it made the characters or scenarios, for me, less somehow. I couldn’t imagine people describing things in that way. And because they cropped up a fair few times, I think that just sullied the book a little for me. Because I’d be so engaged and one of these references would pop up and I’d cringe but not for the reason a horror book should make you cringe.
But all in all, I enjoyed the book. I do wish we learn more about the true identity of the evil forces origin but I cannot fault the plot or the characters. I think the cover of the book is also affective with its monochrome colour scheme. A picture of Danny walking towards a door that is slightly ajar. The title in bold red lettering, it all works. I think in all I’d probably rate this book 4/5, only marking it down from 5 for the cringe bits but all in all a great book. I would recommend.
Star Rating /5