If you read enough of my blather, you’ll know I’m a die hard King fan. But the truth is, lately, I’ve been lukewarm on King. I didn’t love Cell (I liked it, I didn’t love it.) I liked Lisey’s Story but didn’t love it, either. The real disappointment, though, was Under the Dome.
I couldn’t finish it, people. A King book I can’t finish? Unheard of. But it was… I don’t know. Boring? Predictable, certainly. I felt as though I’d read the entire thing before, and I could predict the move of each character. By a third of the way through, I gave up caring about any of the characters. I can’t say exactly why, I wish I could pin it down to one thing or another, but the book just bored me. I was very disappointed.
I did love Full Dark, No Stars. King’s short stories are unbelievable. So many people skip them and they are missing out on some of the most amazing writing there is to be read. Amazing, captivating, intense. He tells a tale as skillfully (and as weirdly) as Bradbury, but in the singular King voice. Go. Read. I recommend Everything’s Eventual and Nightmares and Dreamscapes, but any of them will do. My excitement about this novel can wait until you’re finished.
Back? Mind blown? Great. Anyway, the point of all that preamble is that I was nervous approaching 11/22/63. I didn’t preorder it or run out as soon as it was published. I waited to see what other people said. I wasn’t sure I would read it at all. I’m glad I changed my mind.
11/22/63 was fantastic. Character driven spec fic with that tinge of WTF that King has perfected. I’m struggling to write a review without spoilers, but he gives you a take on the early sixties that is rich and full. Diving into the book feels like being there with Jake Epping as he embarks on a mad quest to stop the assassination of JFK. The past, though, doesn’t want to be changed.
King’s skills lie in writing characters you give a fuck about. Even the smallest of side characters, you root for. Or against, depending. This book is no different, with a main character so achingly “every man” that you can easily put yourself in his shoes. His struggles are yours, his questions are yours. You’re there, in his shoes, driving his Sunliner. I jumped into this book and in 14 pages I knew I was going to like it a lot. I did.
Bottom line is, go read this book. And stop bothering me, I’m reading.