Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

897708Edition: Paperback, 497 pages
Published by: Hodder, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Adult, Classics, Horror, Fantasy, Fiction, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

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I’ve finally gotten around to reading my second Stephen King novel! And it had to be the Shining because its probably King’s most famous and best work. I prepared myself for a creepy and scary read.

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The Shining follows Jack Torrance who gets a new job as the caretaker of the Overlook hotel in Colorado Rockies and brings along his wife Wendy and five year old son Danny, who has the ‘shine,’ meaning he knows what people are thinking and can experience visions of what is going to happen. When a snowstorm hits the hotel, things start to go horribly wrong, as the hotel develops a mind of its own and Danny’s visions spiral out of control.

I’m going to talk a bit about the characters. Jack is an aspiring writer and a recovering alcoholic (sober for fourteen months), but has a troubled past with his anger management problems. In the past, losing his tempter has caused him to break Danny’s arm and lose his job as a teacher. He tries very hard to not relapse on his drinking habits. He loves his wife and son and feels that this new position will enable him to turn over a new leaf.

Danny was the most interesting character in this book. He’s very smart for a five year old. Danny has an imaginative friend called Tony who shows him pleasant visions but then the visions soon becomes terrifying on what will happen if he goes to the Overlook. REDRUM is a constant term that Danny sees and fears. It is clear that Danny loves his father more than his mother, which makes Wendy somewhat jealous. He does not tell his parents about his visions because he feels that his father’s job is important.

I’ve heard so much about the scary bathtub scene and was anticipating it throughout this book! The chef, Mr Hallorann had warned Danny about room 217 and to never go into that room but curiosity got the better of Danny and he could not help but get a peek of the room. First mistake. That was a creepy scene. I wasn’t scared reading it but I was very scared for Danny because you have to remember he’s just a five-year-old boy. I can only imagine how terrified he really was.

This book is a really long book, as it’s almost at 500 pages; I think could have been cut back 100 pages or so. Some of it was necessary such as the characters backstory and the story, but some of it, I felt like it wasn’t necessary. It did take a long time for the story to actually kick in but when it did, it was worth it. Is Mr Hallorann going to make it in time?! That last quarter, just had me at the edge of my seat and I could not stop reading. It was terrifying, scary, full of suspense and there were so many intense scenes! I just really wanted Wendy and Danny to escape possessed Jack as quick as they could! They had to remind themselves that that is not Jack and that it’s the hotel taking control over him.

Stephen King’s writing is FANTASTIC. This is what was missing when I read Mr Mercedes. I wished I could write like that! There’s a great attention to detail and it’s so descriptive – I think this is storytelling at its best! It sucked me into wanting to read more and more. That’s what I want from a book – to pick it up and not want to pick it back down. I was waiting for the “HERE’S JOHNNY!” quote as I’ve seen clips of it on TV but it never came, so it must have been only in the film and plus, why did they change Jack’s name to Johnny?

Overall, I give this a 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it. It had me reading throughout the night! I said to myself that I will not read a horror book at night but I just found it hard to read during the day. When I read at night, I felt like it set the scene just right for the Shining! Dark and creepy, just how it should be.

I expected to be scared, and no one is more surprised than me that I wasn’t scared! Don’t get me wrong, this is a scary-ass book. I think the reason is because it is not visual, so all I can do is try to envision the scenes as scary as I can. I think I’ll have to watch the film to be scared because horror films just do a great job of making me jump with the visual scenes and the music!

I think Carrie will be my next King book.

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4 stars out of 5

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

  1. I totally remember your first King experience with Mr. Mercedes and I’m glad that you liked this one even better. The Shining is so popular so I was really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this tome. I’m glad to hear it’s as creepy and disturbing and great as everyone claims it to be. I think I’ve resigned to the fact I won’t read any King despite his brilliant writing. Horror just isn’t for me and I think reading about Danny and that room would scare me too much. I hate horror movies (to the point that I’ve only seen two total in my life) so I won’t be seeing any King adaptations either. Anyway, brilliant review, Thuong! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Summer! ^_^ I was so sucked into the writing! It was very intriguing 😀 aw that’s okay, I understand that Stephen King books aren’t for everyone. Haha I’ve seen a few horror films, like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Amityville Horror (last one I saw) and I really enjoyed them as a teenager, but after I saw the Ring in Japanese version, that scared me for life! But the US version is pretty good though 🙂 its more mysterious than horror. No idea when I’ll read my next King book though! There are too many books to read and very little time XD

      Liked by 1 person

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