Book Review Wednesday: Four Past Midnight (Stephen King) 4 Stars

Posted: October 7, 2015 in Book Reviews
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Here’s a collection of four novellas around 200 pages each. It’s a nice length. Short enough it’s a quick read, long enough for you to burrow into the story.

First up we have ‘The Langoliers.’ Yet another thing to scare you about flying. Part of this story is working out what the heck is going on, so I’ll leave you to puzzle that mystery with the characters. It’s an interesting idea. One with just enough science to understand the hypothesis the characters come up with, and not a smidgen more. Totally implausible, but somehow still scary.

The characters were two dimensional but serviceable. I did get a bit annoyed with the magic little blind girl. She was a nice person, but really? Does every little child with a disability have to have some kind of special powers? Aren’t they neat enough as they are?

The plot was decent but not something to rave about. The pacing was a little off. A bit slow in places. I’d give this three stars. I did like the ending. It made me wonder what long term effects their trip might cause them. This was my least favorite of the four, and the reason why the whole book didn’t get a five star rating.

Secret Window, Secret Garden:

Four stars.  I watched the movie beforehand, so might’ve found it more entertaining if I hadn’t know the twist. I did like the tense claustrophobic feeling the whole story has. It’s well written, and the twist is a great one. We spend most of our time with one character. He’s got a lot of similarities with most of Stephen King’s characters. A writer. A guy still suffering the aftereffects of a nasty break up. 

He’s trying and failing to write a book, and then a stranger comes and accuses him of stealing a story of his. Things get worse from there. 

I thought on the whole the story was a very good one. It required some suspension of belief as to why the guy doesn’t just call in the police. At first, sure, he can play the nice guy. But then something happened that made the animal lover in me cringe and curl up into a ball of sadness. Nothing would’ve stopped me calling the police after that. Or taking more violent action.

The story manages to stay supernatural free until right at the very end. I’m not sure the supernatural insert was needed. In my opinion the story would’ve been more powerful without it, but that’s just my view.

The Library Policeman:

Five stars. This one and the next one were my favorites of this collection. 

This one revolves around a man roped into writing a last minute speech. Being the diligent guy he is, he checks out a couple of books from the library to help. Only, he loses the books and can’t return them. He soon finds this is a bigger deal than he’d thought. 

Scary book. Heavy on the supernatural which worked well. It also has an interesting creature I haven’t come across before. It makes a frightening idea.

I found the plot worked well. The pacing kept me interested. The last showdown was pretty cool, and the conclusion was satisfying. A good story.

The Sun Dog:

A boy gets a camera for his birthday. Only, no matter what he points the camera at, the picture comes out showing a dog. And with every picture the dog gets closer. 

Five stars. It’s close, but if I had to choose between this one and the previous one, Sun Dog would win. This story had great everything. The tension stayed high. The pacing was great. When the action happened, it was thrilling enough to have me on the edge of my seat. 

I liked the characters more than the previous story which is what pushed this one into the winning spot. The boy is one of those genuinely nice, respectful kids. Mature for his age, but still enough of a kid not to seem unnatural. The other characters were varied and interesting. The father turned out to be a lot deeper of a character than the son makes out at the start. Plus he has a back-story that makes his interactions with our ‘bad guy’ interesting.

Our ‘bad guy’ is another we spend a lot of time with. He’s not really bad, just invested and ambitious. Not a nice guy, but not a terrible one. He’s the hero of his own story. 

Great story with a satisfying ending, and a tiny little extra twist that adds to the whole creepy feel. 

For more reviews on this collection go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/133266.Four_Past_Midnight

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