Posts Tagged ‘five stars’

Most people have heard this book mentioned somewhere. For those not in the know, it’s about a five year old called Danny with a gift called the shine. Basically he’s psychic. He hears and sees snatches of people’s thoughts, and he can see beyond things to events that might happen, and events that have happened.

Cue his deeply flawed, but loving father getting a job as caretaker for a remote hotel with a deeply bloody past. With the weather coming they’re going to be trapped up there for the whole winter. Not a problem, except of course this is stephen king, so there is a problem. The hotel starts coming alive, and dead things come to say hello, not just to Danny but to his parents too.

I’ve gone through quite a bit of stephen king by now, but this one is up there with the favorites. The characters are interesting. Danny’s pov was interesting. I do like how stephen king writes children. Danny’s thought patterns are childish at times, but he doesn’t come across as stupid like some writers portray children. He comes across as a very bright kid with unique access to knowledge about the world around him, which with his gifts he would be.

The father was one of the most interesting characters. He was oh so deeply flawed, but he loved his family. He knew he hadn’t always been good to them, and he wanted to do better. The mother was ok, but a bit more two dimensional than the male characters.

For those that have watched the film, there are some major changes compared to the book. I’m not sure which version I liked better.

There was plenty of tension in this book. Lots of chilling moments I’ve come to expect from this author. More than that, there was one moment near the end that was genuinely heartbreaking. That was more unexpected. His books always have tension, always elements of horror, but while you usually connect with the characters on some level, it’s not always so deep.

So definite five stars from me. Good story. Good characters. Good horror. Unexpected but excellent heartbreak bonus.

For more reviews on this book go to:


This was actually suggested to me during one of my writing craft classes. As a kind of extra credit thing my teacher suggested I analyse this book looking at things such as pov character selection and scene layout.

So on the 9th of September 2013, I did just that. And on the 21st of January 2015 I finished.

What did I learn from this experience? A lot. This book is worth the hype. Not only is it fun and engrossing to read, on a structural level the scenes are so pretty. They stick exactly to the traditional scene structure. I found like two slightly convoluted elements to scene structure in the whole book. And this is a BIG book.

That made the logical side of my brain very happy. For the more emotional side of things, it was interesting looking at how the writer helped the reader connect with each character. In the first half of the book, every pov character choice was spot on. He tends to choose the most vulnerable character, the one who knows the least, or the one with the most to lose. I had some questions about one or two pov choices after that, but they were tiny little doubts. I still think he made the right choice.

‘I don’t want to analyse the thing,’ you say. ‘I just want to know whether I’ll enjoy reading it.’

The answer to this from my point of view is a resounding YES. Analyzing this was made difficult because I kept on wanting to read the next scene, not stop and analyse the one I’d just read. I ended up having to compromise with myself and read a few scenes before going back to analyse, read a few more, and so on. If I didn’t have to analyse I would’ve whizzed through this in a few days (as I did with the next books in the series).

If you like fantasy, go read this book. Even if you’re just curious, go read it. It’s awesome. Definite five stars from me.  The plot keeps pulling you forward, the characters are so flawed and engaging. The world they live in is rich and interesting. I don’t tend to like epic fantasies, but this one won me over.

For more reviews on this book go to:

Oh, and as a by the way. Did anyone else notice the parallels with roman britain? Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a fan of celtic britain and the two are often best studied together, but I kept having flashbacks to that wall the romans built in the north to keep the ‘barbarians’ out. Hadrian’s wall. Of course, that was nothing like the scale of the wall in the book, but it felt like it had the same essence to it.